I’m surveying women for specific female health problems they can’t find answer to as a supplement to Rethinking Women’s Health. Hot Flashes are one troublesome condition that is frustrating women everywhere.
Why am I Sweating?
Hot flashes are the most common symptom of perimenopause and menopause. Women can experience hot flashes for years or even decades after their final menstrual period. For some women, hot flashes begin before their last period. Let’s look at the latest summaries.
“…Updated clinical guidelines put the average amount of time during which a woman experiences hot flashes between 5 and 13 years.1 But, new research shows that, for a sizeable minority of women, their hot flashes can endure well into their 60s and 70s, decades after the menopause transition.” Read More
What Causes Hot Flashes?
For such a common symptom, very little is known about the physiology of chemistry underlying hot flashes.
Though it's long been believed that the drop in hormone levels that accompanies menopause contributes to hot flashes, experts say relatively little is known about what actually causes them, or what's occurring when women have one. Read More
What does not Cause Hot Flashes?
Recently, new studies have dispelled several common myths about what causes hot flashes.
Findings from SWAN (Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation ) and other studies have challenged several oft-repeated theories about hot flashes. For one, the idea that obesity protects against hot flashes because it is associated with higher estrogen levels. Instead, SWAN’s results showed that women who have more fat tissue (adipose tissue), especially underneath the abdominal wall, have the earliest, most severe, and longest-lasting hot flashes. The belief that women of Chinese and Japanese descent had less-troublesome hot flashes because of their long-term consumption of soy products was also not born out in the SWAN study. These findings signal the need for more research.
Other widespread beliefs about hot flashes that were dispelled by SWAN include the impact of certain foods, activities, and supplements. Consumption of dietary fat, caffeine, and alcohol were not found to promote hot flashes. Nor did robust physical activity help decrease them. Likewise, the use of vitamins and plant extracts (especially soy products like genistein) was not found to have a positive impact on hot flashes in this study group.
What Improves Hot Flashes?
Hormone Replacement therapy was the recommended goto for hot flash relief, but unwanted side-effects and the fact that they aren’t effective for everyone spawned research on alternatives. Here are some effective finds.
Flax Seed - “Just a little over 1 ounce/day may tame those troubling transient temperature rises.” Read More
Drastically Cut Sugar and Alcohol - “Some women turn to natural alternatives like maca to help stabilize hormones. While helpful, these alternatives are frequently not enough to alleviate bothersome symptoms.” Read More
BioIdentical Estrogen - “Bioidentical progesterone is entirely different biochemically from the synthetic progesterone found in most conventional hormone replacement regimens and in birth control pills. It has far fewer side effects compared to the synthetic varieties.” Read More
Balance Hormones - “Certain nutrients have been shown to help with PMS symptoms by improving metabolic function and hormone metabolism.” Read More