Massage Listed As a Lifestyle Change to Alleviate Hot Flashes

Lifestyle changes to alleviate hot flashes

Exercise

Increasing your level of activity (for example, taking the stairs instead of the elevator) can reduce hot flashes and have a positive impact on just about every other symptom attributed to menopause and growing older, including:

  • insomnia
  • mood swings
  • eroded self-image
  • loss of libido
  • fatigue
  • elevated cholesterol levels
  • heart, bone, and muscle health.

Exercise also increases endorphin levels, increasing your threshold for pain.

Relaxation and stress reduction

It isn’t unusual to have trouble dealing with stress, especially if you’ve undergone treatment for breast cancer. You may find that one of the following techniques will help you minimize the devastating effects of stress on your body:

  • relaxation exercises
  • breathing exercises
  • meditation
  • visualization
  • massage
  • hypnosis
  • yoga
  • biofeedback techniques.

Changing your diet

Over time, a low-fat diet helps some women with hot flashes. Losing excess weight helps, but losing too much weight, or being too thin, can worsen symptoms. As you consider other food changes, keep in mind that natural doesn’t mean harmless. Herbal remedies and soy preparations may work because of their plant estrogens, but you can’t assume that just because an estrogen comes from a plant it’s a safe remedy.

Chinese medicine

Chinese medicine has a long tradition of treating hot flashes. There are all kinds of hot flashes, and the Chinese have descriptions for all of them. Before treating you, a Chinese doctor takes a full history and performs a complete physical, with particular attention to your tongue and your pulse. He or she then determines whether you’re suffering from a “hot” menopause or a “cold” menopause. If you have gone through a surgical or medical menopause, Chinese herbs are usually not considered strong enough to eliminate your menopausal hot flashes, but they can help.

Chinese medicine usually involves:

  • acupuncture, which moves your Xi (your inner wind, energy, or spirit). For every woman who’s skeptical about this approach, there’s a woman who’s found acupuncture helpful for hot flashes.
  • herbology, in which many different herbs are cooked together to make a tea customized to your particular symptoms. Common to all Chinese herbal mixes is dong quai, thought to be a plant estrogen. More plant estrogens that women have found effective in treating hot flashes over the centuries can be found in ginseng, evening primrose oil, licorice root, red raspberry leaves, sarsaparilla, spearmint, damiana, motherwort, chasteberry (also known as Vitex), black cohosh, and wild yams. These herbal remedies, Chinese and other, may be effective at reducing hot flashes but, again, their relative safety in women who have had breast cancer is not known. Avoiding, or using plant estrogens with great caution, is best, and never try them without telling your doctor. Even leading Chinese medicine practitioners caution women not to self-treat with Chinese herbs.

Vitamins

Some women find that taking vitamin E every day (800 I.U., range 400–1000) helps. Actually, a placebo works almost as well. The National Cancer Institute’s/National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project’s Tamoxifen Breast Cancer Prevention Trial also recommends vitamin E, or one of the following: vitamin B6, 200–250 milligrams daily, and Peridin-C (containing antioxidants), two tablets taken three times daily. If vitamin E helps you, great, but if you have significant hot flashes, you will probably need something more effective.

Copied from Breast Cancer Information


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