I see many of "HOT MAMMA's" in my practice. Out of every and any concern menopausal women have, hot flashes are hands down the most disruptive to their everyday life and sleep. Some women get them every hour, on the hour! Resolving them is the one thing that might even cause them to hand over a winning lotto ticket to charity... well, only maybe.
Now that you are reading, might I just start with saying that menopause is a natural transition in the female human body. You are not being taken over by body snatchers or the like. And you are not going crazy just because you have not slept well and are unable to focus/remember things. You are however, going through a life change, not unlike puberty but this time the hormones are in reverse. Just like puberty, expect and look forward to becoming a new person on the other side.
That said... it doesn't make it any easier to suffer hot flashes that impact your sleep does it? These are two of the the strategies I routinely recommend to my patients suffering from pesky hot-flashes and other symptoms to help with their transition into what Dr. Christiane Northrup prefers to call "The Wisdom Years".
One of the easiest things to do is increase foods that are high in "phyto-estrogens" (plant estrogens). They act as weak estrogens in the female body - with only a fraction of the potency of your own estrogens. So they can work to increase or decrease effects of your natural estrogen as needed. When your levels are too high, they sit in the estrogen-receptor sites taking up space. When they are too low, they lightly trigger the receptors and mimic estrogen. By eating plant estrogens, you can gently and temporarily increase the triggering of estrogen receptors in your body. Doing so for the peri-menopausal transition means that you give yourself a short break from the hot flashes, and your body is also afforded the opportunity to cope and adapt.
Some foods rich in plant estrogens include: beans and legumes (especially soy), chickpeas, split peas, peanuts, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, apricots, kale, broccoli, cucumbers, tomatoes.
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Clinically, I have two go-to botanicals for hot flashes:
While high-level clinical research on the mechanism by which these lovely plants help reduce hot flashes is still being done, leading theory is that both of them also work to mimic estrogen just like the phyto-estrogens above. However, in supplement form, the dosage can be administered higher and more conveniently, thanks to standardized active ingredient content.
The safety and efficacy of each has been proven in enough research to lift most cautionary concern for naturopathic physicians to prescribe, with some notable exceptions. See your naturopathic doctor, medical doctor, or pharmacist before taking it to ensure it is right for you, receive correct dosing instructions, and a recommended product/brand. (Natural Health Products are still in the process of being standardized, and formulations still vary widely.)
Do you have any home-remedies for hot flashes you'd like to share? Have you leveraged the power of plant estrogens to help with menopause symptoms? How so? Or maybe there is another question about menopause besides the hot flashes you'd like me to address? Please share your thoughts/ideas in the comments below... you never know when your comment might end up helping someone else!
As always, thank you for your kind attention and readership! I know in this fast paced world reading all the way to the end of an article is a rare thing. :) You have my full appreciation for doing so and I look forward to continuing to learn together.
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