What Are Hot Flashes
Hot flashes are also called as vasomotor symptoms. Sudden warmth spreads all over body followed by head ache or chest ache in a hot flush. Many perspire after a hot flush which usually lasts for several minutes. These are caused due to hormonal changes occurring in the body due to low level of estrogen. Hot flushes at times last for 10 years too. Hot flushes sometimes occur as night sweats which leads to difficulty in sleep patterns and tiredness during the day.
About 70% of women going through their menopause face hot flashes. This is often due to the estrogen imbalance in the body occurring during menopause.
Can Menopause Affect My Sex Drive
Yes, menopause can affect your sex drive but it doesnt mean your sex life is over.
Dealing with the physical and emotional symptoms of menopause can make you feel less sexual desire. The symptoms can also affect your sleep and lower your energy which might make you not so into sex. Vaginal dryness and decreased sensation can also feel like a turn-off. Its also normal to feel a range of emotions, including anxiety, sadness, or loss while going through menopause.
If you lose interest in sex during this time, itll probably come back when your symptoms stop.
A pretty common symptom that can affect your sexual desire is vaginal dryness, which can make sex uncomfortable or even painful.
For symptoms that affect your sex life, trying one or more of these things can help:
Use water- or silicone-based lube when you have sex. You can buy lube at most drugstores or online.
Give your yourself more time to feel aroused. Moisture from being aroused protects sensitive tissues.
Have sex and/or masturbate more often. This increases blood flow to your vagina, which helps keep your vaginal tissue healthy.
Some people may actually find that they want to have sex MORE after menopause, because they dont have to worry about getting pregnant. This may give you a sense of freedom to enjoy a renewed and exciting sex life.
Menopause is a natural biological process. And while it marks the end of your ability to get pregnant, it definitely doesnt have to be the end of your sexuality.
More Treatment Choices Will Help Personalize Menopause Treatment
Menopause is not like some other conditions, in which the protocol for treatment is fairly straightforward, says Dr. DeSapri. When deciding on the right therapy, there are many questions your provider will consider, which may include the following:
- What are the bothersome symptoms?
- What is your health history ?
- Did you have any children?
- Did you have preeclampsia during your pregnancy?
- Were you a smoker?
- What is your activity level?
Theres no single right answer when it comes to choosing the appropriate therapy for menopause symptoms, and thats another reason to be excited about having additional treatment options, she says.
If there are women for whom hormones are not appropriate, whether thats because of risk factors or due to personal choice, there are other choices, and hopefully there will continue to be more choices, such as some of the therapies detailed in this presentation, says DeSapri.
We do know from observational studies on women who have bothersome symptoms of menopause, if theyve experienced menopause within the last 10 years and are under age 60, that, in most cases, the benefits tend to outweigh the risks, she says.
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We Canvassed Readers For Their Tried And Tested Remedies For Hot Flashes And Got The Following Feedback
- “I have tried Hormone Power by Hippocrates, Bernadette Bohan sells it here in Ireland, I found it ok but not great, my sister, on the other hand, finds it great.” Marie
- “Black Cohosh worked really well but can only be taken for around 6 months as it can cause problems with the liver if long-term use. It is not available in the Republic of Ireland but you can get it up North.” Chris
- “I take Multi-Maca from Forever Living, I have been on it for 2 weeks and my flushes have dramatically reduced, my mood is much better, no anxiety, so that is my choice for the moment. This is available from my nutritionist.” Joanne
- “Sage is extremely good at balancing the heat within the body so it works on the flushes and sweats, I have a cup of sage tea regularly throughout the day. I also chew on a few Goji berries.” Robyn
- “I’m in the early stages of ‘my second spring’ and found when I’m very stressed the hot flushes come hot and heavy. A friend recommended a magnet made by Lady Care, it is said to reduce or alleviate hot flushes, palpitations, muscle tension and anxiety. It attaches to underwear and is non-invasive and I forget I’m wearing it! It definitely helps me . I bought it in Boots it cost about 35” Liz
- “My friend sleeps with baby wipes on her forehead.” Rosanna
- I find the best thing for the flushes is complaining. I complain loudly and no matter what’s wrong with anyone else I’m much worse. Makes me feel much better to complain!!” Eimer
My Second Spring E-book
Treatment Options For Menopause Symptoms
The Menopause Consultation Program at the Women’s Medical Collaborative was developed to help women understand what theyre experiencing, anticipate what they may feel, and try to manage their symptoms while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Our experts can help you choose the best of several options for relieving your hot flash symptoms:
- Hormones. These provide many women with relief and offer added benefits for bone health. But hormones are not for everyone. Some women prefer not to, while others cant due to certain medical conditions such as breast cancer or a history of blood clots.
- Antidepressants. Newer studies show that some commonly used antidepressants can provide effective relief.
