Why Do They Happen
Although women who had hysterectomies were scientifically found to have a higher risk of suffering from hot flashes, the exact cause has not been identified. It is most likely due to an interrupted blood supply to the ovaries.
Hot flashes after hysterectomy can also be due to the fact that women are entering menopause around the time of the procedure. A disturbed blood supply may be the reason why they are entering menopause sooner than they naturally would as well.
What Can I Do About Hot Flashes
Hot flashes occur from a decrease in estrogen levels. In response to this, your glands release higher amounts of other hormones that affect the brain’s thermostat, causing your body temperature to fluctuate. Hormone therapy has been shown to relieve some of the discomfort of hot flashes for many women. However, the decision to start using these hormones should be made only after you and your healthcare provider have evaluated your risk versus benefit ratio.
To learn more about women’s health, and specifically hormone therapy, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health launched the Women’s Health Initiative in 1991. The hormone trial had 2 studies: the estrogen-plus-progestin study of women with a uterus and the estrogen-alone study of women without a uterus. Both studies ended early when the research showed that hormone therapy did not help prevent heart disease and it increased risk for some medical problems. Follow-up studies found an increased risk of heart disease in women who took estrogen-plus-progestin therapy, especially those who started hormone therapy more than 10 years after menopause.
The WHI recommends that women follow the FDA advice on hormone therapy. It states that hormone therapy should not be taken to prevent heart disease.
Practical suggestions for coping with hot flashes include:
How Long Do Hot Flashes Last
Hot flashes often come on suddenly, but how long any single hot flash lasts will vary. Some hot flashes pass after a few seconds, while a long hot flash may go on for more than 10 minutes. On average, hot flashes last about four minutes.
The frequency of hot flashes also varies. Some women experience a few hot flashes per week, while others may have several an hour. Depending where you are in perimenopause, that can change. There are a range of treatments and lifestyle changes that may help lessen the symptoms and frequency of your hot flashes.
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Common Treatments That May Not Relieve Menopause Symptoms
Although several nonhormonal treatments for menopause are often recommended, there is not enough evidence from clinical studies to recommend them. These include lifestyle changes like getting more exercise or practicing yoga, deep breathing, or relaxation techniques. Nor, despite scores of studies, is there convincing evidence that widely used herbal remedies like black cohosh, dong quai, ginseng, and wild yam are effective, either.
Protein Fights Hot Flashes
Hot flash-fighting snacks
- Cauliflower, and celery sticks dipped in Creamy Tofu-Garlic Dip
- Old-fashioned oatmeal with ground flax seeds and soy milk
- Soy milk smoothie, blended with ice and dark-colored berries
- Chamomile tea, iced
Protein is one of the most important raw materials required to make and balance hormones. You want to get enough but not too much. Seafood, especially wild-caught, and organic/grass-fed meats, eggs and yogurt are good sources of animal protein and healthy fats.
Great plant-based proteins include nuts and nut butters, freshly-ground flax seeds, lentils and other legumes like peas, beans and peanuts. We like plant choices because they provide more than protein. They also deliver healthy fats, lots of fiber, and the phytochemicals needed to synthesize, metabolize, and balance your hormones.
Other options to consider for hot flash prevention and reduction are whole, non-GMO soy foods. Soy foods meet your needs for protein intake and offer isoflavones that are beneficial for women in menopause. Soy-based foods are not for everyone, but when it comes to cooling down vasomotor symptoms like hot flashes, soy is a menopause superfood.
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Oxybutynin Reduces The Muscle Spasms That Cause Sweating
Oxybutynin is not a new drug. The medication has actually been around since the 1970s and was traditionally used to treat bladder incontinence.
We have known for many years from observational reports that it seems to reduce sweating but this is the first study which evaluated this claim in a prospective clinical trial, Dr. Steve Vasilev, a gynecologic oncologist and medical director of Integrative Gynecologic Oncology at John Wayne Cancer Institute at Providence Saint Johns Health Center, said.
Although doctors do not completely understand what causes hot flashes, they may be related to blood vessels near the skin spasming and then widening in an unregulated way. This causes higher blood flow at the skin and, therefore, heat and sweating, according to Vasilev.
Oxybutynin is an anti-cholinergic agent, which helps inhibit neurotransmitters in the brain. It works by reducing these spasms in the muscle cells that are located within the blood vessels, which ultimately reduces sweating.
Treatment For Hot Flashes After Hysterectomy
Since many women who undergo a hysterectomy may be passing through perimenopause around the same time, treating the hormonal imbalance at fault for hot flashes and other symptoms will bring them ultimate, long-lasting relief. As such, leading a healthy lifestyle in addition to alternative medicine is the most effective treatments for hot flashes.
