As you begin to experience more and more hot flashes, you will no doubt start correlating things that you do that aggravate them or bring them on. The known common culprits to aggravate hot flashes are things like coffee, sugar (desserts), hot spicy food, and of course what we wear. But there are some things that we do on a daily basis that might not be quite so obvious. For me, when I was going through a period of time in which my hot flashes seemed particularly bad, I realized that my favorite B-complex vitamin was the problem. On days that I forgot to take it, my hot flashes were better - it didn't take long for me to put the two together.
In Chinese Medicine we focus a lot on hot and cold energies, and a concentrated substance like a vitamin is often considered warming - in part due to the substance itself, but they also make our body work hard to break them down, because they are a concentrated substance. This breaking down process will often create heat in the body and when it comes to hot flashes, the last thing we want to do is make the body warmer! So, in my case I stopped taking the B-complex completely, for a couple of months, and then re-introduced it gradually, and now I only take it 2 or 3 times per week.
Another culprit is stress, particularly situational stress, like a heated discussion, or when you are talking about something that fires you up emotionally. I started to pay more attention to this and learned that I had some emotional work to do and to be more patient with myself.
The top-five hot flash triggers are:
- Complex B vitamins
- Hot, spicy foods