Is it Getting Hot in Here or is it Just Me?

Managing Menopause – Our Dietician/Naturopath Lisa Strauss shares her knowledge on Menopause & related symtoms.

Menopausal hot flushes are experienced by up to 75% of menopausal women and an astounding 85% of Australian women suffering from hot flushes remain untreated.
Disturbingly, those who are treated are often given HRT (hormone replacement therapy) as their only option, with symptoms often returning upon cessation of treatment.

So, what causes these flushes and what can you do?
A woman experiencing a hot flush is not significantly hotter than normal. In fact, it is the brain that is perceiving itself to be hotter and is therefore producing a cooling response known as a thermoneutral zone.
The main trigger for flush is due to a decline in oestrogen but a contributing factor is increased sympathetic nervous activity, resulting in increased adrenaline often activated by stress and anxiety.
Data collected by Dr Robert Freedman, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Wayne State University, U.S.A indicates that reducing the sympathetic drive in women experiencing hot flushes may be a useful strategy for reducing hot flushes and eliminating the need to use HRT.

It’s not a one size fits all approach
Treatment should be approached holistically and address the following:

  • Thyroid function – postmenopausal and elderly women have the highest incidence of thyroid disease. The thyroid gland plays a pivotal role in energy metabolism and temperature regulation.
  • Gut microbiome balance – a deficiency of beneficial gut bacteria has been linked with negative health outcomes in menopause such as increased weight gain, insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes, increased inflammatory states, autoimmunity and reduced bone density.
  • Weight loss – randomised trials have found that women who lost weight experienced greater reductions in flushes than those who were overweight.
  • Diet – phytoestrogens are naturally occurring chemicals in food that can mimic the actions of oestrogen.  These include foods like soybeans, flaxseed, oats, barley and fenugreek.  Boosting phytoestrogens in the diet has shown to decrease hot flushes.
  • Nutraceuticals and oestrogen lifting herbs – B Complex vitamins, magnesium and a variety of herbs including chamomile, rehmannia and black cohosh are available in a range of herbal and vitamin supplements to help support the sympathetic nervous system and reduce the unwanted side effects of menopause.

What next?
A holistic approach including a comprehensive health assessment should be conducted before making a decision on whether to choose HRT or a natural alternative option.  Make an appointment with your health provider today to discuss what is right for you.



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