The Heat is On
While menopause creates many troublesome symptoms, none are quite as annoying as HOT FLASHES. I've heard many women describe them as power surges, a sudden burst of heat, hot flushes, and personal summer. They are extremely uncomfortable and often humiliating. Hot flashes and night sweats are a normal part of menopause. In fact, over 85% of women experience them and some as often as every hour. The research shows that they can last 6 months and even as long as 2 years.
The decrease of estrogen as women approach peri-menopause and menopause is one of the primary reasons for the heat surges and seems to create the most side effects with altered sleep patterns, irregular body temperature, and changing sex hormones.
Common Symptoms of Menopause
Poor memory and forgetfulness
Light or irregular menstrual cycle
Painful intercourse due to vaginal dryness
Thin facial wrinkles around eyes or lips
A leaky or overactive bladder
Stress & anxiety
Fatigue & Low Energy
Our Broken Medical Model
Women are faced with many options as they search for relief from these frustrating symptoms. Some of them can actually cause more harm than good. Studies have shown that the use of synthetic hormones increase the risk of breast cancer, heart disease, strokes, and dementia. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) may seem like an easy solution, but this type of treatment is not focusing on the root cause of the problem. It is a broken medical model that focuses largely on treating symptoms. We all want a quick fix, but quick fixes aren't sustainable. There has also been more interest in bio-identical hormones as a natural alternative. However, this type of treatment also focuses on external management, not an internal solution. True health is achieved by focusing on healing from the inside out. In fact, putting synthetic hormones into your body alters your normal hormone production and can lead to dependence for the rest of your life.
Natural Remedies for Menopause Relief
Menopause and hot flashes are a normal part of the aging process that won't last forever. Embrace it and follow these natural ways to make this stage of your life more comfortable.
1. Maca Root
Maca is a root vegetable similar to a turnip. Maca has gained a reputation for helping balance hormones and reducing the symptoms associated with menopause. Maca has been shown to be beneficial for all sorts of hormonal problems especially PMS, menopause, hot flashes, and hypothyroidism. Maca is also a fertility enhancer and is best known for improving libido and sexual function in both men and women. It is an endocrine adaptogen, meaning that it does not contain any hormones, but rather it contains the nutrients necessary to support normal hormone production. Maca is considered to be a "superfood" because it is so nutritionally dense. It is also shown to boost energy, improve mood, and improve fertility. Maca has an abundance of benefits for men and women. I recommend taking 1,000 to 2,000 mg per day. This is the brand I use and recommend.
2. Essential Oils
Essential Oils have been used throughout history in many cultures for their medicinal and therapeutic benefits. Essential oils have powerful, plant-based intelligence that seek out imbalance in the body to support health. I have become very passionate about sharing essential oils with my patients, family, and friends and I use them in my everyday life. I now live the essential oil lifestyle which means I turn to essential oils FIRST to support my health. So, naturally, I recommend the use of essential oils to help balance hormones and help control the symptoms associated with menopause. The most effective oils for hot flashes, hormone balance, and other menopausal symtpoms are as follows...
Clary Sage - promotes hormone balance, aids in estrogen balance, and eases hot flashes & night sweats
Geranium - aids in increasing libido, helps ease agitation, improves hormone balance
Ylang Ylang - aphrodisiac, increases sexual energy, aids in stress reduction, uplifts & balances mood
Peppermint - cooling effect on hot flashes, combats fatigue, promotes alertness, invigorating & stimulating
The essential oil blend I recommend more than any other for hormonal health is our HORMONE BALANCE Blend. It is a blend of oils specifically formulated to help manage the physical and emotional symptoms of menopause and other hormonal issues. This blend is especially helpful for relieving HOT FLASHES, easing cramps, nausea, fatigue, and emotional swings associated with PMS and menopause.
3. Eat This, Not That
Our body cannot produce hormones correctly or maintain hormonal balance without the proper nutrients. Certain foods can cause unpredictable, critical imbalances and thus create more intense menopausal symptoms.
