What are Hot Flashes?
Hot flashes are just one of many symptoms that can occur in perimenopause or menopause. There is an intricate pathway of hormones that come into play with regards to balancing hormones. Once key thing to remember is the role that the adrenal glands play in keeping our hormones balanced and supporting us in being symptoms free.
When we enter into our mid 40’s (or earlier for some women with premature ovarian failure), our adrenal glands begin to take a front seat to our hormone health. The adrenal glands are our “fight or flight” hormone producing glands. They produce the hormones that respond to panic, or keep up awake for long hours for those working in emergency setting. The adrenal glands also regulate blood pressure, blood sugar, and produce sex hormones. So if you are in a continuous state of stress, we can notice symptoms in all of these areas. High blood pressure or low blood pressure. Shakiness when we don’t eat regularly. Increased feelings of stress and overwhelm. And all of the symptoms of hormone imbalance. Hot flashes, insomnia, low sex drive and weight gain, just to name a few.
What can you do?
If you feel that stress is a culprit for your hot flashes, consider the following actions:
- Try and stick to a regular schedule for meals, exercise and sleep. Bedtime by 10pm is ideal. Keep your workout light. Exercise exhaustion puts further stress on the adrenal if you are not conditioned properly.
- Eat protein with each meal. Protein stabilizes blood sugar and keeps you from feeling shaky, and reaching for foods that are less than healthy.
- Try a B complex. Most people tolerate a B complex very well. Please take with food as it will cause nausea without food. It will also turn the urine bright yellow. This is completely normal.
- Pick 30 min a day to deal with the most stressful things on your list or in the news. 60 minutes might be more realistic for some, but let yourself really feel what you are feeling every day. I recommend the same for people who are grieving a loss. These feelings are much the same right now for most of us.
- Limit caffeine intake. If you have caffeine, have it with food and choose organic. Coffee and tea are very heavily sprayed and can be considered endocrine disruptors.
- Seed rotation. This is pretty old school Naturopathic Medicine, but it works! From the new moon to the full moon, incorporate ground flax and pumpkin seeds in your diet. From the full moon to the new moon, do the same with sunflower and sesame seeds. Nut butters work too. These combinations boost estrogen and progesterone, respectively.
Cathryn Coe, ND is a licensed Naturopathic Physician and owner of Edgemont Naturopathic Clinic.