“How bad can a hot flash be? You’re just a little warm” is something too many men have asked me. Whether you get them on your period, you’re pre-menopausal or menopausal, you know that hot flashes feel much worse than being just “a little warm.” They can make you feel dizzy and disoriented. They can make you feel like you need to rip your shirt off even when you know the thermostat is at a perfect 67 degrees. They can be so disabling that you have to lie down and stop what you’re doing for a while. If you’re facing truly debilitating hot flashes, there are medications you can take, but you should also be aware of some of the less intrusive, more sustainable options. Here are smart and low-maintenance ways to take care of hot flashes.

Avoid spicy food

Spicy foods can cause the internal body temperature of those who aren’t even going through menopause to spike. The chemicals present in certain spicy foods, especially chili peppers, triggers the central nervous system and tricks certain receptors in your skin that respond to heat into thinking it’s hot outside.

Take it easy on the alcohol

Alcohol is another item that you can mess with your internal temperature. Alcohol interferes with regular circulation, which is an important part of regulating your body’s temperature. It’s the same reason people can feel faint or dizzy after drinking a lot of alcohol.

Quit cigarettes

Not only can smoking cause more frequent and severe hot flashes, but it can cause early menopause, meaning you could start experiencing dreaded hot flashes even earlier in life. Certain chemicals in cigarettes throw off one’s estrogen levels, which can make hot flashes worse. Even exposure to second-hand smoke can worsen hot flashes.

Get more folic acid

Research has found that taking folic acid on a regular basis could reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes. Combining folic acid with vitamin E will increase the results. Taking folic acid can increase serotonin activity, which can, in turn, relieve hot flash symptoms.

Add flaxseed to your food

Flaxseed contains plant lignans that are similar to estrogen and can balance your hormones. Sprinkle some on your yogurt or cereal in the morning. Flax seeds can also improve digestion, and a sluggish digestive system can interfere with your body’s temperature-control.

Practice meditative breaths

You’ve probably experienced that when you’re stressed out, you feel warm. You can even feel too hot in freezing weather if you’re really frightened or anxious. Practice yoga or meditation on a regular basis so you can quickly fall into that breathing pattern when a hot flash occurs. This will prevent stress from making the hot flash worse.

Dress in layers

This one is pretty simple but layers are a menopausal woman’s best friend. Always have on a tank top you’d be comfortable wearing solo, beneath your other layers, since you may need to strip down to it. Avoid synthetic fabrics and tight clothes, since these cause excess sweat.

Use progesterone cream

If you don’t want to take supplements or medication you can look into progesterone cream. Some studiessuggest this synthetic type of estrogen is actually safer to take than estrogen pills.

Keep a washcloth in the freezer

Keep a washcloth in the freezer at all times. There’s nothing like draping it over your neck during a hot flash. The temperature of your neck and ears dictates a lot of how warm or cold the rest of your body feels, so keeping that cool is critical.

Read more tips at www.madamenoire.com.

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