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Healthy Aging

8 Ways to Deal With Hot Flashes in the Heat (Or Is-It-Hot-In-Here-or-Is-It-Just-Summer?)

By Sheryl Kraft

Created: 08/04/2011
Last Updated: 03/24/2020

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The last time I wrote about hot flashes was back in February, when it was so frigid that stepping outside was almost painful. But I suspect it was a relief to you if you were coping with those mighty power surges. Throw open a window or step outside and voila—instant cool.

Now that the heat of the summer is engulfing the country, it's not as easy to find immediate relief from those hormonal waves of sweat. And hot weather is a big hot flash trigger. I see it every time I am with a friend who is in the midst of menopause. I easily recognize that dazed and dreaded look that precedes the hot flash; I watch sympathetically as the droplets of sweat start to form on her upper lip; I offer a cold glass of water or even a handful of ice cubes when she starts to squirm uncomfortably or look like she might just pass out.

I feel so helpless, though, sitting by and just watching my friends suffer. And when they ask me what I did when I was going through it, I search my mind for an answer and come up with nothing more than "I carried around a pretty fan," or "I dressed in layers and packed away, for an indefinite period of time, anything that wasn't 100 percent cotton."

Last night I was out for dinner and went to the ladies room, where I encountered a woman hovering helplessly over the sink, frantically splashing cold water on her face, looking absolutely panicky when she saw me walk in. Her face dripping wet, she looked up from the sink  and muttered something that sounded suspiciously like, "thesehotflashesarekillingme!"

Feeling helpless once again, I could only nod my head and manage a sympathetic smile.

Then I got home and hit the computer. My research yielded an array of suggestions. And even though it is late for me, perhaps I can save you some misery when it is your turn, or you can pay it forward for a friend who is swimming in her own sweat.

  • Sip a cold drink. If you feel a hot flash coming on, this could help lower your body's temperature.
  • Pay attention to what you eat and drink. Hot and spicy foods, caffeinated drinks and alcohol can all be triggers.
  • Breathe. Anxiety over the hot flash can actually worsen it. Work on steadying your breathing; practice yoga, meditation or other helpful relaxation techniques.
  • Don't smoke. Tobacco use is linked to an increase in hot flashes.
  • Wear layers of clothing so you can peel them off when a hot flash hits.
  • Consider complementary or alternative treatments. We all know the jury is out on hormonal or bioidentical hormonal treatments. And I'm in no way endorsing using any of these, but many women successfully manage their hot flashes with soy, flaxseed, herbal remedies, acupuncture, vitamins, mild sedatives or medications that are used to treat depression or high blood pressure.
  • Freeze something. An ice-cold washcloth taken from the freezer and placed around your neck can cool you off in a hurry. There are also products on the market that contain tiny crystals inside a swath of fabric that you can drape around your neck. Or do as one friend of mine does—open your freezer and stick your head right in!
  • Lose weight. Losing excess pounds can significantly alleviate—or even eliminate—hot flashes. Researchers found that each 11-pound decrease in weight yielded 33 percent greater odds of improvement in hot flashes. It's not entirely clear why overweight women suffer more; some theorize that excess fat traps heat, leading to more sweating and flushing to cool the body; or that obese women's blood vessels react differently to heat or stress.


I feel like you wrote this for me, Sheryl! Thanks for the tips....I've gotta rememmber to keep an ice bag around!

Custom- written with you in mind. ;-)

Great advice. I didn't know that losing weight can help. Maybe that's one reason why women in India don't suffer hot flashes? because they are so much skinnier...

Interesting question, Jennifer. Or maybe it is something in their diet? Either way it would be nice to know!

Lucky so far, I only get little, very isolated flashes. I'm NOT looking forward to real ones in a few years.

Well, Roxanne, maybe you'll be one of the lucky ones who don't get the bad ones...you can only hope, right?

These are great tips. I don't seem to be getting the hot flashes - had night sweats for a while though.

Night sweats is how I got started. But maybe you won't go beyond that, if you're fortunate.

Did not know about the weight one. I always find such great suggestions on this blog! Thanks.

Thanks, Alexandra. Hope I can continue to provide you with other great suggestions!

Good info. A friend of mine does a great imitation of her Russian doctor who told her, "You are not doing yourself any favors" about her weight and that menopause was a "horrible time to be a woman."

Might that doctor have been a male doctor, by any chance? Just wondering.

