What is a hot flash?
Hot flashes are a common symptom of menopause, caused by a decline in estrogen levels. They are sudden feelings of heat that can cause sweating, rapid heartbeat, and shortness of breath and can last for a few minutes or up to an hour.
Does spicy food trigger hot flashes?
Yes, spicy food can affect hot flashes.
How does spicy food trigger hot flashes?
Here is where it gets a bit technical. Capsaicin, the compound that gives chilli peppers their heat, can trigger the release of histamine, a chemical that can cause vasodilation or the widening of blood vessels. This can lead to increased blood flow to the skin, which can trigger a hot flash.
In addition, capsaicin can also stimulate the vagus nerve, which is responsible for regulating many bodily functions, including heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature. When the vagus nerve is stimulated, it can cause the heart rate and blood pressure to increase, which can also trigger a hot flash.
A 2019 study on the “Impact of diet on menopausal symptoms” published in the journal Maturitas found that women who ate spicy food were more likely to experience hot flashes, and the severity of the hot flashes was related to the amount of capsaicin consumed.
How to reduce the risk of hot flashes from spicy food
If you are concerned about spicy food triggering hot flashes, there are a few things you can do to reduce your risk:
- Avoid eating spicy food before bed.
- Limit your overall intake of spicy food.
- Choose milder chilli peppers, such as Anaheim or poblano peppers, instead of hotter peppers, such as habanero or jalapeño peppers.
- Eat spicy food with a meal, rather than on its own. This can help slow down digestion and reduce the absorption of capsaicin.
If you do experience a hot flash after eating spicy food, there are a few things you can do to relieve the symptoms:
- Drink a cool glass of water.
- Apply a cool compress to your face and neck.
- Fan yourself to help cool down.
- Take a cool shower or bath.
If your hot flashes are severe or disruptive, talk to your doctor. They may be able to recommend other treatment options
Read More: 5 Foods that help ease hot flashes
How do I confirm my symptoms are a result of menopause?
If you are experiencing hot flashes and any other menopause symptoms and would like a simple snapshot of your menopause status or a detailed look at your hormone balance, we recommend doing a Menopause or MenoBalance health check. This can help you understand your symptoms better and make informed decisions about your well-being.
DocHQ Menopause Check screens your follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels, which rise as you near menopause. This test can help you determine if you are approaching or have reached menopause.
DocHQ MenoBalance Check measures a panel of hormones: progesterone, testosterone, oestradiol, FSH levels and more. This information can help you understand your hormonal balance and how it may be affecting your symptoms.
Both of these tests are easy to use and provide accurate results. All you need to do is collect your blood sample via a finger prick and send it to our certified laboratory. You will receive your results within days, along with a detailed GP-verified report and advice.
While spicy food can trigger hot flashes in some women, it is important to remember that everyone is different. What affects one woman may not affect another. If you are concerned about spicy food triggering hot flashes, talk to your doctor. They can help you develop a plan to manage your hot flashes and reduce your risk of complications.