Do you have any tips for reducing and managing hot flashes?

Hot flashes are one of the most typical symptoms of menopause, and one of the most bothersome because you can’t control them. I saw a greeting card once that said, “If you plan it just right, one hot flash can defrost the whole car.” If only! Since you can’t control them, I suggest trying to reduce common triggers.

Do your best to reduce common triggers

Quit smoking. As a physician, I list that first because it contributes not only to hot flashes but also to other serious medical problems. I don’t smoke, so I know it’s easy for me to say, but if you’re still smoking at mid-life, it’s time to take that tough road to being smoke-free.

Drink less. A glass of wine can be part of a romantic evening, but be aware that alcohol can be a trigger for hot flashes. You can do your own experimentation to see if alcohol’s a trigger for you, at what level and with which kind of alcohol.

Eat well. Smaller meals of low-fat, high-fiber food will keep your digestive system from heating up from overwork and acting as a trigger. Spicy food can also sometimes be an aggravating factor.

Exercise. Women who exercise regularly have fewer hot flashes than women who don’t. More good news: Intimacy is exercise!

De-stress. Easier said than done, I know, but the more stressed you are, the more hot flashes you’re likely to have. You can’t remove all the stressors from your life—some of them are people you love!—but you can develop mindfulness practices that help you manage them more easily.