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8 Hot Flash Triggers to Avoid

From the Menopause and Hormones Articles List

Hot Flash triggers in our foodsAre there some things I can avoid to help prevent hot flashes?

Hot flashes can be an inevitable symptom of menopause. They can hit at any time, several times a day, leaving you sweating and miserable. You might have them for only a few months, or they may begin during perimenopause and last through menopause, affecting you for years on end.

During menopause, lower levels of estrogen have an impact on your body’s thermostat. The hypothalamus, the part of the brain responsible for controlling your temperature, can get signals mixed up and become more sensitive to body temperature changes. When it thinks you are too hot, it triggers a cold down reaction–a hot flash (or night sweat).

Though you may not be able to stop all hot flashes, there are several hot flash triggers you can avoid to try to minimize how many hot flashes you may have to endure. You can also talk to your doctor about hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and other menopause treatment options.

Here are 8 things you should avoid to help take control of your hot flashes.

1. Spicy Foods

Spicy foods can trigger hot flashes in anyone by stimulating nerve endings that dilate blood vessels. If you are having menopause related hot flashes, you should avoid dishes like those with hot peppers, chili power, curry, or Cajun seasonings that could just add to the number of hot flashes. Hot chicken wings, jalapeño poppers, salsa, and jambalaya, as tasty as they can be, are probably not the best food choices for you right now.

2. Hot Foods and Drinks

Besides the spice, the temperature of your food and drinks can trigger hot flashes by increasing your core body temperature. Hot drinks and soups will heat you up and can cause hot flashes. Choose things like iced drinks, salads, and cold sandwiches to keep your body from overheating. You may also want to let your food cool a bit before consuming it rather than eating it piping hot from the stove or oven.

3. Caffeine

Caffeine could worsen hot flashes and night sweats, so avoiding it–especially in hot drinks–can be helpful. It might be best to decrease your caffeine consumption gradually, but when cutting down on tea, coffee, and soda, don’t forget that chocolate has caffeine, too!

4. Alcohol

Alcohol can trigger or worsen hot flashes in some women, so it can be best to avoid it. One theory is that alcohol increases blood flow, causing an increase in body temperature.

5. Stress

Stress can trigger hot flashes, so it is important to learn to mange stressful situations. The higher your anxiety level, the more apt you are to have hot flashes. During times of stress, try to practice deep breathing, step away to regroup, or go for a walk. If you are dealing with anxiety on a consistent basis, talk to your doctor about whether therapy or medication may be right for you.

6. Smoking

Women who smoke can have more frequent and severe hot flashes. The affect of smoking on estrogen metabolism or androgen levels may be the key. If you are a smoker, now would be a good time to work with your doctor to quit smoking.

7. Hot Tubs and Saunas

While soaking in the hot tub can be relaxing, it can also increase your body temperature. The same is true of a steamy sauna. Whenever you have an increased body temperature, you could set off hot flashes, so avoid hot tubs and saunas that can cause you to overheat.

8. Overheating

In general, if you become hot or overheated, you could trigger a hot flash. This could happen if you are out in the sun, in a hot room, or use a hot tub or sauna. Wearing too many layers or clothes that are tight and constricting could make you too hot as well It's helpful to be aware of your body temperature and use preventative means to keep yourself cool and prevent overheating which may cause hot flashes.

Keeping a symptom diary can help you monitor your hot flashes to determine if any or all of these are an issue for you. You may also find there are other triggers you should avoid.

This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

09-28-2015 - 07:40 PM


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