I've been fortunate in that I haven't dealt too much with hot flashes, even though I'm in that age range. I'm sort of hot all the time, though. Maybe it's my body's way of regulating things?

Maybe your inner thermostat is working better than most, Jane..

I mentioned this to my husband just the other day. It has been SO hot here. He has to work out in it and I told him, "That's what a hot flash feels like." Thank goodness mine seem to have subsided for now.

When I saw the title of your post I thought of a friend of mine who loved her hot flashes, she said, because she was always cold before them. When they would come around, she said she felt "normal." Talk about a positive spin!

That sure is a great way to look at it!

I didn't know that excess weight can be a factor, though it makes sense. Duly noted.

Another incentive to keep those pounds off!

According to my GYN, estrogen is stored in fat, so the more fat you have, the loger estrogen will continue sooming around your body causing havoc. If you are thinner, it won't stop hot flashes but you should get over them sooner.

I wonder why hot and spicy foods are triggers? Any thoughts on that? I suppose it's because your body temperature is affected...I happen to love spicy food.

Good question, Kristen. Have to put my investigating hat on.


Yes, hair loss all over the body is a normal aging process. Some ethnic groups seem to lose more than others. Also, medications can cause hair loss, as well as stress, and who isn't stressed with menapause, but a saving grace, you don't have to "dye" down there, the color dosen't fade as fast.

I was quite addicted to coffee, but after eliminating it from my daily routine I am feeling better and it has helped me a lot in coping with hot flash.

I lost more than 50 lbs. and hot flashes are the same or worse that pre-weight loss.

i have just lost 80 pounds. I never had a hot flash in my life until I lost weight. Had my thyroid checked, normal. Has this happened to anyone? I have read how losing weight might help hot flashes but I have the opposite problem. I am 61.

Tracy, I had the same experience. I'm also 61.. I went on Atkins 4 years ago and lost about 30 lbs. That's when my hot flashes started!!! Since then I've gained the weight back and it's been a huge battle to keep from gaining more. Other than not being able to loose weight, i have tried every suggestion I can find for hot flashes, and have to say, none of them work.. I don't drink caffeine, don't smoke, don't drink, hate spicey food... I find it odd that every article suggests woman loose weight, when one of the symptoms of menopause is weight gain and it's next to impossible to loose it! But since mine, like yours, started AFTER loosing weight, what is that all about????

I have found that drinking flax seed oil really helps a lot.

Great to know others are suffering from hotflashes like me. Hope their's go away, too. My plump sister never had hotflashes when she went through the change and didn't have morning sickness with pregnancy. I'm half her weight and had/have both. She told me that the fat makes hormones after our ovaries shut down which prevents hotflashes. I think it depends if the woman's fat know's how to do that. Mine must not know how. Ha! Menopause is a woman's entire life after her periods stop. Do hope it gets better or I will continue spending my time in my cold house. I was taken off my hormones after 10 years which has left me with the hotflashes. Many of the suggestions above do help.

Hi Ladies, It is so nice to hear I am not alone in this and all the tips are wonderful. I've just started having night sweats as well - every single night between 3.30 - 4.00 am like clockwork and it wakens me every time. Not sure about the weight loss theory. I'm probably verging on the underweight just due to dealing with a lot of stress in my life right now from various directions (divorce/house selling/working/building an online business/dealing with grown up kids taking sides etc). However, the caffeine one is definitely a trigger. If I drink coffee, within a few moments it starts so I've stopped taking coffee and drink gallons of water. That has definitely helped, along with the herb black cohosh. However, be careful if you take any other form of medication - check with your pharmacist or GP.
We're in this together girls and we'll come out the other side still smiling!!

its consoling to hear that others are going thru the same thing.I have asked my mom wether or not she went thru this and she said no.Both of us have gone thru menopause from having hysterectomies at early ages (me 42, my mom 47).

Possibly worse than just the overwellming uncomfortableness (is that even a word??) is the fact that i feel half crazy all the time. My husband seems to have become a fool since im going thru this and my non menopausal friends dont have a clue. Can anyone else relate to this feeling?

I feel like a dried up old leaf, that lately doesnt seem to care if i get blown off the tree and crushed as its exhausting keeping up this nightmare! When will it end??

I have found that, along with hot flashes, I now sweat as if I'm running a marathon whenever I exercise (and no, that doesn't mean running marathons). Even gentle exercise triggers sweat that drips off my forehead or trickles down my back. I never used to sweat like this and I find it very disconcerting. I have a lot more laundry to do now.

