The period of transition from potentially productive to non-productive female, otherwise known as menopause, is a constant concern for women. It may not be life-threatening, but the range of effects and symptoms, and how these can possibly affect daily life can be somewhat daunting to confront.
Typically, women aged 45 to 55 begin experiencing menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, which are also known as night sweats if they happen in the evening. Treatment usually centres around easing or alleviating the symptoms. It’s a naturally-occurring state, after all.
Some options are not without side effects, several of which might even be less desirable than the symptoms themselves. Hormone replacement therapy or HRT for example, can cause breast tenderness, leg cramps, nausea and headaches, although these usually disappear after a few weeks.
If you want to minimise side effects and go the more natural route when it comes to remedies or treatment, look no further. Here are a few ways for you to start dealing with hot flashes without relying heavily on synthetic drugs and the like.
1. Breath in. A study of 33 women compared the effects of 3 treatment methods, mainly relaxation, biofeedback, and paced breathing. The women who underwent paced breathing training had half as many hot flashes, in contrast with those undergoing biofeedback.
Paced breathing is done by inhaling through the nose for a count of at least 5 seconds, followed by exhaling through the mouth, again for at least 5 seconds. The slow, rhythmic breathing helps the body relax and enhances circulation.
2. Avoid triggers. An important step to effectively deal with this symptom is to understand what causes hot flashes. The trigger can be physical, such as being in a warm room, or wearing tight clothing. Mental or emotional triggers such as stress are also possible.
Once you identify what triggers your hot flashes, you can then make changes to your lifestyle accordingly. Dressing in layers so you can adjust your clothing based on how warm or cold you’re feeling, for instance, is one way. Cutting back on caffeine – a stimulant – is another.
3. Do yoga. Restorative yoga focuses on restful positions and using props like straps and blankets. Learning the basic poses and aiming for 90 minutes of this slow, relaxing workout a week can reduce the number of hot flashes you have.
The exercise engages your parasympathetic nervous system, which controls unconscious responses, one of which is sweating.
4. Lose weight. Even when you haven’t reached menopausal age yet, any excess weight you have can make you feel hotter than your peers who are at a healthier weight. So, eat healthy and add regular exercise to your daily routine to lose those extra pounds.
5. Turn to nature. Black cohosh is an herb that usually tops the list when it comes to natural alternatives. Soy, containing phytoestrogens or plant oestrogens, is another option to ease hot flashes. Just as with hormone replacement therapy, the idea is to relieve symptoms.
How severe your hot flashes are, and how often they occur, will have a hand in how effective the above tips for menopause treatment will be. Try them for yourself and see what combination works best for you.