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Natural Solutions For Dryness
At menopause, vaginal blood flow falls. Dryness and irritation can occur, and bacteria infections that pass to the urinary tract are more likely.
What is to be done? First of all, even after the ovaries stop, the adrenal glands and the fat tissue continue to contribute to estrogen production after menopause. In addition, phytoestrogens in plants provide weak estrogen effects. Soy products, such as tofu, tempeh, and miso, contain huge amounts of these natural compounds.
The plant-derived estrogen and progesterone creams described above can be helpful. Used on a regular basis, these creams maintain a moist vaginal lining. However, please note that they should not be used as a sexual lubricant. Estrogen cream is a medication, not a lubricant, and it goes through any skin it touches, including mens. Many women prefer to avoid hormone creams entirely and use ordinary lubricants or moisturizers instead.
Hot Flashes: What Can I Do
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Hot flashes, a common symptom of the , are uncomfortable and can last for many years. When they happen at night, hot flashes are called night sweats. Some women find that hot flashes interrupt their daily lives. Research has shown that there can be different patterns of when women first experience hot flashes and for how long, and that African American and Hispanic women have hot flashes for more years than white and Asian women.
You may decide you don’t need to change your lifestyle or investigate treatment options because your symptoms are mild. But, if you are bothered by hot flashes, there are some steps you can take. Try to take note of what triggers your hot flashes and how much they bother you. This can help you make better decisions about managing your symptoms.
What Does A Hot Flush Feel Like
Imagine youre getting on a packed central line tube in the London underground during peak time in August. And youre wearing a jumper.
Thats a reasonable description, right? But instead of this heat coming from other commuter bodies rubbing against you, it comes from inside your body, like the heartburn man in the Gaviscon ad. The heat can come from anywhere: your head, torso, or even the back of your knees . Some women say it feels like being sandwiched inside a sunbed. If youre one of the lucky ones, it will be mild discomfort for a few minutes. But for the unlucky 10-15% of women, they have symptoms so severe it disrupts their daily lives.
Soy Foods And Soy Extracts
In Asian countries where soy is a dietary staple, women tend to have fewer hot flashes than women in the United States. But while some studies found evidence that soy foods help reduce hot flashes during menopause, others have shown no benefits at all.
A soy derivative called S-equol is currently being studied for women who do not have the ability to metabolize some of the compounds found in soy protein, but the panel says additional research is needed to determine whether the supplement is effective.
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Dont Eat These Hot Flash Trigger Foods
If your current diet is high in white sugar, white bread, pasta, or processed foods you may inadvertently be fueling more hot flashes and night sweats. Leave those foods on the shelf, at least for now.
Other hot flash trigger foods to avoid include:
- Caffeinated drinks
- Fried foods
- Spicy dishes
When it comes to preventing hot flashes and night sweats, its really important to know how different foods affect your body. Everyones different and certain foods may set off the chain of events that end in a blazing hot flash.
For a few weeks, you can keep a journal of what and when you eat and drink, and how you feel afterward. If you notice a connection between a certain food and your hot flashes take it out of rotation temporarily.
The Psychology Of Menopause
Hormone shifts can affect moods. It can be disturbing to find yourself feeling uncharacteristically nervous or depressed or having memory lapses. Sometimes these feelings can even strain your relationships with others. It helps to know that the psychological effects of menopause are temporary. In all likelihood, youll soon get back on an even keel. Here are the most common psychological accompaniments of menopause.
Anxiety. Women who have never had a problem with anxiety before may become more self-conscious and worried about minor events. In some cases, panic attacks occur. Mental health professionals have a variety of effective treatments. Many people feel much better just knowing what the condition is. The most important piece of advice is not to let anxiety restrict your activities. When anxiety or panic disorders cause people to avoid stressful situations, the result can be an ever-tightening leash that keeps them from enjoying life. Anxiety can lead to avoidance of many aspects of normal life. Prompt treatment prevents this.
Poor Memory and Concentration. Some women find that menopause brings occasional memory lapses, often related to reduced ability to concentrate. This can be upsetting and annoying, but fortunately it seems to go away on its own with time.
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What Alternative Treatments For Menopause Have Been Scientifically Studied
The alternative treatments for menopause that have been studied in well-designed trials include phytoestrogens , black cohosh, and vitamin E.
Isoflavones are chemical compounds found in soy and other plants that are phytoestrogens, or plant-derived estrogens. Red clover is another source of isoflavones that has been used by some women in an attempt to relieve hot flashes. Isoflavones have a chemical structure that is similar to the estrogens naturally produced by the body, but their effectiveness as an estrogen has been estimated to be much lower than true estrogens.