Towels are now de rigeur in exercise classes, even yin yoga.

Interesting comments and suggestions - Went thru post-surgery hot flashes and survived -- now they are back due to taking drug for breast cancer --- they are worse then ever - may be more emotional now - more stress. I have created a list of suggestions to try -- the first is giving up coffee (heaven help me and the rest of the world)!

My Thyroid just went overactive, so my thermostat is out!! I have fevers all day long, but at night, I take the Tylenol, and then I am soaked within about 1/2 hour, after being chilled. What I want to know, is preparation. What jammies to wear, bedding, or towels? Anything until this is addressed. I have the fever all the time right now.

I am 55 and had a partial hysterectomy long time ago. Still have ovaries. Just started having hot flashes. How long will these things keep happening?? Months...years??? No more long sleeves shirts for me. Happens mostly at night...yank the sheets off then you get cold. Hate the interrupted sleep.

Very informative Sheryl! Most menopausal women experience night sweats. The most common symptoms are Feeling sudden intense body heat, Perspiration, Heart palpitations, Nausea. I read an article similar to what you are discussing http://bioidentical-testosterone.com/night-sweats-in-women/ maybe you can also find this useful to you.

I had full hysterectomy 13 hrs ago & had implants for about 6 months or so. I never had hot flashes. Last year I started a diet & started hot flashes really bad, over 15 times a day. Even if I am naked in a cool room, window open in winter I get like I have just had a shower. I spoke to my Dr & I cannot have HRT but he says I shouldn't be experiencing this now. I tried a cream you put on your abdomen but it made it worse. I noticed when I started exercising that my heart rate is well out of whack sometimes going from 53-192-0 just sitting down. Now under a cardiologist that thinks I have Angina. I am awaiting further tests/results. The cardiologist thinks its because of my thyroid because its under active but tests show its normal with medication. My thyroid was diagnosed 6 yrs ago so that's strange. I read somewhere that heart problems can cause hot flashes...has anyone else come across this? I drink plenty of water, exercise daily, don't drink caffeine, alcohol very rarely & don't have spices...

I am a Wife and Mother.
I suffer from the wonderful thyroid/menopausal night mares.
I often describe the mixed symptoms as being on the Wimbledon tennis Courts. On one side is the ever troublesome thyroid and on the other side is menopause waiting to burn rubber! Oh and I am the net. I am peppered and plagued by their volley's of same sided bullying.
They both love to play with anxiety, depression, good 'ol hormones, appetite swings up or down, sometimes ya feel like a mutant,maybe "Wolverine" and feel like you could just shred the world to pieces. Perhaps you feel like emptying the freezer and crawling inside and and closing that lid! Maybe a vest made of frozen ice would help or use all the cold water known to this world as a beverage and in the shower tub or pool!
God help me when I am working out in the heat and a hot flash hits. I feel like I have been on the Sun itself and and I have to crawl to the garden hose and turn that sucker on to full.
Keep several cold water bottles near by some frozen. those frozen bottles are super to lay on your neck and throat, a towel that has been drenched with water and folded into a v shape and frozen is wonderful too. Lay it around you neck and throat. ( If it is winter like our (Canadian) Manitoba Arctic freeze kind nothing beats going outside and cooling off' steam literally is seen evaporating. ahhh)
Drink a lot of water. Keeping hydrated is important because we sweat off so much of our water(wish it was fat instead, that would be a winner for myself!
Health food stores are an excellent choice for some help;
let your Dr. know if things are getting out of control. Murder maybe a first thought but the law frowns on the action.
Oh the antics of this crazy kanuck. I am always melting down and wishing I was on an iceburg!
What ya think?

I had a total thyroidectomy 3 years ago. Shortly before the surgery I began periodic hot flashes @55years old. The thyroid medication put me at daily/multiple daily drenching hot flashes. Three years now. How long does this crap last?
Dawn (of the wish I were dead)

Peppermint oil on the wrists, elbows, and even neck, can be very cooling. Be sure to only test a tiny bit first - a friend smeared it straight, all over her, and actually burned her skin. Some can take with a carrier oil, I like coconut. Also, different producers of oil have different qualities.