- Non-medical treatments. We find that women who exercise and maintain a healthy weight have fewer problems with hot flashes. Relaxation exercises and meditation can also help.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy . This form of psychotherapy may be beneficial for some women.
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The Symptoms Of Menopause
There is no one single symptom thats commonly seen in all women as everyone has a different menopause experience. Some women have very few symptoms, while others have issues that affect their daily lives. Symptoms are usually the most troublesome during perimenopause and can include:
- Mild warm flashes or hot flashes with profuse sweating.
- Poor sleep quality.
- Anxiety, mild mood swings, flares of depression
- Brain fogginess.
- Body changes, including weight gain and
- Fat redistribution to the abdominal area, also known as the “menopouch, and vaginal dryness and pain with sex
- Certain changes should be monitored, including rapid loss of bone and the development of atherosclerotic plaques in vessels and coronary arteries.
Bioidentical Hormone Therapy For Hot Flashes
There has been increasing interest in recent years in the use of so-called “bioidentical” hormone therapy for perimenopausal women. Bioidentical hormone preparations are medications that contain hormones that have the same chemical formula as those made naturally in the body. The hormones are created in a laboratory by altering compounds derived from naturally-occurring plant products. Some of these so-called bioidentical hormone preparations are U.S. FDA-approved and manufactured by drug companies, while others are made at special pharmacies called compounding pharmacies, which make the preparations on a case-by-case basis for each patient. These individual preparations are not regulated by the FDA, because compounded products are not standardized.
Advocates of bioidentical hormone therapy argue that the products, applied as creams or gels, are absorbed into the body in their active form without the need for “first pass” metabolism in the liver, and that their use may avoid potentially dangerous side effects of synthetic hormones used in conventional hormone therapy. However, studies to establish the long-term safety and effectiveness of these products have not been carried out.
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What Happens After Menopause
During post-menopause the time after menopause your body is still producing hormones. As reproductive hormones, estrogen and progesterone decline once your childbearing years end. But that doesnt mean theyre not needed at all, so your body still makes them, just in lower amounts.
In the years of post-menopause, you may still experience symptoms of hormonal imbalance or maybe even have certain symptoms for the first time. For example, its not unusual to have continuing hot flashes as a result of estrogen deficiency. Some women in post-menopause experience vaginal dryness, which affects a womans interest in sex and can make sexual activity uncomfortable or even painful. The most common post-menopausal symptoms are:
- Hot flashes
- Bone loss and fracture
- Memory loss
If you experience postmenopausal bleeding no matter how slight or brief talk with your OB/GYN healthcare provider as soon as possible to rule out any serious issues.
How Can I Reduce My Perimenopause Or Menopause Symptoms
Effective natural options include phytotherapy, vitamins and minerals, and simple dietary and lifestyle adjustments that can provide relief by resolving the single root cause of all your symptoms. Certain herbs known as phytocrines share functional features with our hormones, allowing them to provide powerful symptom relief. Phytocrines also support your bodys ability to make and use its own hormones. These actions help alleviate your worst symptoms, but without side effects.
While certain herbs address specific symptoms, I always suggest using a multi-sourced botanical formula, as science suggests that a combination of herbs can restore hormonal balance under a variety of circumstances.
We understand that perimenopause and menopause can be scary times in a womans life. Symptoms can leave you exhausted, miserable and discouraged. But in working with many women over the years, weve found that when we have the information we need to be more resourceful we can overcome difficult situations.
And many women tell us that because they were prepared and knew what to expect, they can look back at perimenopause and menopause and think that wasnt nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be! It can be that way for you too. Please dont hesitate to give our Customer Support Team a call at 1-800-448-4919 to find out which herbal solution might work best for you.
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Buyer Beware: Unproven Nonscientific Treatments For Hot Flashes
You may have heard about black cohosh, DHEA, or soy isoflavones from friends who are using them to try to treat their hot flashes. These products are not proven to be effective, and some carry risks like liver damage.
Phytoestrogens are estrogen-like substances found in some cereals, vegetables, and legumes , and herbs. They might work in the body like a weak form of estrogen, but they have not been consistently shown to be effective in research studies, and their long-term safety is unclear.
At this time, it is unknown whether herbs or other “natural” products are helpful or safe. The benefits and risks are still being studied. Always talk with your doctor before taking any herb or supplement to treat your hot flashes or other menopausal symptoms.
Lifestyle Changes And Strategies For Managing Hot Flashes
Many people can manage their hot flashes at home with some strategies. It helps to know what triggers them first.
One way to figure out whats triggering your hot flashes is to keep a symptom journal. Take note of each incident, including which foods you ate before the hot flash.
A symptom journal can help you narrow down your hot flash triggers and determine which lifestyle changes to make to reduce your symptoms and prevent hot flashes. Your doctor can also use the journal to help make a diagnosis.
