Can Flax seed help with Menopausal Hot Flashes?

A study of flax seed taken by menopausal women suffering from hot flashes gives hope that it is effective in reducing hot flashes.

Sandhya Pruthi, M.D., Mayo Clinic breast-health specialist, answered a question from Uta of New Jersey. Uta had heard about a pilot study demonstrating that flaxseed reduces menopausal hot flashes; she wanted verification, which Dr. Pruthi gave.

To be sure we're on the same page, hot flashes are defined as one or more of the following:

  • Feeling mild warmth to intense heat spreading through your upper body and face
  • Flushed appearance with red, blotchy skin on your face, neck and upper chest
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Perspiration, mostly on the upper body
  • A chilled feeling as the hot flash subsides


Photo by davco9200; shared through Creative Commons; thank you!

Hot flash--How many? How often?

Believe it or not, some women have hot flashes that last as long as 30 minutes! For most of us, they subside within a couple minutes.

How often? It can be several a day or just a few a week. You may experience sweating at night--"night sweats"--that wake you from a sound sleep...

...or merely feel warmer than you normally do.

Common during perimenopause (that era leading up to menopause), hot flashes tend to peak during the first couple years after your actual menstrual periods have stopped. This could be a couple of years. And, for some women, they may continue indefinitely.

None of this sounds fun. That's why the flaxseed study is so encouraging!

Flax Seed Study Particulars

  • Study Sample: 29 women who had a minimum of 14 hot flashes per week for at least one month
  • Dosage: 40g of flaxseed daily
  • Duration: 6 weeks
  • Results: 50 percent reduction in hot flashes
  • Side effects: bloating, diarrhea and gas--Flaxseed is very high in fiber!

So, if you're interested in trying this for bothersome hot flashes, talk to your doctor or women's health expert first.

Helpful Tips

Consider a trial period. As natural remedies go, this is so high in fiber, it might be challenging for your body to adjust to 40g (or 4 tablespoons) a day.

To minimize the gastrointestinal side effect, you may want to start with 2 tablespoons (20 grams) of flaxseed per day. Sprinkle on cereal, yogurt or fruit for about three weeks...

...then, you could increase to 2 tablespoons twice a day. Oh! and be sure to drink plenty of water and other clear fluids daily. (Funny how often that piece of health advice keeps cropping up!)

My thanks to the staff at Mayo Clinic, Minnesota, for their research!

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