Hot flashes in menopause-is there a solution? Menopause and perimenopause involve a variety of symptoms including: anxiety, foggy memory, insomnia, weight gain, vaginal dryness, and hot flashes. Often the most disturbing symptoms is hot flashes. Did you know that 60-80% of women who are perimenopausal and menopausal experience hot flashes, frequently accompanied by sweating?
In North America, the average age of menopause is 51. Menopause is marked by the cessation of ovulation and menstruation, increased Follicular Stimulating Hormone (FSH) levels, and decreasing levels of estradiol and progesterone.
What Causes Hot Flashes?
Although the exact biological mechanism of hot flushes is unknown and the theories are evolving, (there are multiple influences, including neurotransmitter imbalances like serotonin and leptin), perimenopausal and menopausal hot flashes are most commonly related to fluctuating estradiol levels. The erratic secretion of estradiol, and ultimately low estradiol levels, combined with extremely low progesterone, signals the brain’s temperature control area, causing rapid elevations in body temperature and dilation of blood vessels…the hot flash.
Non-Hormone Treatment Options for Hot Flashes
Naturopathic medicine offers a number of helpful treatments for hot flashes involving the use of diet, acupuncture, orthomolecular treatment (vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants), and botanical medicines to manage hot flashes.
- eat real food, avoid refined and highly processed foods
- consume 5-7 servings of vegetables daily, including cruciferous (cabbage-family) vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, bok choy, and Brussels sprouts; this ensures adequate dietary fibre to support elimination of toxins and estrogen metabolism products
- soy isoflavones and other phytoestrogens have been shown to be helpful, and can be found in non-GMO organic soy products, flaxseed, pomegranates, yams, and oats
- avoid excess consumption of inflammatory foods like nightshades (tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, potatoes), any foods that you know you are sensitive to (e.g. gluten) as these tend to exacerbate existing symptoms
- folate 1mg daily has been shown to decrease severity, duration, and frequency of menopausal hot flashes
- magnesium 800mg daily supports the increased need for this mineral during menopause and has promising research in the area of hot flashes
- vitamin E 400 IU daily can support an 10-50 fold increase in vitamin E need during perimenopause and menopause, and decrease hot flashes
- glycine & B6 support serotonin which has implications in hot flashes
- Trifolium pretense (red clover) – contains phytoestrogens similar that can help decrease the dramatic drop in estrogen
- Actea racemosa (black cohosh) – supports estrogen levels and decreases inflammation
- Lepidium meyenii (maca) – supports the adrenal glands and attempts to stabilize estrogen levels, minimizing the erratic fluctuations of estrogen d
- Salvia officinalis (sage) –can decrease sweating associated with hot flashes
Research in the area of menopause and hot flash support continues to grow, offering new ways to naturally support the body. My practice focuses on healthy aging and I treat many women who are currently dealing with menopause and want to learn more about optimizing hormone function. I’d love to treat you and together work to find treatment options that work best for you and your health.
Hi, I’m Dr. Jenny Schmidt-White. My practice focuses on family health and wellness, healthy aging for men and women and optimizing fertility & hormone function. I work with you, within realistic and sustainable parameters, to find the root cause of dysfunction in your body and address it.