Hot Flashes: Causes & How To Treat Them Naturally

Hot Flashes: Causes & How To Treat Them Naturally

One of the most typical and well-known symptoms of menopause is hot flashes. While hot flashes are unpleasant and disruptive, there are, fortunately, methods that may help to lessen both their frequency and intensity.


What are Hot Flashes? 

Hot flashes are a phenomena in which you will feel sudden warmth in the upper part of your body¹. The heat typically concentrates around your face, neck, and chest region. Those experiencing a hot flash may also begin to sweat, experience a rapid heartbeat and/or feelings of anxiety, and their skin can appear to redden, as though they’re reacting to an outside warmth¹. 

Hot flashes at night are called night sweats, but the symptoms are identical between the two sensations. This can interrupt sleep or make it difficult to fall asleep. Similarly, during the day, hot flashes can cause disturbances in your daily routine and tasks.  

Every person’s experience of hot flashes will be unique; there is a spectrum of hot flash intensity and the number of years a woman will experience them. Some patterns may be impacted by ethnicity. For example, some research has suggested that African American and Hispanic women may experience hot flashes for more years than white and Asian people².


What Causes Hot Flashes During Menopause?  

Many symptoms of menopause are caused by hormone imbalances within the body that are brought on by aging. While it’s not entirely certain, the leading theory for what causes hot flashes comes down to your body’s changes in estrogen levels¹.

Your body’s temperature is regulated by the hypothalamus (a region in your brain), and many scientists believe that the changing estrogen levels in your body convince the hypothalamus that you’re experiencing a dramatic change in temperature¹.

So, it’s not that your body is changing its core temperature, per se; it’s that it’s likely reacting to changing estrogen levels, and it’s doing everything that it normally would to cool down your body. This is why people experiencing a hot flash perspire and flush; their body is forcing them to sweat in order to carry out its typical cooling methods.


Lifestyle Changes To Mitigate Hot Flash Symptoms 

There are several natural ways to help with managing and getting relief from hot flashes.

Many women report that routinely dressing in layers is a relatively straightforward lifestyle ‘hack’. At the onset of a hot flash, it is recommended to remove a layer or layers, and only put them back on when you no longer feel warm.

By maintaining a healthy weight, you can also help to mitigate hot flash symptoms. It has been found that individuals who are overweight tend to experience worse hot flashes that may last longer than hot flashes experienced by those within a healthy weight range³. Likewise, a higher BMI (body mass index) has also been associated with more frequent hot flashes.

In addition to staying active, it is recommended to optimize sleep. If hot flashes are bothersome at night, consider lowering the temperature in your bedroom, sleeping with a fan on, and/or layering your bedding to help to prevent night sweats from waking you up.

Aim for a balanced, nutritious diet. Some research has suggested that women avoid alcohol, spicy foods, and caffeine as these can make menopausal symptoms worse⁴.

Last, some women may find some relief through mind-body practices. According to some research, both hypnotherapy and mindfulness meditation may help with management of hot flashes⁴.


Key Takeaways 
  • Hot flashes are one of the most common symptoms of menopause.
  • Hot flashes happen because the hypothalamus is affected by changes in estrogen levels in the body.
  • Those experiencing a hot flash might perspire or flush in reaction to the sensations in their upper body.
  • Natural ways to manage hot flashes include maintaining a healthy weight, sleeping in a cooler environment, and dressing in layers to take off when the hot flash occurs.


  1. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (n.d.). Hot flashes. Mayo Clinic.
  2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Hot flashes: What can I do?. National Institute on Aging.
  3. Weight loss reduces hot flashes in overweight and obese women. Weight loss reduces hot flashes in overweight and obese women | UC San Francisco. (2023, December 18).
  4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.-a). Hot flashes: What can I do?. National Institute on Aging.