Back in 2000 my wife had left side breast cancer at age 52. After the surgery she went through chemotherapy which kicked her into a post-menopausal mode. She started having hot flashes a lot which made her not quite pleasant to be around at times. We sat down and had a long talk about what she was experiencing. I realized from her explanations that there might be a mechanical solution we could implement in our home.

By profession I am an electrical power engineer with a minor in control systems with 32 years of experience (at that time) in using "black boxes" to take care of commercial/industrial "situations" assigned to me. During those years I worked with HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning) engineers and learned about the importance of humidity control for a comfortable environment.

We decided to attempt an experiment with home humidity control. We ordered a whole house roll-around dehumidifier, a little over $1000. Not cheap, but she's worth it. I put it in our living room, connected it to a 120 Volt wall receptacle, and ran the pump-out drain hose to our powder room's sink. Then our experiment started.

We soon found that her critical humidity point was in the low 30s (%). Our experiment is still ongoing. However, as long as we maintain the house humidity below 32% she is mostly free of hot flashes. In addition, as a side benefit, it has allowed us to reduce our air conditioning costs by running the house at higher temperatures in the summer. This year we are operating the house at 76 degrees. Our electrical costs are also much lower.

I do think that this information needs to be passed along to others but when I mention it to doctors they do not seem to be interested. Wonder why?

Hope this helps others out there. Take care.

Ed W.

The humidity theory might help explain why I get my hot flashed only at home, which is a more humid environment than at the office. Thanks for the tip!

Sorry but this all sounds so bogus and stupis to me. I would die if I kept my house at 76 degrees!! I might as well go live on the equator!

I have found if I keep all of my body the same temp I am less likely to get a flush.Long sleeves help.
Hot flashes occur if there is a breeze on a Summer day.
I run for the heater ,coat or a blanket if I have a hot flash not for something cold.I find body flashes hot trying to warm me up.Give it a try.
My flashes are caused by blockers for breast cancer.Upsetting the system
Once I get past the big heat up when getting busy it levels out.I am finding sea kelp sup helps.Going to try sage tea today.I AM IN CONTROL[that's what I keep thinking]
I have low blood pressure
Body malfunction.
More research needed to beat this debilitating THING as its not life threatening little is done about it.

Thank you all for sharing, I have just ordered a Chilly Tube so fingers crossed..... My night sweats bother me most and have found that the moment I "move" whilst in bed, so turn one way or the other, that's it the 'personal summer' is triggered - does this happen to anyone else? - simply changing your position whilst in bed triggers your night sweat? Many thanks

Yes, The same thing has been happening to me!! I wake up at night feel fine and change position. As soon as I do BINGO instant Hot Flash!!
It's the weirdest thing! I'm thinking we wake up because the hot flash is coming on and it's not really the change in position that is causing it.

I'm sorry but much of what is said regarding weight and hot flashes is bogus. That also goes for exercise to reduce hot flashes because exercise DOES NOT reduce hot flashes. I exercise regularly and always have. I am not overweight either. I DO suffer greatly from hot flashes. I don't smoke. I drink tons of water. I can't take HRT's as I had uterine cancer and thus a complete hysterectomy. Sorry but when I read the so called advice to eliminate hot flashes through weight loss or exercise I could scream. It's all bogus. Give me something REAL to eliminate the hot flashes.

I have been suffering with 'tropical moments' for around 9 years now. In the past year I have lost 30 lbs. and have not noticed a decrease, in fact, they seem much hotter and more frequent. After the hot flash, I have a 'cold' flash, even when the temperature is normal, around 72 in the house, I'm 'cold' until the hot flash rolls around which is more frequent around bed time. I feel like I have an internal broken thermostat. Sadly, I don't like water, so I drink tea to keep hydrated, but, stepping outside during the winter months gives me instant relief. My problem is not getting to sleep, it's staying asleep, but fortunately once it passes I go back to sleep. Using a cooling pillow helps somewhat, but most of the time it's not cool because I'm too hot. All I can do is hope that I am nearing the end of these 'hot' flashes and that my new 'tropical moments' will be in the sunny south!

hello, my mom has gone through the hysterectomy due to ovarian cancer,about three years before. now, she is facing problems like:
hot flushes
increase in breath rate
excessive sweating

although, she is of 50 years old,her weight is about 60kg and height is 150cm. she take a balance diet along with regular exercise and even after taking the medicines for hormones, there is not much improvement in her condition.

i would be grateful if you will help me in this matter.


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