There are always two ways
to look at everything, I
guess. My wife and I were
sitting at a table at my
high school reunion last
October, and I kept staring
at a drunken lady swigging
her drink as she
sat alone at a nearby
table. My wife noticed me
staring and asked me, "Do
you know her?".

I sighed, "She's my old
girlfriend. I understand she
took to drinking right after
we split up those  
many years ago, and I
hear she hasn't been sober
since." "My God!" says my
wife, "Who would
think a person could go on
celebrating that long?"

Got a Joke? E-mail it to us:

Last night, my friend and I
were sitting in the living
room and
I said to her, "I never want
to live in a vegetative
state, dependent on
some machine and fluids
from a bottle. If that ever
happens, just pull the

She got up, unplugged the
TV, and threw out my wine
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July 11, 2010, last updated February 19, 2016

By  Louise Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist

Just when you think you’ve got everything under control, it
strikes again - that flush of intense warmth flooding your
body and the inevitable sweating, blushing or shivers that
accompany this distressing sensation. You’re not alone. Hot
flashes, also called "vasomotor symptoms" affect between
61% to 70% of post-menopausal women.

Peri-menopause is a transition phase during which your
period become less regular, your body's hormone balance
changes and your period gradually stops altogether ---
marking the existence of menopause. Peri-menopause
usually lasts about 4 years, according to a 2005 study by Dr.
Judith Wylie-Rosett of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine
in New York. Hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause
typically start about 1 to 2 years before your period stops.

About 67% of women experience hot flashes during the first
year of menopause and that number drops to 49% by the
second year of menopause.

What Causes Hot Flashes?

A gland in the brain called the hypothalamus, which is also
responsible for regulating the menstrual cycle, is responsible
for these flare-ups. Call the hypothalamus the body’s own
thermostat or its heating system. When the body demands a
lower temperature and turns the thermostat down, the hot
flash responds by opening the windows and letting the heat

This release of heat can make you feel uncomfortable and
self conscious. To make things worse, hot flashes can
happen when you least expect them and can strike many
times a day. When you’re left red-faced and sweaty for more
than a few minutes you’ll want to do something about it.

What's worse, hot flashes are a common cause of sleep
disruption, which can result in chronic insomnia, according
to a 2010 study led by Dr. Kostandinos Sideras of the Mayo

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was the original great
hope for combating hot flashes. But in 2002 the Women's
Health Initiative (WHI) reported long term use of the
hormone replacement preparation Prempro could increase
the risk of heart disease, stroke and breast cancer.

Many women now turn to natural remedies to cool down.
Many of these remedies are thought to work by targeting
receptors for estrogen, the same hormone used in HRT.
According to a 2005 study by Geller and Studee,
premenopausal and postmenopausal women are among the
highest users of natural remedies but 70% of women do not
tell their healthcare providers about their use.

Here are the Top 10 natural remedies for hot flashes, based
on medical research:

Moxibustion Can Control Hot Flashes

What is moxibustion?  Moxibustion is a 1,000-year-old
traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves the
burning of the herb mugwort.

Indirect moxibustion is the most popular current treatment.
Direct moxibustion can cause burning and scarring.

With indirect moxibustion, the therapist lights a moxa stick
and holds it close to the body until the treatment area turns
red. You can also use indirect moxibustion with acupuncture

A 2009 clinical trial from the Department of Medical Research
at the Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine, Daejeon, South
Korea, found hot flashes significantly decreased in frequency
and severity when moxibustion treatment was given.

The study randomly assigned 51 women into three groups
and over six weeks measured the frequency and severity of
hot flashes on the moxibustion regime compared with a
control group.

Acupuncture Helps Reduce the Severity of Hot Flashes

Acupuncture has been highly tested to determine its ability
to prevent hot flash flare-ups. A 2010 study from the Korea
Institute of Oriental Medicine, Daejeon, South Korea, used a
multicenter, randomized, controlled trial to measure hot flash
symptoms after 12 sessions of acupuncture.

