Ayurveda provides extensive knowledge on herbs, foods and natural remedies for Hot Flashes. A holistic and all natural medicine system, Ayurveda offers guidelines that will help you to address the root cause of hot flashes and health problems during menopause.
Hot Flashes are considered to be signature sign of Menopause symptoms as nearly 85% of menopausal women struggle with it. Usually, the symptoms start during the perimenopause (8-11 years before menopause).
However, hot flashes is not a necessary symptom of Menopause. This is because, there is still 15% of women who fare through Menopause without experiencing hot flashes.
This gives hope that something can be done to prevent hot flashes from occurring in the first place. And, in this post we will check out just that.
Firstly, we will look into the causes and triggers of hot flashes.
Then, we will dig into the actual process on what happens inside your body, when you experience a hot flash.
And lastly, we will go through the Ayurvedic natural remedies for hot flashes, best and worst foods and lifestyle changes that you can employ in the form of yoga and exercise to beat the heat. Let’s get started.
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What are Hot Flashes?
Hot flash is sensation of heat, intense sweating and flushing. It feels like a wave of warmth (followed by chills) is passing all over the body.
Often, a hot flash leads to highly uncomfortable feeling of unbearable heat and restlessness.
A hot flash can occur at any time, whether you are eating food, in the middle of a meeting, attending to important tasks, or under emotional turmoil. And when it happens, it muddles up and interferes with the task that needs your immediate attention.
Usually, hot flashes start to increase in frequency and intensity during later years of perimenopause.
Hot Flashes disrupt the daily life of women during Menopause. It affects their energy levels, quality of sleep, and sexuality in the long term.
What causes Hot Flashes during Menopause?
Hot flashes during menopause may be caused by some of the very common lifestyle and dietary habits that you have come to build over time!
These regular acts often slowly push your health to the brink. And it hurts the most when your body is either weak or going through a transition phase as in Menopause.
1. Poor Circulation
The root cause of hot flashes is poor circulation in the body.
Blood is main carrier of heat through out the body. Upon signals from the brain, blood flows to different parts either to heat up or to flush the heat out. That’s why we experience redness and heat in the region, which has high circulation of blood.
Now, when blood circulation is congested, then you struggle with problems of poor body temperature control. It results in sensitivity to heat and excessive sweating.
So, when you eat spicy food, undergo stressful situations or experience hot weather; a signal is sent from brain to increase sweating to beat the heat.
But, your blood circulation is not able to cope up immediately. That’s why you experience that intense wave of heat, followed by delayed flushing and sweating.
2. Toxin Buildup in the Body
Usually, aging slows down our circulatory function.
Additionally, when there is toxin buildup in the body, it further reduces circulation. This is what happens during menopause.
Toxin buildup can happen due to poor diet and lifestyle. It may also be result of environmental toxins.
What are the Triggers of Hot Flashes?
Hot Flashes can get triggered from anything that builds up heat suddenly. It can be in the form of spicy food, hot weather or even stress.
Here are some triggers to Hot Flashes:
- Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar levels often trigger Hot Flashes or Night Sweats. This is primarily rooted in insulin resistance or poor blood sugar control. As most of the episodes of hypoglycemia happen in the night, one is also prone to night sweats.
- A hot flash can be triggered during an adrenal rush, which is caused by an emotional rush such as fear, anxiety, anger, or embarrassment.
- Difficulty of heat flow from the body due to poorly ventilated and warm rooms.
- Tight clothing also leads to poor circulation and triggers hot flashes.
- Certain foods such as extremely spicy and sour tasting foods.
- Stress caused by mental or physical factors can also lead to hot flashes in men and women.
- Smoking aggravates the symptoms and increases the frequency of hot flashes.
Now, you know the causes and triggers of hot flashes. It will be much easier for you to adopt the natural remedies and Ayurvedic guidelines to prevent hot flashes. Let’s check out what Ayurveda says.
