Handling Hot Flashes | by
Does your internal thermometer jump to “super, incredibly hot” out of nowhere? If so, you’re probably all too familiar with hot flashes – and maybe even a little frustrated.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has long been prescribed to alleviate uncomfortable menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, but many women and doctors today shy away from HRT because they’re leery of the hormones’ unintended side effects. Lifestyle modifications, supplements and herbs can help, but what should you take? How do you know if it’s safe?
Stop. See your physician.
“It’s nice to see a doctor sooner, rather than waiting until later to go over your history, past medical conditions and current health,” says Kimberly Larson-Ohlsen, MD, an ob/gyn at Colorado Complete Health for Women. Every woman’s menopausal experience is different, and a qualified physician can tease out menopause-only symptoms from anything that might be more serious.
Larson-Ohlsen recommends seeing a physician who specializes in menopause. She uses what she calls an “integrative approach.”
“I use both traditional Western medicine and Eastern medicine, such as herbs, acupuncture, yoga, diet and supplements,” Larson-Ohlsen. “There’s more than one way to alleviate or at least decrease the severity of hot flashes.”
• Yoga. Forward bends, she says, are particularly helpful.
• Tweaking your diet. Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water per day. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, refined or processed foods. Increase your intake of green leafy veggies, soy and fruit.
• Traditional Chinese cooling foods. Eastern medicine swears by tofu, melons, celery, apples, asparagus and grapes – foods that happen to be high in either plant estrogens or antioxidants.
• Acupuncture. A recent study published in Acupuncture in Medicine suggests that regular acupuncture sessions can decrease the frequency and severity of hot flashes.
• Supplements. Dong qai and black cohosh are useful.
• Hormone replacement therapy. Still the gold standard. Bioidentical hormones may help some women.
• Persistence. If one doctor can’t help you, see another. Help is out there!
Tags: Acupuncture, Colorado Complete Health for Women, Handling Hot Flashes, Hormone replacement therapy (HRT), hot flashes, Kimberly Larson-Ohlsen, MD, menopausal symptoms, OB/GYN, remedies, The Medical Center of Aurora, yoga
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