The results showed a marked improvement in hot flashes
when the women were treated with acupuncture, compared
to the control group.

Needles seem to get right to the point --- another study
produced similar results. The 2009 research from The
National Research Center in Alternative and Complementary
Medicine, University of Tromsø, Norway, discovered that
acupuncture plus self-care can contribute to a clinically
relevant reduction in hot flashes.

The acupuncture group of post-menopausal women received
10 acupuncture treatments as well as self-care advice, and
the control group received self-care advice only. Hot flash
symptoms were measured and registered in a diary.

When it comes to feeling hot and sweaty at night, a problem
that can really affect your quality of sleep, acupuncture also
helps. Researcher Mary Huang, MS, of Stanford University
found seven weeks of acupuncture reduced the severity of
night-time hot flashes by 28 percent versus 6 percent after a
fake acupuncture treatment. The results were published in
the September 2006 issue of Fertility and Sterility.

Black Cohosh May Be An Effective Therapy for Hot Flashes

The jury is still out on the herb black cohosh’s overall
effectiveness in treating hot flash symptoms but a 12-week,
double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 304 women with
menopausal symptoms found black cohosh was more
effective than a placebo in reducing hot flashes (Osmers R,
Friede M, Liske E, et al. ‘Efficacy and safety of isopropanolic
black cohosh extract for climacteric symptoms’, 2005).

Black cohosh may work by targeting serotonin receptors, a
part of the body that also helps regulate temperature, and
not estrogen receptors, according to a study from the
University of Illinois, Chicago. Black cohosh was discovered
to be better than fluoxetine (Prozac) for hot flashes.

The 2007 study by Oktem, Eroglu, Karahan, et al tested 120
menopausal women over a three-month double-blind study.
One review study, ‘Complementary and alternative medicine
for menopausal symptoms: a review of randomized,
controlled trials, Kronenberg F, Fugh-Berman A, 2002’ found
black cohosh was effective in relieving hot flashes when they
occur in early menopause. However, researchers cautioned
that the lack of adequate long-term safety data made it
difficult to promote the herb for long-term use.

Soy is a Popular Remedy For Reducing Hot Flashes

Soy can help with hot flashes. Soy contains phytoestrogen
extracts, estrogen-like substances that many experts claim
are highly beneficial to sufferers of hot flashes in
menopause. You’ll find soy in foods like tofu, soy milk, soy
beans like edamame, miso and tempeh. Supplements are
available for those who don’t like the taste or texture.

Soy was found to reduce hot flashes by 50% in a 2007
Swedish study. The double-blind study involving 60 women
found 60mg daily reduced hot flashes by 50 percent.

If you eat soy and work out regularly you’ll get even greater
benefits, according to a study from Beth Israel Deaconess
Medical Center in Boston. "Women experiencing a higher
number of hot flashes who exercised more minutes and days
per week received more relief from menopausal symptoms
with soy consumption than those [who got less] exercise,"
researchers said.  

Soy tends to work better for some women than for others.
One reason could be exercise. Another reason could be that
processed soy loses some of its active components. Other
studies show soy has a minimal effect on hot flashes at best,
but may have other positive effects such as decreasing bone
loss and lowering the risk of heart disease.

Changing Your Behavior Changes Your Temperature

There are simple moves you can make to lose that sweaty
feeling. Try layering your clothing so you are never too hot
and don’t take hot baths or showers before bed. Sip cool
drinks or use an ice pack if you feel yourself getting overly

Stress can also have an impact on the frequency and severity
of your hot flashes and deep breathing can make a big
difference. Robert R. Freedman, Ph. D., as reported in the
December 2005 issue of The American Journal of Medicine,
counsels women to take yoga classes to learn the correct
way to breathe deeply as it can reduce hot flash symptoms
by 50 percent.  