Ayurvedic Guidelines and Natural Remedies for Hot Flashes
Any imbalances in Vata and Pitta dosha disturbs the funcitoning of critical body systems such as circulatory system, lymphatic system, and digestive system. All of this creates poor circulation and toxin buildup in the body.
That’s why, if a woman has high level of imbalances during perimenopause, she becomes prone to frequent and intense hot flashes.
1. Ayurvedic Herbs and Natural Remedies for Hot Flashes
Here is a list of Ayurvedic herbs and natural remedies for hot flashes that can help you to balance hormones during menopause.
These herbs are not concentrated form of supplements, which often aggravate menopause symptoms.
Also, Ayurvedic plant based remedies act on specific body tissues to remove the imbalances. This way, you also avoid the side effects that often come with generic medications.
However, these herbs are potent in nature. They can have deep effect on your body and mind, hence they should always be consumed under a trained Ayurvedic Physician. Please do not do self treatment with herbs.
- Aloe vera gel – Reduces Heat, Detoxifies, Improves circulation, stimulates uterus and thyroid
- Shatavari – Uterine tonic, reduces heat, Hormone Balance, Improves Mood, Detoxifies
- Ashwagandha – Brain health, Strength, Improves Mood, Circulation and Hormone Balance
- Kapikacchu – Hormone Balance, Antioxidants, uterine tonic, improves mood
- Brahmi – Improves circulation, detoxifies, improves mood and concentration
- Triphala – Detoxifies, Supports digestion, reduces heat and inflammation
- Dashamula – Hormone balance thyroid and progesterone, improves circulation, detoxifies
- Gotu kola – Improves circulation, detoxifies, improves mood and concentration
- Vidari – Hormone Balance, Estrogen and Progesterone, Reduces Heat
- Saffron – Hormone Balance and Progesterone, Detoxifies
- Amla – Detoxifies, Boosts Metabolism, Reduces Heat and Inflammation
- Fennel – Supports Estrogen balance, Reduces Heat and Improves Circulation
- Coriander – Reduces heat, Flushes toxins and Improves Circulation
2. Diet and Best Foods that help with Hot Flashes
Your diet and foods that you consume should help you to balance your digestive fire and clear up the blocked channels that triggered hot flashes in the first place.
Here is a list of foods that will help you to reduce and prevent hot flashes. These foods and dietary habits also promote balance of vata and pitta dosha.
These food items are best eaten when properly cooked, steamed or stir-fried.
- brown or unpolished rice
- red rice
- whole wheat
Take in well-cooked or steamed veggies such as:
- yellow squash
- winter squash
- sweet potatoes
- sweet peas
Favor sweet, juicy fruits such as:
- ripe mango
- soaked raisins
- fresh figs
- ripe apricots
- sweet plums
Get omega 3 fatty acids from plant based foods as nuts (cashew, walnut, and almond), seeds and fatty fish to support healthy hormone function.
Omega 3 fats are a good tonic for the brain and are good muscle relaxants too. Nuts and seeds also contain the minerals magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamin E. They pacify all three dosha, yet may aggravate Kapha when taken in excess.
Omega 3 foods act as antioxidants that help relieve oxidative stress of the brain cells. This prevents oxidative damage to the brain and muscles.
Spices and Natural Remedies for Hot Flashes
Spices have anti-inflammatory abilities. This can help counter the effects of toxin build up that triggers hot flashes. Some include:
- Fresh ginger
- Coriander or cilantro
Ayurvedic Diet Guidelines to Reduce Hot Flashes
- Prefer naturally sweet and wholesome foods to balance Pitta Dosha and provide ample nourishment to the body.
- Always consume warm and cooked foods and beverages. It also calms the mind and improves circulation in the body.
- Choose soft and unctuous foods like cooked grains, cooked vegetables, cooked cereals, and soups.
- Avoid dry, fried, spicy and crunchy food.
- Establish regular meal times. Regular meals lead to better metabolism and digestion.
