While menopause creates many troublesome symptoms, none are quite as annoying as hot flashes. I've heard many women describe them as "power surges" or "your own personal summer".
Whatever you choose to call them, they can be extremely uncomfortable and often humiliating.
As a natural physician, many of my patients in perimenopause or menopause are seeking more natural solutions for relief.
I offer many holistic remedies including supplements, essential oils, and even apple cider vinegar. First, let's answer some questions you may have about hot flashes.
What Causes Hot Flashes?
Hot flashes and night sweats are a normal part of menopause. In fact, over 85% of women experience them and some as often as every hour. The research shows that they can last 6 months and even as long as 2 years.
The decrease of estrogen as women approach peri-menopause and menopause is one of the primary reasons for the heat surges and seems to create the most side effects with altered sleep patterns, irregular body temperature, and changing sex hormones.
If you are reading this article, you are probably experiencing hot flashes. You may be questioning if you are currently in menopause, perimenopause or having heat surges for another reason.
How Do I Know If I Am In Menopause?
Below is a list of the most common symptoms associated with menopause. How many of the symptoms below are you experiencing?
Common Symptoms of Menopause
Poor memory and forgetfulness
Light or irregular menstrual cycle
Painful intercourse due to vaginal dryness
Thin facial wrinkles around eyes or lips
A leaky or overactive bladder
Stress & anxiety
Fatigue & Low Energy
If you are experiencing more than half of these symptoms, you may be in menopause. Below, I will share the most effective natural remedies to help you transition as smoothly as possible.
Natural Remedies for Hot Flashes And Menopause
It can be so difficult to find the most effective way to manage menopausal symptoms. Hot flashes, mood swings, irregular menstrual cycles, vaginal dryness, reduced libido, sleep interruption, and weight changes are the most frustrating symptoms.
Women often spend one-third to one-half of our lives in the postmenopausal phase, we desperately need relief and alternatives!
Because the side effects are varied, some people may not want to rely on pharmacological methods and instead look for natural ways to manage their menopause symptoms.
Menopause and hot flashes are a normal part of the aging process that won't last forever. Embrace it and follow these natural ways to make this stage of your life more comfortable.
Best Supplements For Hot Flashes
As a natural physician and nutritional health coach, I have counseled hundreds of women on the best natural supplements and herbs to aid in promoting a smoother transition through menopause.
These methods are truly the best way to navigate this time of life with the least amount of symptoms and side effects from synthetic hormones.
Maca Root For Hot Flashes
Maca is a root vegetable similar to a turnip. Maca has gained a reputation for helping balance hormones and reducing the symptoms associated with menopause.
Maca has been shown to be beneficial for all sorts of hormonal problems especially hot flashes and night sweats. Maca is also a fertility enhancer and is best known for improving libido and sexual function in both men and women.
It is an endocrine adaptogen, meaning that it does not contain any hormones, but rather it contains the nutrients necessary to support normal hormone production. Maca is considered to be a "superfood" because it is so nutritionally dense.
It is also shown to boost energy and improve mood. It has an abundance of benefits for men and women. I recommend taking 1,000 to 2,000 mg per day.
Ashwaghanda For Hot Flashes
Ashwaghanda is also an adaptogen. Adaptogens are essentially a class of herbs that are intended to boost your resistance to and tolerance of emotional and physical stress.
As the name suggests, they adapt to meet your needs. Adaptogens include ashwaghanda, rhodiola, maca, ginseng and cordyceps to name a few.
Ashwaghanda is a superstar herb that relieves many hormone problems in women including hot flashes and night sweats. This ancient medicinal herb is full of benefits for the body and the brain.
It is shown to diminish cortisol levels and helps ease anxiety and depression. It can also reduce brain fog and lower blood sugar.
My current favorite ashwaghanda supplement is Functional Female . This combination of ingredients also contains ginseng and stinging nettle that helps to stimulate sensual energy and greater promote healthy cortisol and estrogen balance.
Supplements For Mood Swings During Menopause
Early in the menopause transition, patients often complain about mood swings, anxiousness, panic, and irritability. This can alter relationships and even effect our sense of reality.
I love Vitamin D3 for mood changes. Vitamin D plays a role in moderating many body processes including significantly improving mood in people who are deficient. It also helps boost energy levels and provides immune support.
As mentioned earlier, ashwaghanda is also promising for improving mood and relieving stress. Research shows adaptogens can combat fatigue, enhance mental performance, ease depression and anxiety, and help you thrive rather than just muddle through.
Supplements For Menopause Sleep Disturbances
Sleep disruption is a huge issue, yet patients often don't recognize how strongly it affects them. If we aren't getting good restorative sleep, we become exhausted, too tired to think, moody, less interested in sex, and more susceptible to weight gain.
Melatonin, often referred to as the sleep hormone, is a central part of the body’s sleep-wake cycle. Its production increases with evening darkness, promoting healthy sleep and helping to orient our circadian rhythm.
The body naturally produces melatonin and lately researchers are recognizing that supplementing with melatonin is an effective natural alternative to traditional sleep aids as it has fewer, if any, side effects.