There is a perception among many women that plant estrogens are “natural” remedies and therefore safer than HT, but their safety has never been proven scientifically. Further research is needed to fully characterize the safety and potential risks of phytoestrogens.
Some women report that vitamin E supplements can provide relief from mild hot flashes, but scientific studies are lacking to prove the effectiveness of vitamin E in relieving hot flashes. Taking a dosage greater than 400 international units of Vitamin E may not be safe, since some studies have suggested that greater dosages may be associated with cardiovascular disease risk.
Other alternative therapies
Herbal Supplements For Hot Flashes
Again, we remind you to talk with your doctor before adding new substances to your diet. Some herbs can have negative health impacts or interact with medications, so have a frank and full conversation with your doc before introducing new things.
Additionally, supplements, herbs, compounded drugs, etc., are not generally regulated by the FDA, so its not always possible to know what youre getting.
One thing you might do is work with a Naturopathic Doctor to be sure youre taking the right things in the right amounts in the correct way, and that your treatments are coming from a reputable source.
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What Do Hot Flashes Feel Like
Hot flashes tend to come on suddenly and involve a number of distressing and uncomfortable symptoms:
- Sudden warmth of face, neck, and chest
- Flushed skin, sometimes blotchy
- Sometimes followed by a chill
If its not enough to have these unpleasant mini sauna sessions during the day, they are often accompanied by night sweats that wake you from a pleasant slumber. This can lead to insomnia, sleep deprivation, and feelings of hopelessness and depression.
How Are Hot Flashes Usually Treated
Traditionally, hot flashes have been treated with oral or transdermal forms of estrogen. Hormone therapy , also referred to as hormone replacement therapy or postmenopausal hormone therapy , consists of estrogens or a combination of estrogens and progesterone . Oral and transdermal estrogen are available as estrogen alone or estrogen combined with progesterone. Whether oral or transdermal, all available prescription estrogen replacement medications are effective in reducing hot flash frequency and severity.
However, long-term studies of women receiving oral preparations of combined hormone therapy with both estrogen and progesterone were halted when it was discovered that these women had an increased risk for heart attack, stroke, and breast cancer when compared with women who did not receive HT. Later studies of women taking estrogen therapy alone showed that estrogen was associated with an increased risk for stroke, but not for heart attack or breast cancer. Estrogen therapy alone, however, is associated with an increased risk of developing endometrial cancer in postmenopausal women who have not had their uterus surgically removed.
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Hrt Withdrawal Dont Quit Cold Turkey
Many women are so motivated to stop HRT that they quit overnight, which is very stressful for the body. Thats because it has grown dependent on this external supply of synthetic hormones. Your body had the ability to make its own hormones right through perimenopause and menopause but when you began HRT it cut back its production. But heres a little-known detail about your sex hormones: your body can naturally resume its production of estrogen, testosterone and progesterone, even developing secondary hormone production sites to compensate for the decline in hormones from your ovaries. Its just that your body needs time and support to develop those sites.
In addition, we believe the stronger estrogen replacement therapy drugs, such as Premarin and Prempro, actually alter the estrogen receptors in your cells so they only recognize the synthetic hormone forms. It takes time for those receptors to resume their original form and accept natural hormones, whether its your bodys own hormones, bioidentical HRT supplements, or plant-based hormonal support in the form of phytotherapy.
Keep this rule in mind: the more severe your original symptoms, the stronger your HRT prescription, and the longer you used that therapy, the more likely it is that you will have symptoms of HRT withdrawal when you quit.
Managing Menopause Without Hormones
Although hormone replacement may improve many menopausal symptoms, it is not safe for every woman. Hormone replacement therapy is usually not prescribed to women in the following categories:
- diagnosed with breast, or other hormone-sensitive cancers
- history of blood clots or clotting disorder
- age 60 or older
For women who cannot, or choose not to take hormone replacement, there are nonhormonal options for treating many menopause symptoms. Importantly, in some women, menopausal symptoms may decrease naturally over time. It is important to speak with your doctor and consider referral to a menopause expert to manage persistent symptoms.
Dealing With Side Effects
How To Deal With Stubborn Rebound Symptoms
After making exciting progress in the first few weeks of weaning off HRT, women may plateau and find themselves with stubborn symptoms that wont go away. They may jump to the conclusion that the lack of hormones and estrogen replacement is to blame and say, This isnt working. But in fact, the natural alternative to HRT is working its gradually healing the issues that created the conditions in the first place. And if you can find relief from common rebound symptoms, youll be able to complete the process of tapering down with targeted support.
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