For many women, the hot flashes that accompany menopause are one of the worst symptoms.

If you need help with hot flashes, but you do not want to take medication or hormone replacement therapy, here are some good things to try.

  • Choose clothing made from natural fibers that breathe, or synthetics especially designed to wick moisture away from your skin.
  • Control your environment as much as you can. A small fan under your desk or located near you can be a big help.
  • Avoid stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol and spicy food.
  • Avoid hot baths or showers just before flashes
  • Try shower products and body lotions with peppermint or menthol in them, which have a cooling effect on the skin.
  • Some women find taking Vitamin E in doses of 800 IU a day helpful.
  • No one is absolutely certain whether or not soy protein helps. You can try up to 60 grams of soy protein a day (sources include soy milk, tofu, edamame, tempeh, roasted soy nuts) to see if it works for you.
  • Natural progesterone creams can help, but their strength varies considerably. Read and follow label directions.
  • Turn to the East: some women report success using yoga and acupuncture.
  • Some herbs can help with hot flashes. These include red clover (Promensil is a brand name), and black cohosh (Remifemin).
  • Evaporative cooling bandannas are inexpensive and work well.
  • Applying ice packs to the inside of your wrists, or just holding them under cold running water can help greatly.
  • Relax, and breathe deeply. Deep, abdominal breathing has been shown to cut hot flashes almost in half.
  • Work up a sweat by exercising. Aerobic exercise can cut hot flashes in half.