I am a strong advocate for CBD products for many health concerns, and especially for sleep. I recommend organic, CBD full-spectrum hemp-derived products.
The route of administration is also key. If you need help immediately to slow down and fall asleep, under-the-tongue tinctures metabolize the fastest. If you need help staying asleep, edibles like chocolate bars are more effective.
Supplement For low libido:
Sadly, loss of libido and lack of sexual interest is one of the most common symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. And vaginal dryness certainly doesn't help the situation. As our sensitive tissues undergo hormonal influence, penetration can become unbearable.
Vaginal dryness and irritation can increase over time due to loss of estrogen. Keeping those tissues well-hydrated is important. Avoid using chemical laden cleansers or moisturizers.
The most effective natural remedy that I have found to increase libido is Maca Root. Maca is often referred to as the "Viagra" for females.
It appears to be a safe, effective way to improve sexual function and desire in menopausal women, raising the hopes of those struggling with low libido.
How Does Apple Cider Vinegar Work To Relieve Hot Flashes?
Many women claim that apple cider vinegar has practically been a life changer for them by significantly reducing their hot flashes and night sweats.
ACV has detoxifying and probiotic qualities that help improve gut health. We now know that a healthy gut improves essentially almost any health issue. The reason is because it diminishes overall inflammation which is the root cause of so many health conditions.
There is plenty of research and scientific evidence to show the efficacy of ACV for weight loss, however, there is no clear-cut evidence showing how it helps hot flashes. This is not because it doesn’t work.
There are literally thousands of women who tout the benefits, but there hasn't been studies to support that.... yet!
Nonetheless, ACV has earned it place as an effective remedy for hot flashes and you should try it out yourself until the research comes forward.
I recommend an organic, unfiltered, raw apple cider vinegar that includes the "mother" which contains the friendly bacteria and beneficial probiotics. The brand I recommend is Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar.
To help ease hot flashes, follow this daily regime:
1. Dilute 2 tablespoons of ACV in a glass of water
2. Drink twice daily on an empty stomach until symptoms subside.
3. You can enjoy this recipe at night or in the morning, however, for weight loss (menopause belly) it is best to consume it first thing in the morning at least 20 minutes before eating to aid in metabolism.
Apple cider vinegar can also help manage other symptoms of menopause. Let's take a look at those here.
Apple Cider Vinegar For Menopause Weight Gain
Other than hot flashes, the most frustrating symptom of menopause is weight gain. Many of my patients complain of unexplained weight gain, or the maddening inability to lose weight when they hit perimenopause and menopause.
I always recommend adding apple cider vinegar to their daily supplement routine. There is an abundance of scientific evidence to show that apple cider vinegar can absolutely help with weight loss even during menopause.
Best Essential Oils For Hot Flashes & Menopause
Essential oils are one of my favorite plant-based remedies for immediate relief from hot flashes and night sweats. They begin working within minutes of applying.
They encourage healthy estrogen balance and have a pleasing aroma that provides cooling, contentment, and peace.
Essential oils are considered phytoestrogens, that means they are plant-derived molecules resembling estrogen (a hormone that naturally decreases during menopause).
I have become very passionate about sharing essential oils with my patients, family, and friends and I use them in my everyday life.
So, naturally, I recommend the use of essential oils to help balance hormones and help control the symptoms associated with menopause.
The most effective oils for hot flashes, hormone balance, and other menopausal symptoms are:
Clary Sage is extremely effective for supporting and harmonizing estrogen balance. It helps level out estrogen production in the body. That's why it is so effective for hot flashes and night sweats. It also helps balance our thyroid levels and reduce cortisol levels.
Geranium helps maintain hormonal balance specifically in the case of menopause. It aids in increasing libido and helps ease irritability and low mood. It also has amazing benefits for the skin.
Ylang ylang is a natural aphrodisiac in that it increases sexual energy. It has been shown to increase the production of endorphins which known as the ”happiness hormone”. It uplifts and balances your mood and also aids in stress reduction.
Peppermint has powerful cooling effects on hot flashes. It also increases your energy levels and is invigorating and stimulating, It helps to combats fatigue and promotes alertness.
Grapefruit ~ Research suggests that using citrus oils helps elevate and balance mood. It also helps boost your metabolism and diminish your appetite. This helps with the dreaded menopause belly.
I handcraft essential oil blends and I have included each of these oils in our Hormone Balance Blend. Take a look at the benefits here.
What Foods To Avoid With Hot Flashes
Our body cannot produce hormones correctly or maintain hormonal balance without the proper nutrients. Certain foods can cause unpredictable, critical imbalances and thus create more intense menopausal symptoms.
Eliminate harmful, inflammatory, hormone dysregulating foods such as sugar, grains (including gluten), dairy, processed foods, alcohol, caffeine, and artificial sweeteners.
Foods known To Trigger Hot Flashes:
What Are The Best Foods For Hot Flashes?
