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week71My cousin Patricia is 10 years older than me and is experiencing hot flashes. I have heard stories from other relatives and co-workers who say they can come on at any moment and that they are dreadful. They can arrive in the middle of the night while sleeping – causing the kick off of covers – or right in the middle of first meeting with a new important client.

Patricia suggested I should ask my own mother at what age she first experienced the change of life and how were her hot flashes. Did she get them frequently or just occasionally?

Hot flashes, or hot flushes, are a sudden and quickly passing sensation of heat often is accompanied by a red, flushed face and sweating. It is a symptom of menopause and perimenopause and is caused by circulation changes. More than two-thirds women experience hot flashes during perimenopause and almost all women during menopause.

So I called my dear mom, who is still a whipper snapper in a lot of ways. When I posed the question to her, she said she was 50 when her menstrual cycle stopped for good, but for hot flashes, she never had any. Nada. Zip.

“But why not” I immediately asked?

“I took vitamin E. Just 400 daily,” she point blank responded.

Mom is so still on it, even at 88 years young. She then told me the story of her co-worker in a library where she volunteered while I was in elementary school. The head librarian complained often of the hot flashes and how unbearable they had become. Listening to her, my mother suggested that she take 400 international units (IUs) of vitamin E every night before bed. Not too long after, the librarian was thanking my mother for curing her flashes and gave her the honorary title of Dr. Falco.

Sure enough, Mom is right – again. As backed up by clinical studies published in “Journal of the International Menopause Society” and “Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy,” taking vitamin E daily at mealtime can help significantly reduce menopausal hot flashes as it acts as an estrogen substitute. It also replenishes electrolytes lost through perspiration and provides cellular protection from oxidative stress.

Some natural dietary sources of digesting vitamin E include wheat germ, safflower oil, olive oil, whole grains, peanuts, pecans, walnuts and almonds.

Other remedies to help ward off hot flashes include exercising at least for 30 minutes daily, keeping your room cool, wearing light layers of clothes, and trying deep slow abdominal breathing of six to eight breaths per minute – 15 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes in the evening and at the onset of hot flashes. You may also try taking a vitamin B complex and Ibuprofen. Moreover, try to eliminate or avoid caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, cigarette smoke and stress.

Since vitamin E is fat soluble and can become toxic from overdose, consult a physician before starting supplementation. Your primary physician can also recommend the right daily dosage. Not it may be two to six weeks before the effects are felt.

Good luck, ladies!

Be Fit. Be Strong. Be Well.