Ways to Relieve Menopausal Hot Flashes

Vitamins, Exercise, and Other Easy Ways To Find Relief

Soybean, Tofu,
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Hot flashes are probably the first symptom we think of when we think of menopause or perimenopause (the years before menopause).

A hot flash is a sudden feeling of intense heat that comes from inside the body, rather than from external sources. They are a common symptom of menopause and can be experienced in multiple ways. Some people feel a tingling in their fingers. Others notice that their heartbeat has sped up.

Others feel their skin becoming warmer, and their face becoming flushed. Still, others sweat profusely. And of course, you may feel a combination of some or all of these.

Tricks to Help Reduce the Severity of Hot Flashes 

1. Some research suggests that soy can help reduce hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause. It's recommended, however, that you get your soy from foods rather than from supplements. Foods that contain soy include tofu, tempeh, miso, soy milk, whole soybeans, texturized vegetable protein, and soy powder.

2. Many people use black cohosh to reduce hot flashes, although little evidence exists as to how effective it actually is. Still, some swear that black cohosh provides effective relief from these and other symptoms of menopause, including headaches, heart palpitations, and anxiety. According to the North American Menopause Society, despite the lack of definitive evidence, "it would seem that black cohosh is a safe, herbal medicine."

3. It has been found that natural progesterone provides relief from hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause. You can find it as an over-the-counter (OTC) cream, a compound prescription cream or capsule, or in prescription form.

4. A study published in Gynecologic and Obstetric Investigation found that Vitamin E may help reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes and night sweats during menopause.

5. Effexor is an antidepressant that has been found to reduce hot flashes in women undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Because it works so well for breast cancer patients, researchers believe it may be an option for women who don't want to use traditional hormone replacement therapy during menopause.

6. Exercise at least 30 minutes every day. Just don't exercise within three hours of going to bed or you may increase your risk of experiencing night sweats.

7. Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant drug used to treat nerve pain and seizures. It is not approved as a treatment for hot flashes, but anecdotal evidence has found that the drug reduced the number of hot flashes experienced in a small group of women.

8. Dietary triggers that can trigger a bout of hot flashes include alcohol, caffeine, cayenne, and other spicy foods. If your hot flashes seem ​to worsen after consuming these foods, try eliminating the offenders and see if the hot flashes subside.

9. Traditional hormone replacement therapy (HRT) that includes estrogen replacement is said to provide relief from hot flashes associated with menopause. However, estrogen has been associated with some medical risk and should be used sparingly.

Before choosing estrogen replacement therapy, be sure you understand both the risks and the benefits. 

10. Hot flashes are often worse during hot weather. Wear all cotton clothes that allow your skin to breathe, and keep a fan nearby during hot weather to reduce the number of hot flashes you experience.


Alyson Huntley, PhD, and Edzard Ernst, MD, PhD, FRCP(Edin). “A systematic review of the safety of black cohosh.” NAMS.

Black Cohosh. American Cancer Society

Proof and Consequences. Neurology Now

S. Ziaei, A. Kazemnejad, M. Zareai. The Effect of Vitamin E on Hot Flashes in Menopausal Women. Gynecol Obstet Invest 2007;64:204-207. 

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