Dong Quai May Reduce Hot Flashes

The herbal treatment dong quai has been used in Chinese
medicine for thousands of years and was reported
anecdotally to have an effect on hot flashes. However, very
few studies have been set up to test this theory. A 24-week
study that compared the effects of dong quai against a
placebo in 71 postmenopausal women found little benefit
(Hirata JD, Swiersz LM, Zell B, et al. ‘Does dong quai have
estrogenic effects in postmenopausal women? A double-
blind, placebo-controlled trial,’ 1997). Some experts on
Chinese medicine claim that the preparation studied was not
the same as is used in traditional practice.

Flax Seed Calms Hot Flashes

Flax seeds are a natural remedy for hot flashes. According to
a research study by the Mayo Clinic, reported in the summer
2007 issue of the Journal of the Society for Integrative
Oncology, hot flashes decreased by 50 percent when women
consumed four tablespoons of flax seeds a day.

Flax seeds are rich in omega-3 and lignans, substances that
might help lose that sweaty feeling. The study looked at 29
women who completed questionnaires about the frequency
and severity of their symptoms. The scientists also reported
some added bonuses; improvements in mood, less joint or
muscle pain, and a decrease in chills and sweating.


Some sources have questioned whether use of flax seed oil
is toxic at high doses. The Food and Drug Administration has
not explicitly and clearly expressed its opinion. However, in a
coy "non-opinion" opinion in 2009, it agreed with a
manufacturer of "high linolenic acid flax seed oil" that such
oil is appropriately classified as "generally regarded as safe".]

Does Rhubarb Prevent Hot Flashes?

Rhubarb can help reduce hot flashes. It seems unlikely, but a
12-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 109
women with menopause-related problems found that taking
rhubarb extract significantly improved symptoms such as hot
flashes when compared to placebo. (Heger M, Ventskovskiy
BM, Borzenko I, et al. ‘Efficacy and safety of a special extract
of Rheum rhaponticum (ERr 731) in perimenopausal women
with climacteric complaints: a 12-week randomized, double-
blind, placebo-controlled trial’, 2006).

Rhubarb contains the phytoestrogenic substance lindleyin
but raw rhubarb is toxic when eaten in large quantities. The
extract used in the study was specially processed to remove
all toxicity.

Vitamin E May Help You Treat Hot Flashes

Vitamin E reduces hot flashes. According to the results of a
small double-blind study from Iran, taking 400 IU of vitamin
E daily was more effective than placebo for treating
menopausal hot flashes (Ziaei S, Kazemnejad A, Zareai M.
‘The effect of vitamin E on hot flashes in menopausal
women’, 2007). A larger US study, however, failed to find as
significant a link, although this study was primarily
concerned with testing Vitamin E and hot flashes in breast
cancer survivors (Barton DL, Loprinzi CL, Quella SK, et al.
‘Prospective evaluation of vitamin E for hot flashes in breast
cancer survivors’, 1998).

Red Clover Reduces Hot Flash Symptoms

Red clover is rich in isoflavones and it’s claimed to be one of
the most effective of these substances in treating hot
flashes. A 2002 study by van de Weijer and Barentsen at the
Vrije Universiteit Medical Centre, Amsterdam, of 30 women
found 80mg of red clover extract a day significantly reduced
hot flashes. Another 2003 study from Tice JA, Ettinger B,
Ensrud K, et al found similar benefits from the same dose of
the substance.


Indian Barberry Plant Decreases Hot Flashes

Researchers have discovered that an extract from the
berberis aristata plant combined with isoflavones can reduce
hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause. The berberis
aristata plant is also known as "Indian Barberry" or "tree

A 2012 study from the University of Catania in Italy studied
120 women with an average age of 54. After 12 weeks, self
reported menopausal symptoms were greatly decreased. In
addition, the extract lowered cholesterol  by 13.5%
and triglycerides by 18.9%.

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