HOT FLASHES-A Healing Season Women’s Wellness Report
By Shannyn Caldwell TND Candidate and Holistic Nutritionist
Hot flashes are the most common symptom of menopause and perimenopause. More than two-thirds of North American women who are heading into menopause have hot flashes. They also affect women who start menopause after chemotherapy or surgery to remove their ovaries.
Hot flashes start when blood vessels near the skin’s surface widen to cool off, making you break out in a sweat. Some women also experience a rapid heart rate or chills.
Conventional Medicine suggest that there is no prevention available, aside from limited triggering foods.
There’s nothing you can do to avoid hot flashes around menopause. But you can stay away from triggers that may make them more frequent or more severe. Common ones included on WebMD’s website include: Stress, Caffeine, Alcohol, Spicy foods, Tight clothing, Cigarette smoke,Sugar.
If simple adaptations like wearing breathable natural fibers and a cooling pillow do not bring a satisfactory result, the medical doctor is likely to suggest Hormone Replacement therapy. Side effect of such “therapy” include: a higher likely to have blood clots, breast and endometrial cancers, and gallbladder inflammation. Additionally, When you stop taking HRT, the hot flashes may come back.
For those wishing to avoid HRT, the MD offers there other “greatest hits” for you to try:
Prescription treatments include:
Low-dose depression drugs like fluoxetine (Prozac, Rapiflux), paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva), or venlafaxine (Effexor), Clonidine, a blood pressure medication, Gabapentin, an anti-seizure drug, Brisdelle, a paroxetine formula specifically for hot flashes, Duavee, a conjugated estrogens/bazedoxifene formula designed to treat hot flashes
Clearly, these offerings demonstrate a desire to “treat symptoms” not trace roots. I will not spend a lot of time tracing down side effect of each of these, for lack of space and interest.
A visit to your friendly neighborhood Naturopath will reveal a much less intimating set of options for your to consider.
Let’s look at some other choices that may help our bodies find ease in this transition.
Let’s consider the events in play that create this response in the body.
These include changes in reproductive hormones and in your body’s thermostat (hypothalamus), which becomes more sensitive to slight changes in body temperature.
Aside from menopause, other possible causes of Hot Flashes include:
Thyroid problems, such as hyperthyroidism, which causes an overabundance of thyroid hormone, can increase the body’s metabolism and lead to hot flashes and sweating. While hypothyroidism is the usual culprit in these cases.
Hormone-secreting tumors such as pancreatic tumors override the organs’ ability to help the body function properly and can lead to hot flashes and sweating.
We can bolster the endocrine system with proper nutrition, including adequate levels of B complex vitamins, vitamin E. (Mayo Clinic suggestion)
Super stars in the “help for hot flash” category can be found in Mother Nature as well.
The best known of these helpers:
(Actaea racemosa, Cimicifuga racemosa) This herb has received quite a bit of scientific attention for its possible effects on hot flashes. Studies of its effectiveness in reducing hot flashes have produced mixed results. However, some women report that it has helped them. Recent research suggests that black cohosh does not act like estrogen, as once thought. This reduces concerns about its effect on hormone-sensitive tissue (eg, uterus, breast). Black cohosh has had a good safety record over a number of years.
Vitex Agnus Castus has been particularly in demand because it has been proven in German studies to help women with their hormonal imbalance problems.
Vitex Agnus Castus works by increasing the number of progesterone hormones in the body. Vitex Chasteberry Tree contains compounds that have an influence on the pituitary glands. These compounds cause the pituitary glands to reduce their production of FS (Follicle stimulating) hormones and increase their production of L (luteinizing) hormones. This then causes the pituitary gland to produce more progesterone hormones.
Progesterone hormones are particularly important during menopause and with an increase it can help women to have balanced hormone levels. Consequently Vitex Agnus Castus for menopause can be extremely effective because it helps women to stay hormonally balanced, and to avoid the unpleasant signs and symptoms of menopause.
Essential Oils are also a handy tool to keep at the ready.
Phytoestrogens are plant-based estrogens. Essential oils containing phytoestrogens may help balance hormones.
Since many of the changes associated with menopause are due to declining estrogen, phytoestrogens may improve a range of symptoms, including mood swings, hot flashes, and irregular periods.
Clary sage, fennel, cypress, angelica, and coriander oils may support hormone balance, according to one study.
Citrus oil aromatherapy is said to have a number of health benefits for women experiencing symptoms of menopause. Researchers in a 2014 study found the postmenopausal women who inhaled this essential oil experienced fewer physical symptoms and an increase in sexual desire.
In addition to a decrease in systolic blood pressure, they also experienced an improved pulse rate and estrogen concentrations.
Citrus also has anti-inflammatory properties, which may help with any aches and pains you may be experiencing.
Geranium used as an essential oil has also been found to help menopausal women manage hormonal changes.
If you’re looking for ways to increase your estrogen levels or to help improve your mood, consider adding basil aromatherapy to your daily regimen. Basil can also be helpful against hot flashes when diluted and applied to your feet or rubbed across the back of your neck.
Some researchers have proposed that rose oil strengthens the uterus, potentially addressing menstrual cycle issues. In menopause, rose oil may improve mood and reduce hot flashes by balancing hormones.
What a wonderful way to rebrand this often-maligned season in life.
Menopausal Hot Flashes: A bouquet of roses… geranium and clary sage.
Learn more about Shannyn Caldwell and The Healing Season at www.thehealingseason.com
and join the Holistic Wellness Group at www.facebook.com/healingseason