Hot flushes are the most common symptom of menopause. About 80% of all women experience it when going through this period of their life. More about menopause read here.
Hot flashes, also known as vasomotor symptoms, are often described as a sudden sensation of heat in the chest, face, and head followed by flushing, perspiration, and sometimes chills. When a hot flash occurs during sleep, it can be accompanied by sweat. Such night sweats make it difficult to get a good night’s rest. The estimates of the duration of these symptoms come from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN), a long-term study of women of different races and ethnicities who are in the menopausal transition. They were published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
The SWAN researchers found that some women are more likely to deal with long-term hot flashes than others. Women who had their first hot flashes before their menstrual periods ended had hot flashes for an average of nine to 10 years. When hot flashes didn’t start until after the last menstrual period, the average duration was only about three and a half years. But even on the short end of the spectrum, that’s a long time to deal with hot flashes and night sweats.
Women in the SWAN study who experienced hot flashes for longer tended to be current or former smokers, overweight, stressed, depressed, or anxious. Ethnicity also played a role. African American women reported the most prolonged duration of hot flashes (averaging more than 11 years), while Japanese and Chinese women had hot flashes for about half that time.
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What causes hot flushes?
Hot flushes are thought to be caused by changes in hormone levels affecting the body’s temperature control.
According to NHS UK, hot flushes can happen without warning throughout the day and night but can also be triggered by:
⦁ eating spicy foods
⦁ caffeine and alcohol
⦁ wearing thick clothing
⦁ a high temperature
⦁ feeling stressed or anxious
⦁ treatment for certain types of cancer (this can affect both men and women)
⦁ certain medicines
⦁ some health conditions, such as an overactive thyroid, diabetes, and tuberculosis
What can be done?
“While hormone therapy is very effective at relieving hot flashes, the longer-term treatment carries an increased risk for breast cancer, and women at older ages have higher risks of stroke, blood clots, and other health problems. So it’s important that women explore a full range of treatment options — especially women likely to have persistent hot flashes,” advises Dr Manson.
For some women, self-help measures can help ease hot flashes. These include:
⦁ deep-breathing exercises when a hot flash starts
⦁ dressing in layers
⦁ lowering the thermostat
⦁ diet changes, including staying away from caffeine, alcohol, hot beverages, and spicy foods
⦁ stress reduction techniques like meditation and mindfulness
⦁ doing your best to stay cool in general.
How can homeopathy help?
Homeopathic remedies can help the body to rebalance the hormones gently and in this way deal with the hot flush as well as other menopausal symptoms. Below there is information for a few remedies most commonly indicated for treating hot flushes.
A woman who is likely to respond to this remedy is chilly, pale, and sluggish. She has trouble concentrating and a tendency toward weight gain during or after menopause. Hot flushing and sweats at night are often seen. A person who needs this remedy may also tend toward skin problems with oozing and cracked eruptions. She is slow to become alert when waking in the morning.
- Lachesis muta
This remedy relieves hot flashes from menopause, especially when hot flashes are reduced by sweating or the occurrence of periods. The person is very talkative, can get easily jealous. She does not like scarves or any tight clothing around her neck. Lachesis is especially beneficial for women who suffer from pressure and burning sensations on the vertex when it comes to hot flushes. Lachesis is also prescribed mainly for menopausal women who experience hot flushes that start from the head and are worse just before sleeping or waking up.
This remedy can be helpful if a woman’s periods are sometimes late and scanty but heavy and flooding at other times. Her pelvic organs can feel weak and sagging, and she may crave vinegar or sour foods. Women who need this remedy usually feel dragged-out and weary, with an irritable detachment regarding family members and losing interest in daily tasks. Sepia is exhausted. She has taken care of everything for so long but can’t anymore. Exercise, especially dancing, may brighten up the woman’s mood and improve her energy. Sepia is anti-spasmodic and an energy enhancer that is very effective for women who perspire heavily because of hot flushes and feel very weak. Sepia addresses not only the physical symptoms of the reproductive organs but also the emotional symptoms. It also treats associated hair loss, depression, irritability and reduced libido.
This remedy is often helpful for hot flashes during menopause when the woman wakes in the early morning hours and throws the covers off. She may be very anxious, weep a lot, and worry excessively about her health. A person needing Sulphur often is mentally active (or eccentric), inclined toward messy habits, and usually feels worse from warmth.
Pulsatilla is a valuable remedy for any significant hormonal change. It works very well on women who tend to be indecisive and do not like being isolated. Pulsatilla can be very effective if chilly spells and emotional upsets follow your hot flushes.
If your hot flushes make you feel like your face is on fire and turns your skin red, Belladonna is what you need. This remedy is commonly prescribed for patients who are restless and agitated and suffer from palpitations. Menopausal women with hot flushes, who benefit from Belladonna, also usually suffer from dizziness, throbbing headaches, diarrhoea and swollen joints.
- Ferrum Metallicum
If you generally feel fine, but any slight exertion makes you feel tired, and you experience sudden hot flashes, you may need Ferrum Metallicum. This can be accompanied by heavy perspiration and chilly spells. Ferrum Metallicum works ideally on people who are naturally temperamental, intolerant and compulsive.
Many other homeopathic remedies can be used. The choice will depend on the person’s symptoms and is made after at least an hour-long consultation where all symptoms are discussed. Often in practice, a client will need more than one remedy to help rebalance the hormones. You may have an acute remedy to hold on to and take when you have a hot flush, but you also have other remedies to take for rebalancing your hormones which you take as per your prescription.
Are you interested to know more about homeopathy and how can it help to treat menopause?
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Disclaimer: This article is for educational purposes only and not intended to replace the advice of your physician or health care provider.
For best results, I recommend an appointment with a qualified homeopath with interest in treating Menopause.