A practical guide for nutritional and traditional health care.
Hot Flashes And Night Sweats
During their menopausal phase, several women experience hot flashes or night sweats or both together. These symptoms may occur sporadically or be very recurrent and may even differ in extremeness from being gently irritating or distressing to being extremely traumatic or to the extent of stifling. In fact, night sweats may sometimes be so intense that they may even drench your nightclothes. On the other hand, hot flashes cannot be predicted at all; they cause a sensation similar to a wave of heat gushing through the body, generally upwards in the direction of the face. Hot flashes have a tendency to have an affect mainly on the upper part of the body. In effect, hot flashes commence with prickling and occur together with sweating and redness. Following the hot flash, which may endure for anything from a small number of seconds to a couple of minutes, women generally have a chilly sensation. A woman who experiences night sweats very often at night time usually does not have proper sleep.
In case you are enduring hot flashes very frequently, you should make an effort to be dressed in layers of clothes, to enable you to do away with a jacket or sweater when you would feel hot and wear another if you are feeling cold. In addition, you may also carry a hand fan with you to cool yourself stylishly whenever you experience a hot flash or always keep a desk fan at the place of your work. While it is vital to maintain your estrogen levels to ensure that you do not become underweight, you should always bear in mind that body fats work in the form of an insulator and excessive of body fat will inhibit the cooling systems of the body.
Hot flashes may be classified into three different groups - gentle, moderate, or acute. Mild hot flashes continue for not more than a minute and generate a sensation of warmth accompanied by modest or no sweating. When a woman endures a moderate hot flash, she has noticeable sweating and it continues for about two to three minutes. Acute flashes result in copious sweating, produce extreme heat and continue for a longer period of time. Severe hot flashes also hinder the person's ongoing activities.
Whenever it is possible, women experiencing hot flashes and night sweats should wearing clothes made of natural fibres, since wearing clothes made from synthetic materials do now permit the skin to breathe and deteriorates the sweating. When in bed, such women should wear any absorbent material, such as cotton, next to the skin and ensure that their bedding is also made from cotton. It is important to note that whenever they would have a feeling of a flush about to happen, they should try and not combat it by turning tense. Instead, they ought to relax into it because this way it may possibly alleviate the symptoms more rapidly. Several women find that anxiety and stress attributable to fright regarding any deadline or rush about, may in fact lead to flashes. At the same time, it is important to keep away from stress, unexpected alterations in temperature as well as hot, jam-packed atmospheres.
It is also important to stay away from drinking excessive hot drinks as well as fatty or spicy foods, since they have the potential to augment the penchant to swelter. Similarly, you need to lessen smoking, consumption of alcohol and caffeine, because all these substances only contribute to disturb the hormone balance. It has been found that several women have a better feeling and experience lesser incidents of hot flashes provided the lower consumption of meat as well as dairy products. It is possible that the hormones present in these foods will result in disturbing the hormone balance in women.
Supplements and herbs
Specific herbs and supplements are effective in alleviating the symptoms of hot flashes and night sweats. For instance, you should ensure that you are taking lots of liquid and also include high amount of vitamin E and the trace mineral selenium in your diet. It may be noted that these two nutrients work excellently in conjugation in regulating abnormal rise in body temperature that results in hot flashes. It is advisable that you start with a daily intake of 400 IU of vitamin E and increase the amount by another 200 IU after a week and finally take an utmost of 1200 IU of vitamin E daily.
When the hot flashes disappear, you need to lower the dosage of vitamin E slowly. Here is a word of caution: women enduring high blood pressure, any heart ailment or diabetes should keep away from taking vitamin E. In case it is absolutely essential to take this nutrient, you should only take it following consultations with and approval of your physician. In addition, women experiencing hot flashes and night sweats ought to consume lots of foods that enclose vitamin C as well as bioflavonoids. Alternately, they may also take a supplement of these together in dosage of 1 gram to 3 grams every day, since they help to fortify the walls of the capillaries and also avoid the dilation of the blood vessels which leads to hot flashes. Apart from vitamin C and bioflavonoids, taking supplements of calcium, B complex and the essential oil of evening primrose is also effective in neutralizing the consequences of trauma on hormone balance of menopausal women.
TEA FOR HOT FLASHES
A tea prepared from a number of herbs is useful in easing the symptoms of hot flashes. The herbs required to prepare this tea include:
To prepare this tea, combine the above mentioned herbs together and add them in proportion of one teaspoonful for each cup (250 ml) of boiled water. Allow the mixture to simmer in a covered container for about 30 minutes and subsequently, filter the liquid and drink it in small measures as required all through the day, preferably in dosage of 1/4 cup at intervals of an hour.
TINCTURE FOR HOT FLASHES
A tincture prepared from a number of herbs is also useful in easing the symptoms of hot flashes in menopausal women. The herbs and their proportions in the tincture are as follows:
It is essential to follow the instructions to prepare the tinctures. The tincture should be taken in dosage of 1/ 4 teaspoon diluted using warm water or in the form of a tea thrice every day. Alternately, it may be taken as required.
It has been established that the herb motherwort reduces the acuteness, frequency as well as the period of hot flashes. Besides, this herb has been found to be effective in alleviating stressed nerves, easing nervous anxiety and also provide relief from insomnia or sleeplessness. In order to get the optimum results of using this herb, women experiencing hot flashes ought to use it quite often for a period of three months. The usual dosage of the tincture prepared from motherwort for treating hot flashes is 15 to 25 drops taken once to six times every day. Here is a word of caution: never use this herb if you are suffering from excessive menstrual flow, since motherwort has the potential to worsen the condition.
