If you prefer natural remedies for hot flashes over taking estrogen, then you are not alone. Many women find that natural remedies, along with diet and exercise, can bring relief from hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause.
Natural Progesterone Cream
Progesterone cream can be found in most health food stores and many pharmacies, as well as on the Internet. It is available without a prescription and is safe and without side effects. But is it effective?
Studies say it is effective for about 85 percent of women. The creams are generally used by rubbing them into the skin on the inner thigh, inner arm, or neck where they are readily absorbed by the body. Most brands suggest one-fourth to one-half of a teaspoon per day for twenty-one days, and then one week off.
While many women have found that this significantly reduces hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms, there are other women that get little relief. This may be due to the wide range of progesterone content in the creams. Some may have less than 10 milligrams of progesterone while others have as much as 400-500 milligrams. Read the labels on all natural remedies for hot flashes carefully.
Soy isoflavonoids that occur in soy products like soy milk and tofu have been shown to reduce hot flashes if they are ingested on a regular basis for at least a three month period. The suggested intake is at least 60 grams of soy daily. This can be found in:
- Two cups soy milk
- One cup tofu
- One cup edame
Caution should be used. There is some research that indicates soy products can be bad for your health. All soy products except lecithin contain toxins.
- Protease inhibitors
- Phytic acid
- Soy lectins
- Manganese concentration levels
These can act in such a way as to actually inhibit the body from absorbing nutrients.
There are several herbs that are among the best natural remedies for hot flashes. Herbs work by building up your body and reducing symptoms.
Black cohosh can be used for the reduction of many symptoms of menopause including hot flashes and night sweats. It tends to lower blood pressure and may reduce cholesterol as well. Often black cohosh is used in conjunction with other herbs in herbal blends to regulate hormones. Side effects can be:
- Gastric discomfort
Gotu kola reduces the instances of hot flashes as well as helps with the vaginal dryness that is often associated with menopause. Dong quai works in a similar way but should be used with caution as it has been found to contain a possible carcinogen (cancer causing agent).
One teaspoon taken twice a day of a tincture of licorice root has been shown to greatly reduce hot flashes in most women. Licorice works best in tea or tincture form, although it is often found in combination with other herbs in menopause remedies.
Combinations of Herbs
Many manufacturers have combinations of herbs for menopause available as capsules, tinctures, or teas. These work well because they are formulated to relieve many symptoms rather than just one symptom. These herbal remedies for menopause may have one or more of the following herbs:
- Damania is used for hot flashes and to increase a lagging libido associated with menopause.
- Ginseng increases estrogen production in the ovaries and relieves hot flashes.
- St. John's wort relieves depression that can come with the hormonal fluctuations.
- Valerian is used for relaxation and cramping.
Other Natural Remedies for Hot Flashes
There are various diet and lifestyle changes that have been found helpful in limiting hot flashes.
- Regular aerobic exercise
- Weight bearing exercise
- Reduce or avoid caffeine
- Wear clothes in layer so that you can remove some of the layers.
- Avoid alcohol
- Avoid spicy food
- Sip ice water
- Avoid stress
- Increase vitamin E in the diet
Using any natural remedy for hot flashes should be discussed with your health care provider. Even natural hormone replacement techniques can cause problems in some patients.