Lifestyle changes and strategies for managing hot flashes include:
- dressing in layers, even on the coldest days, so you can adjust your clothing to how youre feeling
- sipping ice water at the start of a hot flash
- keeping a fan on while you sleep
- lowering the room temperature
If beta-blockers, hyperthyroidism, or antithyroid medications are causing your hot flashes, there are medications you can use to relieve your symptoms. In extreme cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the malfunctioning areas of the thyroid gland.
Note that using some of these prescription drugs for hot flashes is considered off-label use.
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What Can You Do
Stay cool. At night, a “chill pillow” filled with water or other cooling material might help. Use fans during the day. Wear lightweight, looser-fitting clothes made with natural fibers such as cotton.
Try deep, slow abdominal breathing . Practice deep breathing for 15 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes in the evening, and when a hot flash starts.
Plant estrogens, found in soy products, may have weak estrogen-like effects that could cut hot flashes. Doctors recommend you get your soy from foods like tofu and edamame rather than supplements. Some studies suggest black cohosh may be helpful for 6 months or less. Botanicals and herbs may have side effects or change how other medications work, so ask your doctor first.
Other Causes For Hot Flashes
When someone experiences hot flashes, a doctor can tell with a simple blood test if the problem is related to menopause or due to some other reason. Menopause usually occurs in the 50s, so when someone much younger has hot flashes, physicians will often look for additional causes. Some of the most common ones include:
- Thyroid problems, such as hyperthyroidism, which causes an overabundance of thyroid hormone, can increase the bodys metabolism and lead to hot flashes and sweating. While hypothyroidism is the usual culprit in these cases, non-menopausal hot flashes can also be due to thyroid cancer.
- Food and drink, including spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol, can trigger hot flashes. While the symptoms appear after a meal or a few drinks, this type of hot flash can often be stopped by eating lighter and limiting or eliminating caffeine and alcohol.
- Medication can bring on flushing and continue as long as you are taking them changing medications often makes the condition go away.
- Stress accompanied by a rush of adrenaline can produce a feeling of warmth like a hot flash, so if you live a stress filled life, you may set off this reaction.
- Hormone-secreting tumors such as pancreatic tumors override the organs ability to help the body function properly and can lead to hot flashes and sweating.
- Other conditions such as HIV and tuberculosis can produce symptoms similar to hot flashes and night sweats.
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Should I Take Hormones For My Hot Flashes
Talk with your doctor before using hormones to treat menopause symptoms. Hormones should be used at the lowest dose and for the shortest period of time they are effective.
Hormones can be very effective at reducing the number and severity of hot flashes. They are also effective in reducing vaginal dryness and bone loss.
Hormone treatments can take the form of pills, patches, rings, implants, gels, or creams. Patches, which stick to the skin, may be best for women with cardiac risk factors, such as a family history of heart disease.
There are many types of hormones available for women to treat hot flashes. These include estradiol, conjugated estrogen, selective estrogen receptor modulators , and compounded or synthetic hormones. It is a common misconception that synthetic hormones mixed by a compounding pharmacist are safer and less risky than other hormone therapies. This is not the case. We must assume they have the same risks as any hormone therapy.
Some of the relatively mild side effects of hormone use include breast tenderness, spotting or return of monthly periods, cramping, or bloating. By changing the type or amount of the hormones, the way they are taken, or the timing of the doses, your doctor may be able to help control these side effects or, over time, they may go away on their own.
Cynthia Managed Her Severe Night Sweats Using A Little Hot Flush Kit She Kept Beside Her Bed
In the early days, I had to get up physically on the hour every hour. It woke me without fail and I had to get out of bed, go into the other room, had a big fan, stand in front of it until I cooled down and then I went back to bed. You do get used to doing that and you do sleep in between. As I got better at managing them I think, I identified that I couldnt drink anything and I couldnt eat curry or Chinese food I got so that I had my little hot flush kit beside the bed. I had a towel and gel pack, sports injury gel pack that had been frozen inside of a pillow case. And Ive got dozens, dozens and dozens, and Ive still got them in a little basket of those little hand fans like youd have on holiday. And I had that beside the bed so when I woke with a hot flush starting, Id grab the towel and slip that underneath me, the gel pack behind my neck and the little fan resting on my chest and Id just lie there like a sack of potatoes until it passed. And then Id chuck it all off and go back to sleep until the next one. And I did sleep. I did get used to being tired but I did sleep in between each hot flush. But they were on the hour.
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How Long Does Menopause Last After Monthly Cycles End
Symptoms typically increase during the first year after menopause begins . Hot flashes, chills, mood and sleep issues, and weight gain are all likely to increase during this time period. However, the exact onset of these symptoms can vary, with some women experiencing them during the six years prior to the loss of a monthly cycle. On average, these symptoms can last for around four to five years after the beginning of menopause.