For the 85% of us who experience hot flashes during our peri- and menopause years, breaking into a sudden sweat can feel embarrassing. Thankfully, a few science-backed tips can help cool you down fast
Breathe and stretch
Combining slow, deep breaths with gentle stretches can cut hot flashes by 45%, suggests a University of Massachusetts Medical School study, which found that women who relaxed with 25 minutes a day of mindful moves experienced results just as good as prescription drugs. “Breathing is a wonderful tool to keep our cool,” says Diana Bitner, M.D., author of I Want to Age Like That: Healthy Aging Through Midlife and Menopause. That’s because relaxed breathing quashes the production of the stress hormone cortisol, a proven hot-flash trigger.
“During a hot flash, the body’s internal thermostat malfunctions and detects small changes in body temperature as too hot, which brings on sweats,” explains Heather Bartos, M.D., OB-GYN on the medical staff at Texas Health Dallas. Siberian rhubarb seems to counterbalance these hormonal shifts. “The plant doesn’t contain estrogen but appears to work on estrogen receptors to tame hot flashes,” Dr. Bartos says. Indeed, German researchers found that women who took 4 mg. for 12 weeks saw an impressive 83% drop in hot flashes. One to try: Life Extension Menopause 731™ (LEF.com/ww). Note: Check with your doctor before supplementing.
Sip sage tea
Swiss researchers found that the common garden herb not only reduces the frequency of hot flashes by 64% within eight weeks, it decreases the intensity of severe flushing by a whopping 100%. Scientists believe that sage has estrogen-like effects that help balance hormonal shifts responsible for flushing. Check with your doctor before enjoying up to 2 cups of the herbal tea daily.