Menopause is an inevitable occurrence in the lives of women, with an average onset of 51 ½ years of age. While many women welcome the end of menstruation that accompanies menopause, they don't enjoy the hot flashes that reduced estrogen and progesterone levels bring. Hot flashes, or flushes, create a sudden feeling of uncomfortable warmth in the upper core, chest, neck, and face. Because this discomfort proves frequent for some women, products or substances that relieve hot flashes have become invaluable.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) medications help, but they come with dangerous side effects according to research. Tracking 16,608 women taking HRT for menopausal symptoms, the Women's Health Initiative study showed that HRT increases risks for breast cancer, coronary heart disease, and stroke.
Many women now rely on alternative treatments like bioflavonoids. Compounds found in fruits, vegetables, and other plants, bioflavonoids offer a number of important health benefits, which makes them a popular subject for research. Because they have proven to be mildly estrogenic, bioflavonoids have the potential to relieve hot flashes and increase vaginal fluids without the dangerous consequences of HRT.
One study at Loyola University Medical School examined 94 women in menopause to determine the effects of bioflavonoids and vitamin C on hot flashes. All were given 200 mg of vitamin C and 200 mg of bioflavonoids six times per day. By the end of the study 67 percent of participants reported total relief from hot flashes, and 21 percent reported partial relief.
To relieve hot flashes with bioflavonoid supplements, most health professionals recommend 1000 to 2000 mg per day. Good dietary sources of bioflavonoids include berries, citrus fruits, dark organic cocoa, green tea, legumes, onions, parsley, red wine, and soy products like soy milk, tofu, and tempeh.
Women who want to double their chances for hot flash relief might also consider regular exercise. A study examining 164 menopausal women in their 50s found exercise helped relieve hot flashes and insomnia. The participants were divided into three groups for a period of four months. One group was sedentary, one group practiced yoga, and the other group walked regularly. Results showed a correlation between improved cardiorespiratory fitness and a reduction in menopausal symptoms.
Although hot flashes and night sweats often prove the most uncomfortable symptoms of menopause, bioflavonoids and exercise can offer relief. Before starting a supplementary regimen or an exercise program, it is a good idea to consult with a health care provider.