Hot Flashes and Hormones

Hot Flashes Driving You Crazy?

The dreaded hot flash. What else can take an otherwise elegant, competent woman and turn her into a desperate, sleepless, sweaty crazy person. At their worst, hot flashes are not just associated with temperature fluctuations, but with memory loss, decreased libido, osteoporosis, dry skin, depression, headaches, and mood swings. Don’t be a victim of your hormone imbalance! Reclaim the woman you used to be by following these steps.

Remove all sugar and grains from your diet.
I know some of you are thinking, “WHAT! I’d rather have a hot flash!” But hear me out. Hot flashes are the result of hormone imbalances as your ovaries stop producing estrogen and progesterone. You know what makes hormone issues even worse? Blood sugar issues. By lowering blood sugar fluctuations through a low glycemic diet, your hot flashes may disappear entirely!

Reduce stress
This sounds cliché but it is actually a key component for normalizing estrogen levels. After your ovaries shut down, your estrogen comes from one of two places: Your adrenal (stress) glands or your fat cells. If your poor adrenal glands are all stressed out, they won’t be able to put any energy towards producing your sex hormones! Try scheduling a massage, yoga class, or even just a hot bath with essential oils. Don’t over-commit yourself or try to do too many things at the same time. Acupressure and acupuncture can also help with the physical effects of stress.

There are tons of supplements on the market for hot flashes. The problem is that women sometimes metabolize supplements differently. For one woman, black cohosh will stop her hot flashes completely. For another woman black cohosh may not make any difference at all. The supplements that I think are most effective combine several different herbs and vitamins. I have been using Xymogen’s MedCaps Menopause with my patients and most have seen good results. This supplement combines Korean ginseng, kudzu (not soy) isoflavones, Licorice, Wild Yam, Black Cohosh, and Dong Quai just to name a few. Many of these compounds act like estrogen in the body and can provide relief when your body has trouble normalizing its own estrogen. Metagenics carries a supplement called Estrovera that contains Siberian Rhubarb and has been shown to dramatically reduce menopausal symptoms over a 3 month period.

Check your Thyroid
Changing estrogen levels can have a negative effect on your thyroid. For many menopausal women, the weight gain, temperature swings, and fatigue associated with menopause may actually be related to poor thyroid function. Have your thyroid checked and support your body by getting adequate amounts of iodine, selenium, and omega 3 fats while avoiding soy and gluten.

Acupressure or Acupuncture
Studies now show that acupressure and acupuncture have a significant effect on lowering symptoms of menopause. The trained practitioner can help support your ovaries, uterus, adrenals, and thyroid simultaneously.

What’s not on this list?
You may notice that I’ve left off HRT (hormone replacement therapy). Whenever an external hormone is supplied in the body’s system, it upsets the internal balance that allows the body to produce its own hormone. Not only that, but it is very hard to determine how your body will use that external hormone. For some women who are given progesterone, their body just turns it into estrogen. For other women given estrogen, their bodies metabolize it into dangerous toxic versions of the hormone that can increase risk of stroke, heart disease, and cancer. If you have tried everything else and feel that hormone replacement is the only option, I suggest having bio-identical hormones compounded specifically for you only after doing hormone testing to determine which hormones you would benefit from (many medical doctors just write for an estrogen supplement when the real problem is low progesterone, which can be aggravated by estrogen supplementation).