- Fertility & Reproductive Systems
Ways of Managing Hot Flashes
Exactly what are hot flashes? Most women know them as one of their body's worst enemies, as they enter middle age. It is that heat, accompanied by dizziness, rapid heartbeats, sweating, nausea, anxiety and sometimes a feeling of suffocation which can occur when least expected. Hot flashes can be source of embarrassment, especially if they cause extreme sweating, and one's clothes becomes soaked.
What causes this inconsistency in body temperature? First there is a sudden drop in your estrogen level. This drop has an effect on the hypothalamus, the part of your brain that is also in control of your body temperatures. Your hypothalamus interprets this to mean that your body is too hot. Your brain then responds by alerting the heart, blood vessels, and nervous system. Your heart pumps blood faster, blood vessels dilate to circulate more blood, in an effort to lesson the heat in your body. This whole process then causes you to sweat. This explains those embarrassing moments when your clothes are drenched. This is what the women in my town refer to as their “private summers.”
The big question is; what is a woman to do to manage hot flashes? There are conventional treatments that a woman can get with her gynecologist such as hormone replacement therapies. Although, hormone replacement therapy is effective in some cases, there are women who have reported that they experienced had side effects. For some women it is not always their safest option. Bio Identical Hormones are another solution that has yielded wonderful results. I take a progesterone cream at night, and it has helped me with insomnia, and to reduce fibroids. Although some experts claim that Bio Identical Hormones could have as many side effects as Hormone Replacement Therapy, I personally trust the Bio Identical Hormones, because they are better formulated to match my body's chemistry, and therefore, are less likely to cause problems.
There are other things you can do to reduce the frequency of hot flashes. You can avoid hot flash triggers such as: stress, smoking, diet pills, spicy foods, alcohol and caffeine. You can also make changes to your diet by trying grains that are alternatives to wheat such as: oats, corn, millet, buckwheat, rice and quinoa. Eat more fruits and vegetables especially dark leafy greens.
You can also follow menu plans printed in the following books: Natural Hormone Balance by Suzannah Oliver or Perfect Balance by Dr. Robert Greene. Both these books have very good menu plans to help with achieving a harmonious hormone balance. Make sure that the fats being used in your diet are the healthy ones. Two excellent fats are olive oil, or flaxseed oil. Include more complex carbohydrates in your diet such as whole grain breads, brown rice, rye crackers, sweet potatoes (with skin) and raw vegetable salads.
Consuming more fiber not only helps with bowl movements, but they also help eliminate unwanted estrogen. Beans are an excellent source of fiber. Paramount to your overall health, as well as trying to get through this difficult time in the best health, is that you drink sufficient water. Drink at least eight glasses of plain water that has not been mixed with anything a day. Last but not least, exercise! This will not only help you to balance your hormones, it will also help you manage your moods, and will keep your lymphatic system in top shape.
There are herbs that I also recommend for relieving hot flashes.
· Dong Quai: this herb is known for its ability to relieve problems with the female reproductive system. It is effective in reducing hot flashes as well, as other problems associated with menopause.
· Black Cohosh: Helps with estrogen dominance, and helps in reducing fibroids. Black Cohosh helps greatly with the menopausal transition.
· Licorice Root: Encourages female hormone balance, it does this by competing with estrogen. Licorice Root raises progesterone levels by protecting progesterone from being broken down. One word of caution, Licorice Root might not be the best remedy for those who have high blood pressure. When taken in high amounts it can contribute to high blood pressure and cause kidney problems. So when taking Licorice Root, use some caution.
· Sage: Is very good for alleviating night sweats that often accompany hot flashes.
· Other wonderful herbs that can be taken to alleviate hormonal imbalances are: Chase Berry, Alfalfa, Motherwort, Red Clover, Sage, and Sarsaparilla.
Whatever method you use for managing your private summers, make sure that it is one that is safe and works with your body rhythms. One of the best ways to know which cure is best for you is to listen to your body.