Oh the mighty Hot Flash. Comes out of nowhere and can really take you down. Hot flashes can negatively affect your quality of life, mood, concentration and sleep and up to 75% of perimenopausal women experience them.
What's the deal with hot flashes? Often they come as part of the wonders of Perimenopause - the period of time lasting anywhere from a few months to 15 years during which fertility is waning but that magic number of 12 months without menstruation - the marking
of Menopause - has not yet occurred. It usually starts sometime during your 40s and is marked by irregular periods and seismic hormonal shifts. Aside from the menstrual changes, common perimenopausal symptoms can include night sweats, insomnia, weight gain, libido decline, vaginal dryness, thinning hair, dry skin, mood swings, breast tissue changes, heart palpitations, migraines, brain fog, memory loss and other super fun mood swings like depression, anxiety, irritation and hot tempers.
If hot flashes are not accompanied by any menstrual changes at all, or you are not in the Perimenopausal category, they may be due to some other underlying condition. Don't just throw ice at them. Get some support, do some investigations and figure out the root cause.
Number one message - DO NOT SUFFER.
My firm belief is that there's ALWAYS something that can be done - often there's some trial and error involved. If the first thing that you try doesn't work - keep trying! Give it a chance.
Lately I've had so much great feedback from patients who report dramatically reduced incidence, frequency and severity of hot flashes after a few acupuncture treatments. Not to mention - some relaxing time to yourself
So, without further ado - Dr Dori's Top 5 ways to Beat the Heat of the Hot Flash
5. Move your body - dance it out, walk with a friend, play tag with your kids, lift weights, join a team, so many options. Having a regular movement habit helps improve and control your internal thermoregulatory and circulatory system which improves your innate ability to dissipate heat. Also helps with mood, metabolism, cognitive function, sleep, bone health, cardiovascular health and more.
4. Lose the Booze. And Sugar - I'm so sorry friends, but these tasty treats have a huge impact on sleep, hot flashes and unnecessary weight gain. Alcohol speeds up your heart rate, widens your blood vessels - letting in more blood, thereby increasing the likelihood you will feel warm and flushed. Both also impact your liver's ability to process, and you need that liver in tip top shape to deal with the excess hormones, stress, pollution and everything else. Don't make it worse. If you need something to take the edge off, reach out. There are herbs and minerals that will support your nervous system without compromising your liver at the same time. Also, if you do drink - skip the wine. Clear spirits are preferable.
3. Herbs - So many good ones!
Motherwort is great when heat is accompanied by anxiety
Black Cohosh or Sage - when accompanied by night sweats
St John's Wort - when accompanied by depression
Valerian - when accompanied by poor sleep
Vitex - when accompanied by heavy or frequent menstrual cycles
Pycnogenol - when accompanied by concentration and memory loss.
Siberian Rhubarb for the classic Perimenopausal royal flush of hot flashes, night sweats, depression, anxiety and sleep disturbances
2. Flax - 2 tbsp ground Flax helps with hot flashes and constipation - yay fibre! Phytoestrogenic, anti-inflammatory and hormonally modulating. Great studies to support these benefits. Grind em and sprinkle them on salads, soups, yogurt, toast, pasta, whatever you're eating.
1. Acupuncture - the closest tool I have to magic. So helpful, and there's no homework, you just come in, lie down, get poked, chill out and go about your day.
Not a substitute for medical advice - it's always worth it to get individual recommendations, we're all unique and you deserve care tailored just for you!
Reach out if you have any questions - end the suffering!
Because you know what friends - we've got important shit to do, ain't got no time or space for hot flashes.