What is the deal with hot flashes? One minute you are comfortable in your own skin and the next you are a raging inferno. I remember when my mom suffered with them as she was going through menopause. I would find her laying on her bed, in her underwear, with the fan on, trying to get some relief. I am going to be honest, that was a slightly disturbing sight to see when I was a little girl. Whether you are approaching menopause, in menopause or of child bearing age, when estrogen production becomes erratic, hot flashes are a common occurrence. There are a variety of reasons why estrogen production may be fluctuating.
Keep in mind that estrogen levels do change throughout a normal menstrual cycle. That does not mean that hot flashes should be expected. The levels of estrogen should follow repeatable pattern every 28 to 35 days. If your cycles are not consistent, and or you become flushed and overheated spontaneously, your body is communicating that it is struggling to maintain proper thermoregulation. A little more investigation to understand how to help the body restore homeostatic function is warranted.
Women believe they are in perimenopause because of these symptoms. Their body may be prematurely entering menopause because they have had a history of irregular or painful menses. When proper hormone regulation is realized hot flashes will significantly diminish or most often just go away, even in menopause. Menopausal women still can produce estradiol, the most potent form of estrogen important for ovulation, even though they are no longer fertile. Estrone is another form of estrogen that is more associated with menopause that female bodies produce. Either form of estrogen will help to maintain bone density, heart health, reduce brain fog, alleviate vaginal dryness as well as thermoregulation.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can be very helpful to reduce unwanted symptoms of hormone dysregulation, as long as it is well monitored. What I have found with many clients is that the estrogen levels on HRT can be too high. The same is true with other reproductive hormones, namely progesterone and testosterone. What seems to work well for most people is to supplement with a topical cream, or a precursor hormone like DHEA or pregnenolone for a period of time and then taper off as the body begins to regulate these hormones as designed. Adaptogenic herbs such as ashwaghanda can be helpful as well. The important part in all of this is to have good lab data on which to design an appropriate supplement protocol. Excessive and prolonged stress is a significant factor in promoting hormone dysregulation. Cortisol is the most common stress hormone discussed online and in the literature. Cortisol is very important for energy regulation and helps us adapted to unpredicatalbe situations that we face every day. It is critical for our survival. But when stress becomes unmanageable, our bodies begin to struggle to restore balance. These symptoms should be sending us a clue to examine what to change in our habits and behavior.
Think about the last time you or someone you know experienced hot flashes. Was there anything stressful that you or they were facing at the time? A move, a difficult relationship, a significant loss, a career change etc.? Often when clients take time to reflect, they begin to see how situations in their life are connected to physical symptoms. These negative symptoms are the body’s way to communicate that we need to address something in our life that is out of balance. It could be nutrition, sleep, exercise as well as acknowledging what is bothering us. Journaling can be a tremendous tool to help discern what we can do or cannot do about a situation that may be bothersome to us. Learning to let go of a situation that we are trying to control where we do not have any control can be very liberating and will allow our bodies to relax. This takes practice and involves a series of steps that are not very intuitive without guidance. This is a lifelong process for all of us. I had to let go of control of a situation recently. It was challenging but when I embraced letting go, I felt peace and calm. My sleep returned to normal and I was able to feel more positive and hopeful. This is a process that took time. Patience is paramount.
If you are experiencing hot flashes or other hormone imbalance, let the nourishing roots team help outline a plan for you to get your hormones back in balance. You and your body can become friends again. Go to the forms tab on the nourishingrootsgj.com website and fill out your health history and upload your most recent lab work. You will be contacted to schedule your free initial consultation.