Hot Flashes and Probiotics – A New and Effective Treatment?
Hot flashes are a common symptom in menopause. Some say they can last for several months, but many women find themselves having hot flashes for years. They can be very hard for some, even disrupting the daily life of a woman. But recent studies on hot flashes and probiotics shows promising results for treating this symptom.
Some women have only mild hot flashes, so they choose not to treat their symptoms, but they can also be severe and last longer. They can happen at any time during the day, giving you a sudden feeling of heat, or at night as night sweats. It is said that hot flashes are especially severe in women with early or premature menopause. Moreover, it might take years before the symptoms go away.
What Are Hot Flashes?
Women describe hot flashes as a sudden feeling of being hot, sweating, and a flushed face. This feeling appears out of nowhere and spreads fast through the body. Heart palpitations are also common in hot flashes. And it also varies how often they happen. Some women can have them from time to time, while others would have many during the day.
There is no exact known cause of hot flashes. But they usually start because the blood vessels near the surface of the skin try to cool off, leaving you sweaty. They might be as well related to hormonal shifts in your body during menopause. That is why about 80% of women have hot flashes in their menopausal years.
Triggers to Avoid
We do not know for sure where hot flashes come from. However, there is a study that connects them to an allergy to certain foods or chemicals in everyday products (1). That means you can change your diet and lifestyle to maintain your symptoms. Although you cannot prevent hot flashes, you can help control them by avoiding common triggers like:
- spicy food
- cancer treatments
- certain meds
- tight clothing
- health problems
Try to reduce the amount of coffee and tea you drink or choose decaf options, so your hot flashes do not appear because of that common trigger. Giving up smoking and avoiding alcohol will have a positive impact on other symptoms you may have. Those symptoms can include mood swings, weight gain, low sex drive, feeling tired, skin problems, and others.
When you have a hot flash, try to cool your body down. Placing a fan in your room could help, as well as using AC when it is warm inside. Keep a spray bottle of cold water near your workspace so you can always spray your face when you feel that a hot flash is about to happen. You can also drink cold water from time to time to cool down your body in general.
Usually, hot flashes do not do any harm to your body except for the obvious discomfort that comes with them. Often, you can also manage them quite well by changing your diet and lifestyle. However, if you also have other symptoms like fatigue, anxiousness, mood swings, or others, you can speak to your doctor about treatment options.
Treating Hot Flashes with Probiotics
Hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) is a standard treatment for hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause. However, many women now avoid HRT because of the health risks that come with it. Long-term use of HRT could lead to an increased risk of breast cancer, blood clots, and stroke. That’s why finding non-hormonal therapies for healing hot flashes is so essential.
Probiotics show results in treating many symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes. That is because probiotic bacteria are beneficial for your body’s immune system and your overall health. Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus species, in particular, are believed to help with hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and vaginal dryness. They are also the most common probiotic bacteria you can find in food and supplements.
How Do Probiotics Work?
The link between your gut microflora and hot flashes might not be obvious at first, but your gut health really has an impact on how you feel in menopause. The gut-brain axis, a nervous system connecting your digestive system with your brain, helps your gut and brain communicate at all times through complex pathways (2). The two can also affect one another, which is why a healthy gut can significantly improve your overall health.
Probiotics work in your body by improving your gut microflora and increasing the amount of beneficial bacteria over harmful bacteria. For women, “good bacteria,” or probiotics, contribute to healthy metabolism and also recycling of hormones in the body. By doing that, these bacteria support hormonal balance. That is the reason why probiotics are effective for the treatment of hormonal symptoms in menopause.
Apart from single probiotic solutions, you can try to combine the benefits of good bacteria with herbal remedies. Some strains of probiotics also work well together with isoflavones found in soy and red clover. For example, a study found the combination of probiotics and red clover extract effective for reducing symptoms of menopause (3).
Where to Get Probiotics for Your Hot Flashes?
Overall, you should choose a treatment option fitting the severity of your symptoms. Often, changing your diet and lifestyle is enough for many women to keep their hot flashes under control. However, if these changes do not give results in your case, natural remedies and probiotics can be a good alternative or complementary therapy.
You can get probiotics by eating certain foods rich in these bacteria, such as live yogurt, tempeh, miso, pickles, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods. If you do not enjoy these foods, you can always take a probiotic supplement. We at MenoLabs have developed a line of probiotic supplements to target such symptoms as hot flashes. Take a dose with 5-20 billion CFU per day for best results.
(2) Clair Martin, Vadim Osadchiy, Amir Kalani, and Emeran Mayer. “The Brain-Gut-Microbiome Axis.”
(3) Max Lambert, Anne Thorup, Esben Hansen, and Per Jeppesen. “Combined Red Clover isoflavones and probiotics potently reduce menopausal vasomotor symptoms.”