Hot flashes and night sweats are some the most common and bothersome symptoms of menopause. A healthy diet and regular exercise can go a long way in helping women establish good hormonal balance during menopause. Studies have shown that 30 minutes of exercise daily can be enough to relieve hot flashes in a majority of women. Many women find benefit from a plan. The nutrients supplemented in a "detox" plan help improve the liver's processing of hormones in the body. Women typically follow this type of diet plan for 2-4 weeks. Many women find they have more energy and less hormone related symptoms after following a detoxification diet. Some women even lose a few pounds!
When diet and exercise changes are not enough, natural therapies can be helpful in providing relief from hot flashes. The changing levels of estrogen during menopause are thought to cause imbalances in the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and serotonin in the brain. These neurotransmitters are well known for their role in mood regulation. However, these neurotransmitters are also involved in regulating the temperature balance of the body. The imbalance of hormones and neurotransmitters during menopause alters thermoregulation and increases the occurrence of hot flashes. Many of our favorite natural therapies used for hot flashes address this hormone and neurotransmitter imbalance. Rather than giving you exogenous hormones from a medication, natural therapies enhance the body's own endogenous production of hormones and neurotransmitters. For this reason natural therapies tend to be better tolerated and have fewer side effects than conventional hormone replacement therapy.
Herbal therapies used to address menopausal symptoms are often used in combination. Some common herbs and nutrients that are found in menopausal formulas include Black Cohosh, Chaste Tree (Vitex), Dong Quai, Wild Yam and Hesperidin Methyl Chalcone to just name a few. The different herbs when used together can have a synergistic therapeutic effect and help a woman's body re-establish good hormone regulation. One of our favorite herbal therapies for hot flashes is a patented herbal extract of Rhubarb called Err731 or Estrovera™. This patented product was studied in clinical trials and found to relieve hot flashes almost as well as hormone replacement therapy. Estrovera™ is a completely hormone-free therapy for menopause. Many times in our own NaturoMedica clinic Estrovera™ and St. John's Wort will be recommended together to help address hot flashes and night sweats. This combination not only addresses hot flashes but has the added benefit of improving some of the mood changes that can occur with menopause.
If you are taking any medications or have a history of cancer, consult with a knowledgeable physician before starting any therapy. Some of these herbs should not be taken with certain medications or when women have a history of hormone sensitive cancers.