Enjoy healing, whole, real, fresh foods such as high quality protein, fresh organic vegetables and fruit, and healthy fats. Healthy fats are critical for proper hormone balance and are often the missing link for finding balance
Foods that provide healthy fats are coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds, grass fed beef, grass fed butter, whole eggs, and ghee.
Other Hot Flash Triggers:
Certain activities and lifestyle choices can also increase our chances of having hot flashes. Be sure to avoid these.
Increase times of stress
Wearing tight, restrictive clothing
Using heavy blankets or sheets on your bed
Smoking or second hand smoke
Increased alcohol consumption
Drinking warm beverages
Certain medications ~ antidepressants, pain relievers, diabetes meds
Imbalanced hormones ~ cortisol, thyroid, testosterone
Does Acupuncture Work For Hot Flashes?
A new study suggests that acupuncture may help reduce the severity and frequency of hot flashes among menopausal women. The study reviewed women after 10 acupuncture treatments over 12 weeks.
The conclusion of the study found that hot flashes and night sweats were reduced by over a third and the benefits lasted for at least 6 months. The women in the study also reported that they slept better and had less pain.
Evidence has shown many healing effects of acupuncture on the endocrine system including improving hormone balance and encouraging the healthy release of cortisol, endorphins, and serotonin.
Does Yoga Work For Hot Flashes?
A small study revealed that women who were having 4 or more moderate to severe hot flashes per day found that learning 8 restorative yoga poses and taking a weekly yoga class for 8 weeks significantly decreased the frequency and intensity of hot flashes.
Yoga offers many benefits including stress reduction, breathing disciplines, improving flexibility, and deeper relaxation.
Other forms of exercise performed on a regular basis such as resistance training, high intensity interval training (HIIT) , and cardiovascular exercises have also been researched and shown to reduce hot flashes significantly.
The women in each study also reported a greater sense of well being and overall better physical and mental health.
Balance Your Other Hormones
The severity and length of menopausal symptoms can be greatly worsened with improper hormone management of other critical hormones such as cortisol, progesterone, thyroid, and testosterone.
Hormone imbalances are as a result of how we eat, lack of exercise, environmental toxins called endocrine disruptors, lack of nutrients in our food, not enough sleep, and too much stress!
Hormone balance is our fountain of youth. Good balance and quantity of hormones translates into energy, weight control, sexual vigor, youthful appearance, stable mood, glowing skin, self confidence, and an overall sense of vibrancy.
Is Hormone Replacement Therapy The Solution?
Women are faced with many options as they search for relief from these frustrating symptoms. Some of them can actually cause more harm than good.
Studies have shown that the use of synthetic hormones increase the risk of breast cancer, heart disease, strokes, and dementia.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) may seem like an easy solution, but this type of treatment is not focusing on the root cause of the problem. It is a broken medical model that focuses largely on treating symptoms.
We all want a quick fix, but quick fixes aren't sustainable. There has also been more interest in bio-identical hormones as a natural alternative. However, this type of treatment also focuses on external management, not an internal solution.
True health is achieved by focusing on healing from the inside out. In fact, putting synthetic hormones into your body alters your normal hormone production and can lead to dependence for the rest of your life.
That is why so many women are looking for natural solutions to promote a smooth transition through menopause.
Many women have seen just how effective these natural remedies can be for relieving aggravating hot flashes.
I love making use of the natural world to optimize health. It's important to remember that without lifestyle alterations like exercise, sleep, supplements and stress reduction, lasting impacts will be hard to achieve.
Don't get discouraged. As difficult as it is to imagine while you are in the midst of you own person heat wave, this too shall pass!
We hope that you find our posts helpful and please feel free to forward this information to anyone who might have questions about a natural transition through menopause. We strive to educate our patients on all aspects of health.
If you have a question or need more information on a particular topic, please post in the comments or contact Dr. Angela directly. We look forward to hearing from you!
Best of Health,
Founder of Nashville Organix
Dr. Angela's BEST RECOMMENDATIONS: PLEASE NOTE: I ONLY recommend products, supplements & essential oils in my posts that:
1.) I have personally crafted myself and know exactly what is in them.
2) I personally use and trust the quality.
3) I have recommended to my patients and know the efficacy and have seen the therapeutic value.
Maca Root for hot flashes & increased libido
Ashwaghanda supplement for balanced cortisol levels and mood management
CBD Hemp Extract tincture for sleep, stress and inflammation support
CBD infused chocolate bars for sleep, stress and inflammation support
Melatonin for menopause sleep disturbance
Personal moisturizer for vaginal dryness
Probiotic for vaginal microbiome support
Vitamin D3 for mood and energy
How to reset your thyroid in 30 days ~ Dr. Angela Walk
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Hi, I'm Dr. Angela Walk, I have been involved in the health and wellness industry for over 20 years as a health & wellness physician.
I have written extensively for health publications and I am keenly aware of trends and new developments in natural health. I embrace an active lifestyle combining diet, exercise and healthy choices.
My goal is to inform my readers of natural options available to them in hopes of improving their health and quality of life.