- Do not stay hungry for long time as it can lead to hypoglycemia and trigger hot flashes.
3. Worst Foods that You Should Avoid for Hot Flashes and Night Sweats
According to Ayurveda sour, salty, and bitter tastes can aggravate Pitta and Vata dosha. Hence, foods that are naturally tasting any of these should be consumed in moderation.
Additionally, you should avoid processed foods and all the stimulants that create toxins in the body. Here’s a list of foods and dietary habits that you should avoid:
- Alcohol & Smoking – Stay away from Smoking and Alcohol consumption as it dehydrates and leads to Pitta Dosha Imbalance. If you have high level imbalances, then alcohol consumption, even in limited quantity can either trigger hot flashes or increase the intensity of hot flashes. Hence, you should avoid it altogether.
- Caffeine – Remove all caffeinated drinks and beverages. Caffeine leads to dehydration and Pitta aggravation. Avoid caffeinated drinks, mocktails, coffee, and black tea.
- Spicy and Hot foods – Pungent herbs, cayenne pepper, chili are some of the most heating herbs that directly aggravate Pitta. Spicy foods can immediately trigger a series of flashes causing severe Hot Flash symptoms.
- Sugar – This is primarily for short term. Sugar can also have similar effect as spicy foods. It directly acts on hypothalamus, hence trigger hormonal imbalances and hot flashes.
- White Flour Items – White flour items act on long term accumulation of toxins in the body and act as causes of hot flashes.
- Animal Products as seafood, red meat, excess meat, poultry and dairy.
- Refined oil, margarine, fried foods
- Avoid raw, stale and burnt foods
- Nightshades such as tomatoes, white potatoes, peppers, and eggplant
- Avoid skipping meals or staying hungry for too long
- Fermented and excessively sour foods
- Raw and cold foods
4. Practice Pranayama (Breathing Exercises) | Natural Remedies for Hot Flashes
Regularly practice stress-reducing activities as yoga, pranayama and meditation. This will help to increase your body’s capacity to handle stressful situations.
Stress management helps to prevent the onset of hot flashes. Low stress also reduces the frequency of hot flash symptoms.
Pranayama is one of the best ways to regulate both Vata and Pitta dosha. It naturally calms down the mind, supplies ample of oxygen throughout the body and supports metabolism.
Here are some of the breathing exercises that you should regularly perform for natural treatment of hot flashes.
1. Slow exhalations
Yes, this is the one you’re much familiar with. Almost everyone does this, And truly, it is one of the best of them. Inhale and exhale slowly.
Physiologically, your heart rate picks up when you breathe in and slows down when you breathe out. Therefore, inhale, and then exhale slowly.
In that way, you can bring your heart rate down.
2. Bramhari (Bumble bee breath)
This asana is called the bumblebee breath because of the sound you have to make while performing it. It is like that of a bumblebee.
As before, you inhale and exhale slowly, but this time you keep your lips sealed and make an ‘M’ sound while exhaling.
Exhale for as long as you can. However, don’t stretch to the limits of your endurance. Else, it will have the opposite effect. Your heart rate will pick up and you will feel more stressed instead.
3. Ujjayi breath (ocean breath)
This is quite common also. You make a sound like the ocean.
It is also performed with the mouth closed and the throat constricted. This brings about a restriction in airflow, causing the ‘ocean sound’ to be made as you are breathing.
4. Sahita khumbaka Breath
Khumbaka means ‘retention of breath.’ This is not to be confused with ‘holding of breath.’
The essence of this breathing technique is to be aware of your breathing cycle, not to control it. You are to pay attention to the point where your breathing switches from inhalation to exhalation. Take note of it with each breath. You will find this a very relaxing exercise.
5. Nadi shodhana (Alternate nostril breathing)
The technique is quite obvious from the name. It’s like you breathe through one nostril and then through the other.
Here is how it goes.
- First, inhale with both nostrils and exhale as you normally would.
