Hot flashes and night sweats are common symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. Some home and natural remedies may help manage them.
Hot flashes are the
Hot flashes cause a person to flush and feel hot. They can interfere with sleep and cause sweating. Some people also have chills.
Hot flashes are most likely to occur in the year before menopause. They usually become less frequent after menopause but can continue for another
Hormone replacement medications and other prescription drugs, such as antidepressants,
A range of strategies can help get relief from hot flashes, including some lifestyle tips, such as
Identifying triggers and avoiding them
Factors that affect the occurrence of hot flashes vary between individuals. Avoiding triggers may help reduce their severity and frequency.
Common triggers include:
It may not be possible to avoid these triggers entirely, but knowing which factors worsen hot flashes can enable a person to prepare for and manage them when they occur.
Carrying cool water
Drinking cold water or splashing it over the face and wrists can help cool the body during hot flashes. Having a cold shower or running the face and wrists under cold water can also help lower body temperature.
Staying hydrated may also help steady body temperatures.
Dressing in layers
Wearing layered clothing gives a person the option to cool down by removing, say, a sweater or scarf. This can help when working in a warm office, for instance.
Using a fan
Handheld fans can provide instant cooling, while standing fans can generate a cooling breeze in a bedroom or office.
Diet, exercise, and other lifestyle measures that boost overall well-being and reduce the risk of other diseases can help manage hot flashes.
Eating a balanced and nutritious diet
Symptoms may be less severe for people who follow a diet that focuses on:
- whole grains
- unprocessed food
In contrast, the following foods may worsen symptoms:
- highly processed foods
- added sugar
- unhealthy fats
More research is required to confirm these findings, but a varied and nutritious diet can help a person feel better overall, making symptoms easier to manage.
Some research has linked smoking with a higher risk of hot flashes around menopause.
Measures for managing stress can help during a hot flash and may help reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes.
Hot flashes can cause anxiety, leading to a release of a hormone called epinephrine. Epinephrine can further increase body temperature and sweating.
Deep, slow breaths may help a person stay calm during a hot flash.
Here are some breathing exercises that might help:
The intensity of hot flashes can cause a sense of panic, intensifying symptoms. Relaxing activities may help reduce the severity and frequency of hot flashes.
The following types of exercises may help reduce overall stress:
- guided thinking
- tai chi and qigong
- talk therapy or counselor services
- breathing exercises
Anyone experiencing persistent anxiety and stress should speak with a doctor who can recommend treatment.
This suggests that acupuncture may help but for psychological rather than physical reasons.
Traditionally, people have used a variety of plant products, such as herbal supplements, to treat hot flashes. Many people use them, and some say they are helpful.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the quality, strength, or composition of herbal and plant products. As a result, dosing, purity, and safety recommendations depend on the particular supplement, brand, and product.
Supplements and herbs can also interact with some medications and affect individuals differently. People should always check with a doctor before using a supplement or herbal remedy.
Many plants contain compounds called phytoestrogens or “dietary estrogens,” such as isoflavones, present in soy. Phytoestrogens can bind to human estrogen receptors. Plant-based estrogens may help increase the effect of estrogen in the body.
Some older research suggests foods containing phytoestrogens might reduce the frequency of hot flashes.
Different types of phytoestrogens are present in:
- whole grains
More research is needed to confirm these findings and identify who might benefit.
Licorice root contains phytoestrogens.
More studies are needed.
Some research has supported the use of valerian root for managing menopause symptoms.
Evening primrose oil
Evening primrose oil is an extract from the evening primrose, a plant phytoestrogen. It is a popular remedy for hot flashes and night sweats.
The frequency and severity of hot flashes did not improve with either the placebo or evening primrose oil, but night flashes were less frequent and less severe after using evening primrose oil.
In 2018, a group of scientists compared the effects of black cohosh and evening primrose oil on hot flashes, both of which contain phytoestrogens. Eighty females took either one supplement or the other for 8 weeks.
At the end of 8 weeks, the hot flashes in the black cohosh group were
As with other herbal remedies, people should speak first with a doctor to ensure there will be no adverse effects.
- red clover
- kava kava
- dong quai
- wild yam
- yellow dock
People should use all plant-based or herbal products with caution because the FDA does not regulate them. Some herbs and supplements can also interfere with blood pressure and blood clotting. They can also interact with other drugs.
Anyone interested in using herbal remedies, acupuncture, or other remedies should speak with a licensed healthcare professional who specialises in the specific field.
Traditional hormone replacement therapies use synthetically produced versions of human hormones.
Many FDA-approved bioidentical hormone therapy options exist, and doctors can help people decide if this is an option for them.
However, the FDA does not regulate custom-prepared mixtures of different bioidentical hormones, and they may not be safe.
Here are some answers to questions people often ask about hot flashes.
How do you stop hot flashes naturally?
There is no sure way to stop hot flashes entirely but regular exercise, dietary measures, and quitting smoking can help prevent them. Tips for managing hot flashes include avoiding triggers, such as spicy food, and taking precautions that make it easy to cool off when you feel hot. Examples include carrying a fan and a bottle of cool water and dressing in layers.
Which natural vitamins or supplements help with hot flashes?
People use a range of products, including valerian root, licorice root, and black cohosh, but there is not enough evidence to prove they work. People should always check first with a doctor to ensure they are safe for use — some supplements can interact with other medications and are not safe for people with certain health conditions.
Which natural herb is good for hot flashes?
Many herbs may help, such as red clover, alfalfa, sage, dandelion, kava, and evening primrose oil. Some people find they help, but research has not confirmed that they are safe and effective for treating hot flashes.
Hot flashes are common around menopause, and they can last several years. They can affect a person’s sleep, overall well-being, and quality of life. Hormonal treatments from a doctor can help manage them, but many people prefer natural remedies.
Some research supports the use of supplements such as valerian or licorice root and black cohosh, but more studies are needed to prove they are beneficial. Popular herbal remedies include red clover and evening primrose oil, but there is not enough research to show they work.
Other tips for managing hot flashes include exercising, following a nutritious and varied diet, and avoiding or quitting smoking. Other tips can help manage discomfort when hot flashes occur, such as using a fan, dressing in layers, and carrying a bottle of cool water.