Eliminate harmful, inflammatory, hormone dysregulating foods such as sugar, grains (including gluten), dairy, processed foods, alcohol, caffeine, and artificial sweeteners. I would also recommend specifically avoiding chocolate, red wine, fried foods, and spicy foods as they are considered to be triggers for hot flashes.
Enjoy healing, whole, real, fresh foods such as high quality protein, fresh organic vegetables and fruit, and healthy fats. Healthy fats are critical for proper hormone balance and are often the missing link for finding balance - coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds, grass fed beef, grass fed butter, whole eggs, and ghee.
4. Avoid Triggers
Certain foods, activities, and lifestyle choices increase our chances of having hot flashes. Be sure to avoid these.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is an age-old natural remedy that helps virtually any health concern. It has all sorts of benefits including balancing PH levels and alkalizing the body, lowering blood sugar, supporting weight loss, improving immune functions, and inhibiting bacteria. It has helped women for years diminish hot flashes in as little as 24-48 hours. I recommend an organic, unfiltered, raw apple cider vinegar that includes the "mother" which contains the friendly bacteria and beneficial probiotics. The brand I recommend is Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar. To help ease hot flashes follow this daily regime.
1. Dilute 2 tablespoons of ACV in a glass of water
2. Drink twice daily on an empty stomach until symptoms subside
A new study suggests that acupuncture may help reduce the severity and frequency of hot flashes among menopausal women. The study reviewed women after 10 acupunture treatments over 12 weeks. The conclusion of the study found that hot flashes and night sweats were reduced by over a third and the benefits lasted for at least 6 months. The women in the study also reported that they slept better and had less pain. Evidence has shown many healing effects of acupuncture on the endocrine system including improving hormone balance and encouraging the healthy release of cortisol, endorphins, and serotonin.
A small study revealed that women who were having 4 or more moderate to severe hot flashes per day found that learning 8 restorative yoga poses and taking a weekly yoga class for 8 weeks significantly decreased the frequency and intensity of hot flashes. Yoga offers many benefits including stress reduction, breathing disciplines, improving flexibility, and deeper relaxation.
Other forms of exercise performed on a regular basis such as resitance training, high intensity interval training (HIIT) , and cardiovascular exercises have also been researched and shown to reduce hot flashes significantly. The women in each study also reported a greater sense of well being and overall better physical and mental health.
8. Balance Your Other Hormones
The severity and length of menopausal symptoms can be greatly worsened with improper hormone management of other critical hormones such as cortisol, progesterone, thyroid, and testosterone. Hormone imbalances are as a result of how we eat, lack of exercise or the wrong kind of exercise, environmental toxins called endocrine disruptors, lack of nutrients in our food, not enough sleep, and too much stress! Hormone balance is our fountain of youth. Good balance and quantity of hormones translates into energy, weight control, sexual vigor, youthful appearance, stable mood, glowing skin, self confidence, and an overall sense of vibrancy. When our hormones are out of balance, they can wreak total havoc on your health. Why is it so hard for women over 40 to lose weight?
The single most important (and most often overlooked) factor to losing weight when you are near the age of 40 is imbalanced HORMONES! There are certain hormones, that if out of balance, make losing weight impossible. The most common hormone imbalances that prevent women from losing weight and accumulating belly fat are with estrogen, thyroid hormones, and cortisol. If one, or all of these 3, are out of balance, it puts the brakes on your metabolic engine and it doesn't matter how little you eat or how much you exercise, the scale won't move. The secret to weight loss is hormonal harmony. The number one way to know if you have a hormone imbalance is if you have unexplained weight gain. 99% of persistent, unexplained weight gain is hormonal, and most women don't connect the dots. Hormones control every aspect of how we gain and lose weight. Read More here to learn how to turn off those fat-storing hormones.
Don't Get Discouraged
As difficult as it is to imagine while you are in the midst of you own person heat wave, this too shall pass!