- Next, block your right nostril with your thumb and index finger(preferably of your right hand), and inhale through the left.
- Release the right, block the left nostril, and then exhale through the right nostril.
- Next, inhale through the right nostril.
- Then release the left, block the right, and inhale through the left nostril.
This is one round, and you can perform five rounds.
5. Reduce Stress to avoid the triggers of Hot Flashes
Stress reduction should be done by avoiding all triggers of stress such as last minute deadlines, lack of planning, and taking up too many tasks.
- Better manage your day and health by planning, prioritizing, and defining your limits.
- Avoid all heaty, stressful, and extremely pressing/competitive situations.
- Give yourself the opportunity to savor both the meal and the ritual that surrounds you. This will help in reducing stress in your daily life. It will also regulate the inner rhythms of your hormones, blood pressure and even body temperature.
- Practice regular sleep times and avoid staying up till late. Lack of sleep disturbs all three doshas and triggers hot flashes with higher intensity.
6. Practice daily massage
Daily gentle massage (Abhyanga) of feet, head, and body is one of the best ways to improve circulation in your body.
When you practice massage with cooling oils such as coconut oil, olive oil and ghee, it keeps both Vata and Pitta dosha in balance.
7. Proper Ventilation and Natural Fabrics
- Wear natural fabrics and dress up in layers during cold seasons.
- Avoid tight clothing as it hampers circulation in the body.
- Stay in well ventilated places.
- Avoid too hot temperature and hot settings.
8. Exercise to help with Hot Flashes
Physical activity is highly effective when it comes to management of Menopause symptoms and Hot Flashes.
Regular exercise leads to better physical strength and improved circulation. It also helps to improve metabolism and hormone balance.
- Relaxing physical activities that include nature walks, swimming, slow walking, bicycling are highly helpful to manage hot flash symptoms.
- Perform yoga that can improve circulation and regulate Pitta and Vata Dosha in your body.
- Brisk walk, specifically in nature is one of the best remedies to stress. It also helps to prevent insomnia and poor circulation, which are often intimately related with hot flashes.
- Avoid extreme physical activity and only cardio-based exercises. It can increase the severity of the hot flash symptoms in postmenopausal, especially in overweight women.
- Extreme activity increases the core body temperature. It thus results in hot flashes in patients, who are sensitive to temperature changes.
Now we want to hear from you. Do write to us for any queries and feedback. If you have tried any of the above Ayurvedic natural remedies for hot flashes, then do share your experience with us. We will get back to you the soonest.
Wishing you vibrant health!
Some Frequently Asked Questions about Hot Flashes
1. How long do Hot Flashes last?
How long a hot flash lasts usually varies from individual to individual. Each particular episode of hot flash may last for few seconds or up to 10 minutes or more.
Vasomotor symptoms of hot flashes and night sweats can extend beyond Menopause. If left untreated, hot flash symptoms may last up until 10 years or more post-menopause.
The majority of the women suffer from hot flash symptoms for 1 – 2 years. However, approximately 15% may have persistent symptoms for up to 30 years.
Hence, it is important to find relief through natural measures, remove the causes and triggers, and get appropriate treatment.
2. How many hot flashes per day is normal?
The frequency and duration of hot flashes is dependent on your age and the level of imbalances you are struggling with.
For some women, hot flash events may occur only a few times in a week. While others may experience hot flushes or night sweats hourly or daily, with numbers going till 40 a day.
3. What can cause hot flashes other than menopause?
Hot flashes can be experienced in multiple other cases as listed below. Usually, the severity of the symptoms vary with individual and health condition.
- Hyperthyroidism patients may also suffer from frequent hot flashes.
- Hot flashes may happen in pregnancy as well, specifically in the first and second trimesters.
- Certain medications such as androgen deprivation therapy in males or Lupron for infertility treatment can also trigger hot flash symptoms
4. When do Hot Flashes Start?
According to Ayurveda, intensity and age of Hot Flashes during Menopause depends on your level of imbalances.
