Hot Flashes Oh My – How to Relieve Your Menopause Symptoms

Hi Friend!

As we dive into the hottest part of the summer, the heat can be unbearable for individuals that are battling Hot Flashes or night sweats. Most often these patients are going through menopause, but younger patients with a regular cycle can also present with these symptoms when things get out of whack. So, why do some people get these and others do not? It turns out that hot flashes can be closely linked to hormone balance, diet, and sleep patterns. Chinese medicine provides a good understanding of why this imbalance occurs in some and offers a few techniques to help us cool off.

What causes Menopausal Symptoms?

Menopause is a natural transition for all women, as they reach the end of their child-bearing years. For some it is an easy and smooth transition, with only subtle changes, but for others it can be a tortuous fluctuation of hormones, mood, and physical symptoms.
While many think of hot flashes and night sweats as the typical menopause symptoms, the body can experience all kinds of different symptoms. Insomnia can become a big problem for some, while others may have trouble with vaginal dryness, libido changes, or losing hair. Mood changes effect a large number of women and can cause feelings of depression, anxiety, irritability, and general moodiness. Weight gain, dry skin, and changes in the breasts or reproductive organs is also a possibility.

So why do some women sail through menopause and others struggle with these issues?

For some women, there are genetic reasons why they experience more symptoms during menopause. This is usually due to how their bodies regulate hormones. There are therapies such as hormone replacement or creams that may aid with these issues, but there are also many natural ways to balance the hormones.
Diet can also play a big part. The food we eat can have a huge impact on our hormones and how our bodies deal with changes. Eating foods that “cause heat” or inflammation – such as fried, greasy foods, large amounts of dairy, or alcohol – can rev up the system and increase our likelihood of hot flashes and night sweats.
Managing our sleep routines is also key. Having disturbed sleep, eating too late at night, irregular bedtimes can disrupt the body’s regulatory functions. This not only leads to cranky moods and less-than-desirable brain function throughout the day, but can throw your hormones out of whack, exacerbating the menopause symptoms.
Read on to find out which natural cures might help you find balance in a changing body.

Acupuncture

Have you been struggling with some of these symptoms? Do you feel like menopause is ruling your life? It might be time to start regular acupuncture treatments to get you back to feeling like your old self. Acupuncture can regulate hormones to smooth out the menopause transition, and can help relieve some of the surface symptoms as well. Check out this list of symptoms that acupuncture can tackle:

  • Hot flashes
  • Night Sweats
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Mood Swings
  • Headaches and Migraines
  • Palpitations
  • Low Back Pain, Neck Pain and Knee Pain
  • Vaginal Dryness and Decreased sex drive
  • Insomnia and changes in Sleep Quality
  • Frequent urination
Getting in for regular acupuncture treatment can make a world of difference as you move through menopause. Many of these symptoms are the result of imbalances in the body, and nothing is better to gently reset these systems than acupuncture. Once the body is in balance, these symptoms will ease away. Not to mention, acupuncture relieves issues like stress and mood changes which often come up in perimenopause. Heal the body and the mind with a dose of acupuncture!

Diet

Changing your diet can make a huge difference in the severity of your symptoms as well. First, you will want to cut back on sugars, fried foods, very spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol, as these all increase the heat in the body and make hot flashes worse. Avoid conventionally raised meat, as well. Often these meat sources are treated with chemicals and added hormones – so seek out hormone-free, organic, and pasture-raised meats.

Try to load up your diet with yummy fruits and vegetables. The antioxidants, fiber, and natural water content in fresh fruits and vegetables will balance out hormones, hydrate the tissues, and slow the aging process. Most will also provide you with tons of vitamins and minerals to keep your body healthy for the long-run. Additionally, a substance called indol-3-carbinol occurs in many of the cruciferous veggies (think broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale) and helps to balance estrogen levels.

Fiber-rich foods (like beans, whole grains, veggies, nuts, and seeds) will also help to regulate hormone levels and can help prevent the excess weight gain that some experience.

Make sure you are getting enough healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids, as well. These powerhouse fats protect the heart, reduce inflammation, and can combat depression that arises from hormone imbalances, such as in menopause. Fats will also keep you feeling full longer and prevent that pesky extra weight gain!

How is your water intake? We all need to make sure we are staying hydrated, but during menopause this is extra important. Not only do we need to make sure we have enough water to prevent issues like dryness, but if you are experiencing hot flashes and night sweats it is important to replace those lost fluids. During the day, try swapping your mid-morning coffee or afternoon tea with lemon water, sage tea, or steep a few goji berries in hot water for a super hydrating refresher.

If you are interested in a personal, specialized diet plan to help you greatly improve your symptoms with diet, contact me here to schedule a consult!

Herbal Remedies

Chinese herbs can be miraculous when it comes to menopause symptoms. Adding in an individualized formula based specifically on your needs will help your body to transition through menopause gracefully, and without all these uncomfortable symptoms.

In addition to my range of Chinese herbal formulas, there are other herbs that can be helpful in relieving hot flashes. Black Cohosh is one of the most popular herbs for reducing flashes and sweating. Vitex is also a popular choice for regulating hormones and helping sleep. Evening primrose oil has a cooling effect and regulates estrogen as well. Red clover, chickweed, and sage are all also well-known for managing hot flashes. Add maca powder to your oatmeal or smoothies for a boost in energy, libido, and mood. Look for teas in specialty shops that incorporate these herbs to add to your daily diet.

Essential Oils

Did you know that essential oils can naturally balance your hormones as well? Try clary sage, peppermint, roman chamomile, or thyme. In addition to balancing hormones, they can relieve stress and cool the body. Rub a few drops of the chosen oil on the soles of the feet at night to help keep hot flashes at bay.

Move and Snooze

Not only are exercise and regular sleep patterns important for maintaining health in any situation, but they can greatly improve some of the symptoms of menopause and even prevent some of the symptoms in the first place. Make sure to get 10-30 minutes of aerobic and strength-training exercise most days of the week. The cardio will help you keep off extra weight and relieve stress, while the strength building exercise will help strengthen the bones to prevent osteoporosis.

Keeping regular sleep habits will minimize these symptoms as well. Try to go to bed at the same time each night, and wake about the same time each morning. Getting enough sleep is important too. Aim for at least 7-8 hours per night and try to wind down from electronics, work, etc… at least an hour before bedtime.

Age With Grace

Menopause, although dreaded by some, is actually a beautiful transition in the life of a woman. It marks a new era of womanhood, that of wisdom, newfound inspiration, and grown-up goals. This is a time to reinvent yourself and investigate your sexuality, interests, spirituality, and beliefs. Menopause, like all of life’s transitions, offers a platform for you to get to know and love yourself better. Delve into journaling, or pick up some new books. Taking care of your body during this time is the most compassionate thing you can do for yourself, and will make menopause an enlivened experience of growth and development, rather than something miserable and uncomfortable. Focus on balance and open up to a whole new world!

Hi! I'm Angela

Acupuncturist, Herbalist, Integrative Wellness Consultant and Mood-Gut expert.

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