Natural remedies for hot flashes promise relief that comes straight from nature⸺an appealing idea for anyone looking for an alternative to hormone replacement therapy.
But, as we’ve previously discussed at Matter, not all natural hot flash remedies are created equal. So today we’re going to help you navigate the claims, and the science, as we count down six of the best natural remedies for hot flashes.
#6 Red Clover
Just walk into any health food shop or pharmacy and it’s pretty clear there are a lot of natural menopause supplements available. Unfortunately, because the supplement market isn’t regulated in the same way as prescription medicines, some of these natural remedies have little, or no, evidence to back their use.
Red clover is one of the few natural supplements that has shown some promise in clinical trials. One systematic review of 11 clinical trials showed red clover may be effective in reducing the frequency of severe hot flashes and could help improve the thinning and drying of the vaginal wall.
However, before you race out to buy a bottle, keep in mind that another review of seven clinical trials showed that red clover extract wasn’t any more effective than the placebo.
So, while red clover makes it onto our list of natural remedies for hot flashes, it might be an idea to look at other options that have more solid science to back their use.
#5 Black Cohosh
Black cohosh has a long history of use in traditional medicine for fever, pain, and menstrual irregularities and it’s often marketed as relieving symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes, night sweats and mood swings.
Black cohosh has been shown to reduce hot flashes by up to 26%, which makes it one of the most promising natural supplements available.
If you decide to try black cohosh or red clover, make sure you know what you’re taking⸺some supplements have been found to contain the wrong herb!
#4 Food (phytoestrogens)
As far as hot flash remedies go, it doesn’t get more natural than the food you eat.
During perimenopause and menopause, your estrogen levels start to fall. This is what triggers symptoms such as hot flashes. Some foods contain phytoestrogens, a substance that mimics estrogen. It’s thought that by increasing your consumption of these foods, you can ‘replace’ some of your estrogen and reduce your symptoms.
Think of phytoestrogens as hormone replacement therapy, but administered through your natural diet.
Foods that are high in phytoestrogens include:
- Flax seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Edamame beans
The research into the use of phytoestrogens to relieve menopause symptoms has been mixed. One study into the use of soy extract found they reduced hot flashes by up to 38%, but the study also said the current data is not strong enough to be conclusive.
There are also studies out there that show that eating foods high in phytoestrogens won’t make a difference to your hot flashes and others that question whether it may increase the risk of certain cancers, depending on your family history.
While phytoestrogens may or may not significantly reduce your hot flashes, they may have other health benefits,such as improving your cardiovascular and bone health. But, if you’re going to make any major changes to your diet⸺such as increasing your soy intake⸺talk to your doctor about it first.
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In traditional Chinese medicine, it’s thought that disruptions to the flow of energy (Qi) may impact our health. Acupuncture involves placing small needles along specific meridian points in the body to help improve the flow of Qi and relieve your symptoms.
Acupuncture has been shown to complement treatments for health concerns like back pain, osteoarthritic pain and headaches, and now hot flashes.
This natural remedy works for some women more than others. A new study has shown that around 11% of women can experience up to an 85% reduction in their hot flashes! For the rest of the women in the trial their hot flashes were reduced by less than 50% and some even reported an increase!
#2 Avoiding triggers
This natural remedy doesn’t involve taking or doing anything. In fact it’s about not doing things.
While many of your hot flashes may seem spontaneous, others will be triggered by certain foods, drinks, feelings or events.
Take a note of when your hot flashes are happening. Is it when you drink coffee? Eat spicy food? Do the ironing? Conduct a meeting at work? You may start to see a pattern emerge.
While avoiding the things that trigger your hot flashes may not ‘cure them’, they can certainly make your life more comfortable. Avoiding that extra glass of wine after dinner may mean you avoid a hot flash while you sleep, and with better sleep you may feel more refreshed, and less anxious⸺removing another potential hot flash trigger.
Out of all the non-prescription, natural remedies for hot flashes, hypnotherapy has been shown to be the most effective. In fact, clinical trials have shown hypnotherapy can reduce hot flashes by 70 to 80%.
Hypnotherapy ticks a lot of boxes for women searching for natural hot flash remedies: it’s drug-free, non-invasive and may also help improve anxiety and quality of sleep.
Hypnotherapy can be conducted in-person with a qualified hypnotherapist, or in the comfort of your own home through an app.
In a hypnotherapy session, you’ll be guided to a deep level of focused relaxation. While your body relaxes, your mind will focus on a series of cooling images and suggestions on how to manage your hot flashes.
In this relaxed state, your body and your mind work together, calming your stress responses and empowering your mind to adjust how it responds to hot flash triggers, naturally.
The Wrap Up
There are many natural remedies available for hot flashes. While supplements such as red clover and black cohosh may have a small, positive impact, more research into their efficacy needs to be done. Phytoestrogens may also reduce hot flashes to some degree, but there are possible risks involved. Acupuncture has recently been shown to help improve hot flashes in some women, but it doesn’t work for everyone. Hypnotherapy is currently the most effective non-hormonal hot flash management tool available. Sessions can be done in the comfort of your home via an app, or through in-person sessions.