If imbalances are high, then you may experience hot flashes starting in early 40s. Vasomotor symptoms such as heat sensations, hot flushes, or night sweats are commonly observed in the 40s.
And if these imbalances are not corrected, then hot flashes worsen off during years near to Menopause, from about 48 to 53 years. Usually, one experiences high intensity symptoms 2 years after Menopause.
Hot Flash symptoms may last up to 10 -15 years after Menopause. This duration is dependent on how quickly you start to bring your Imbalances in control and let your body adjust to the changes.
For some, who experience early menopause, hot flash symptoms may even be visible in their late 30s.
5. What are Night Sweats?
When hot flashes occur in the night, it is termed as Night Sweats. It is associated with significant sweating.
The level of discomfort in night sweats is high. It often disturbs the sleep of women, who may have already been struggling with insomnia.
Night sweats, when they do occur, are almost always associated with day-time observance of hot flashes.
6. How do I know if I’m having a hot flash?
Following steps list down a typical sequence of the symptoms faced by anyone who is experiencing a hot flash:
- The intense heat in the upper body including the upper arms, face, neck, and chest
- Flushing of the skin follows
- Profuse Sweating
- Followed by chills
- Hot flash symptoms are often accompanied by tingling in fingers, palpitations, and anxiety
7. How does your brain control your body temperature?
The thermo regulatory zone in the hypothalamus section of the brain tightly controls our core body temperature. Temperature regulation happens through a series of actions that result in heat release or heat generation.
When the body’s core temperature increases above the upper threshold of the thermo-regulatory zone, sweating occurs, which allows your body to cool down.
Anything that hampers the functioning of brain and body in controlling the core temperature can result in a feeling of excessive heat or coldness.
8. Hot Flashes during Menstruation
A minority of women develop the symptoms even during regular menstrual cycles. Similar to the variability in the frequency of this symptom, the age at onset of symptoms also varies in females.
9. Hot Flashes in Cancer Survivors
Hot flash symptoms affect 40 – 85% of all women, being more frequent and severe in breast cancer survivors and women with chemotherapy-induced ovarian failure. This is because these women receive multiple treatment options that can induce an estrogen deprivation state.
10. Hot Flashes in Men
For men, the phenomenon of hot flash often occurs as a result of medical or surgical treatment for prostate cancer. Up to 75% of men treated with androgen deprivation therapy may experience hot flashes.
11. Hot Flashes Treatment in Modern Medicine
Modern medicine does not provide specific hot flash treatment, however there are several options provided to manage the symptoms or lower down the intensity of inconvenience caused by intense symptoms.
HRT or hormone replacement therapy via Estrogen or Progesterone or combined is one of them. Other alternatives such as behavioral modifications, hypnosis, natural diet, and herbs are also suggested to find relief from the symptoms.
12. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) for Hot Flashes
Estrogen is widely used to alleviate the vasomotor symptoms as hot flushes. It is effective in improving hot flashes caused by natural menopause and those induced by chemotherapy.
However, its side effects can lead to breast cancer itself especially when combined with Progestin.
13. What happens to your body when you have a Hot Flash?
A typical hot flash wave can be explained in three steps as listed below:
Step 1: A Hot Flash may be triggered by simple daily stuff such as spicy food, hot weather, or stress. Hot Flash triggers often tend to increase our body temperature. As the brain is not able to regulate the body temperature in time, patients often observe intense feeling of heat.
Step 2: The delayed action of brain shoots the body temperature. It brings the body temperature back to normal by increasing blood circulation and by sweating. If this action doesn’t go well, patients may experience palpitations and severe anxiety.
Step 3: Chills and Excessive Sweating. It usually happens in severe cases of circulatory malfunction such that your brain and body are highly disconnected. When the brain sends too many signals to cool off the body, it may go down much below the targeted temperature. This can lead to excessive sweating and chills.