Hot flashes usually indicate a change in hormones. A hot flash is a sudden feeling of intense heat that comes on for no apparent reason. It will generally last less than a minute but depending on severity can be very uncomfortable and sometimes alarming. Hot flashes can produce mild flushing to intense sweating and may disrupt sleep. Hot flashes are usually a telltale sign of approaching menopause (the cessation of menstrual periods) or other hormonal flux.
The most common causes of hot flashes are:
Menstrual periods – the ebbs and flows of estrogen and progesterone during a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle can bring on hot flashes. Typically, we see hot flashes when estrogen is at its lowest point, just before the period starts but sometimes mid-cycle at ovulation, too. Hot flashes of this type generally present in a woman’s mid-to late 30’s, when hormones drop a bit and are less resilient to normal monthly fluctuations. Naturopathic natural remedies help buffer these highs and lows, strengthening a women’s natural hormones and resolving hot flashes.
Menopause and andropause (male version of menopause) can produce hot flashes when estrogen levels in women and testosterone levels in men decline. These hot flashes affect some women and men more than others and can vary widely in how long hot flashes continue to pester, from a month or two to a few years, as the body adjusts into its lower hormone state. We help patients cope by supporting them through this transition with natural medicine.
Perimenopause – as the ovaries head towards retirement in the years just before menopause, ovulation and periods often become more irregular, estrogen levels ping pong around, and women may feel like teenagers all over again hormonally. This is a time when hot flashes can appear for the first time or become more unpleasant. Fortunately, Naturopathy can help.
Adrenal imbalances – stress often exacerbates, if not causes hot flashes. This cause often gets missed when women come in having tried every estrogen support they can think of but because of stress, actually need adrenal balancing to their reduce hot flashes. Careful testing and monitoring of adrenal cortisol levels can often be the key to successful treatment of hot flashes.
Thyroid disease and imbalances – when the thyroid, a gland that regulates metabolism and body temperature, gets out of balance hot flashes can result. Thyroid disease or imbalances can also affect ovarian hormone production and exacerbate hot flashes during menopause or other low hormone states. As Naturopaths, we aim to improve endocrine function, balancing adrenal, thyroid and ovarian/testicular function individually and as they relate to each other.
Dr. Baker and Dr. Livengood are specialists in hormones and women’s health. They help rebalance hormone systems to give lasting relief from hot flashes through the use of herbs, nutrition, stress management, and when necessary bioidentical hormones. We invite you to give it a try, and regain lasting cool comfort.