Hot flashes can be triggered by stress, caffeine or alcohol, but the main cause of hot flashes is menopause. A hot flash is a sudden feeling of heat over the body resulting from changes in blood circulation, and it is accompanied by flushed skin, sweating and, in some cases, a quickening of the heart rate. Many over-the-counter drugs and herbs are available for relief of hot flashes, but your doctor should be consulted for possible side effects. Hard candy can relieve hot flashes, too, so keep some on hand and enjoy one if you feel symptoms.
Soy products, including soy milk and tofu, taken daily can help reduce the severity of hot flashes. Another benefit of soy is that it helps your body attain proper levels of cholesterol and may help prevent some strains of cancer. If taking thyroid medication, you should check with your doctor before taking large doses of soy products because soy may decrease the amount of medication your body is able to absorb.
Flax seed can be taken in many ways to provide relief from hot flashes. Two tablespoons of ground flax seed can be mixed with dairy products as a protein drink or can be added to peanut butter, yogurt or other foods for a healthy snack. In addition to easing hot flashes, flax seed products are high in fiber and play a preventative role for certain cancers.
Black cohosh is an herb that can be purchased at any herb shop in liquid or tablet form and has been used for many years to treat hot flashes. The liquid form can be mixed with water per directions with your purchase and drank as a tea. As with all herbal treatments, however, it should not be used for long periods of time because of possible side effects, such as an upset stomach or headache.
Progesterone cream can be used to ease hot flashes, too. These creams come in different strengths and are sold at drugstores and herb shops. It is suggested that you check with your doctor before you start using progesterone cream because it can produce side effects.