(NaturalPath) While the full causes of menopause aren’t fully known (it’s more complicated than estrogen loss), the most common symptom of menopause can potentially be avoided if you follow certain guidelines. Some factors can determine the severity of your symptoms including weight (overweight people sweat more), ancestry (African American and Latino women tend to have the most hot flashes while Asian women have the least). Lifestyle choices can also have an effect such as yoga potentially lessening hot flashes while smoking increases the chances.
Some think that progressive muscle relaxation can help because it can help reduce the release of the stress hormone norepinephrine. In a British study on breast cancer, women in a relaxation-therapy group had 20 percent fewer hot flashes than women who just had a discussion session about hot flashes with a nurse. For progressive relaxation, lie down and relax one muscle at a time from your head to your toes.
In a small study, 14 postmenopausal women who were having four or more moderate-to-sever hot flashes per day found that learning eight restorative yoga poses and taking a weekly 90-minutes restorative yoga class for eight weeks led to an average one-third drop in the number of hot flashes and their severity. Some think that the deep relaxation engages the parasympathetic nervous system that controls unconscious responses such as sweating.
It’s common sense that when you are heavier, you have more weight you’re hauling around and you feel hotter – regardless of menopause. The studies have found that overweight women have more hot flashes potentially due to how excess fat traps heat or how blood vessels in overweight women dilate more when they encounter heat or stress. One study had women over the course of six months lose an average of 17 pounds, which reduced hot flashes.
Soy foods could help reduce hot flashes because soy contains powerful estrogen-like compounds called phytoestrogens, which bind to estrogen receptors and mimic some of estrogen’s effects in your body. In a Japanese study, one part of the phytoestrogens specifically cut down on the frequency and severity of menopausal symptoms compared to the control group.
Vitamin E has many uses but it can also help your arteries work better and reduce inflammation – all of which could improve hot flashes. In a 2007 Iranian study, women took 400 IU of vitamin E every day for 4 weeks then switched with the control group. Whoever was taking the vitamin instead of the placebo had significantly fewer and less severe hot flashes.
Razi Berry, Founder and Publisher of Naturopathic Doctor News & Review (ndnr.com) and NaturalPath (thenatpath.com), has spent the last decade as a natural medicine advocate and marketing whiz. She has galvanized and supported the naturopathic community, bringing a higher quality of healthcare to millions of North Americans through her publications. A self-proclaimed health-food junkie and mother of two; she loves all things nature, is obsessed with organic gardening, growing fruit trees (not easy in Phoenix), laughing until she snorts, and homeschooling. She is a little bit crunchy and yes, that is her real name.