The root of the herb licorice encloses a glycoside akin to saponin and glycyrrhizin (also known as glycyrrhizic acid). Since the ancient times, this herb has been employed to treat an assortment of female health problems, in addition to being used in the form of an expectorant as well as antitussive for curing asthma and infections of the respiratory tract. Licorice root is thought to lessen estrogen level, at the same time as enhancing progesterone and is specifically used for this particular purpose. Licorice possesses a steroid element, which has the ability to convert into the estrogen precursors, for instance estrone and estradiol, and, hence, it has the aptitude to provide mild estrogenic attributes. In addition, glycyrrhizin or glycyrrhizic acid is known to have a regulating action over metabolism of estrogen, which denotes that when the levels of estrogen are extremely elevated, glycyrrhizin slows down and while the level of estrogen is extremely low, it is potentiated by glycyrrhizin. In fact, this is an effective aspect for several female hormone disorders, counting premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Caution: It may be noted here that using licorice on a regular basis my result in high blood pressure and water retention (edema). Women having a tendency to these conditions ought not to drink this herb in excess of one cup (250 ml) of water daily or should chew licorice stick only when it is required.
Another herb, dong quai (Chinese angelica) possesses emmenagogue (any medicine that encourages menstrual discharge) properties that have proved to be extremely useful in treating menopausal problems, for instance, controlling hot flashes, and it has also been documented that this herb facilitates in alleviating mental as well as emotional distress.
The usefulness of dong quai in curing hot flashes is perhaps owing to the stabilization of the blood vessels. Nevertheless, the herb dong quai may not be useful for you provided you have a hot feeling most of the times.
In addition, it has been found that chaste berry (Vitex) affects the performance of the pituitary glands and possesses several other utilities, especially in keeping hot flashes and light-headedness under control. The useful consequences of this herb in alleviating the symptoms of menopause are likely to be owing to its function in adjusting the secretions of LH and FSH. It has been proved that Vitex reduces the levels of estrogen and augments the levels of progesterone, thereby maintaining the bones as well as the vaginal walls well-built. Using Vitex every day augments luteotropic and progesterone hormone, but holds back others, for instance, prolactin and FSH. In addition, Vitex or chaste berry also augments the production of a chemical present in the brain and called dopamine. Chemical analysis of chaste berry has revealed that it encloses glycosides, flavonoids and a number of micronutrients, but does not contain phytosterols, which make this herb a slow-acting stimulant. Hence, the results of using Vitex are evident only after two to three months of its use, and in case you want to have a permanent or lasting improvement, you need to take this herb regularly for a period of at least one year.
Black cohosh is another herb that was extensively employed by the Native American Indians and afterwards even by the American colonists to alleviate menstrual cramps as well as menopause. Latest scientific studies have corroborated the effectuality of black cohosh in treating menopause as well as dysmenorrhea. Even clinical trials have demonstrated that extracts obtained from this herb not only ease hot flashes, but also alleviate depression as well as vaginal atrophy. Besides the herb's vascular impact, black cohosh lowers the levels of LH and, hence, this herb possesses a noteworthy estrogenic effect. The standard dosage of using black cohosh is taking 10 to 15 drops of its extract once or two times every day for many months and this helps in lowering the LH levels considerably. However, the herb does not have any effect on FSH.
Here is a word of caution: never use black cohosh in case you are suffering from profuse menstrual flow or believe that you are pregnant. The exasperating consequences of black cohosh as well as the other members belonging to the buttercap family, such as dizziness, headache, nausea and visual problems, are quite common and additionally bothersome, especially in remedial preparations from dried up or powdered roots of the herb. Considering the estrogenic element of black cohosh, it is advisable that pregnant women and nursing mothers should do better by keeping away from this herb.
Aromatherapy is an excellent way to ease hot flashes and night sweats. In fact, you may inhale the essential oils of thyme and basil or use them in a bath or in the form of a foot rub or massage oil to alleviate hot flashes. If you wish to have a transportable hot flash therapy, put a small number of drops on any essential oil or cologne on a tissue paper or cotton ball and keep it in a plastic cover. This may well relieve the symptoms instantaneously whenever you open and breathe in the aroma whenever a hot flash strikes.
You may also try specific homeopathic remedies to alleviate night sweats. For instance, take Nux vomica at any time when you are woken up and have a cooled and tetchy feeling.
Additional things you may do
Besides using prescription drugs, herbs and supplements, homeopathic remedies and aromatherapy, you may do a few additional things to ease the symptoms of hot flashes and night sweats. For instance, drink many cups of sage tea every day. To prepare this herbal tea, add one tablespoonful of sage for every cup (250 ml) of water and permeate the mixture for about 20 minutes.
It has also been noticed that problems of several women are eased when they use external natural progesterone creams that are available over the counter. This is basically a transdermal lotion and is soaked up by means of the skin and transported straight to when it is required. This natural progesterone cream is known to be non-toxic and does not produce the adverse side effects that are caused by using synthetic progestins. It may, however, be noted that a number of women may also have problems using natural progesterone, which may result in anxiety, tetchiness and several other complications. On the contrary, it has been found that natural progesterone is beneficial for most women experiencing hot flashes and night sweats.
In addition, acupuncture, biofeedback and meditation have also assisted several women to get relief from hot flashes. In addition, exercise is also effective in lessening hot flashes by means of reducing the amount of FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone) in circulation as well as by augmenting the levels of endorphine, which actually decline when a woman experiences hot flashes. If you work out for a minimum period of 20 minutes thrice every week, you will notice a considerable reduction in occurrences of hot flashes.
Gradual abdominal respirations, about six to eight breaths every minute, may result in approximately 40 per cent decline in the incidences of hot flashes. Women employ this technique for 15 minutes two times every day and when they experience a hot flash about to strike. Before concluding, it is pertinent to mention that you should always use cotton sheets as well as natural fibers all the time, as this helps in easing night sweats.
Other beneficial herbs
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