Do you find yourself feeling warm all of the time, maybe running the air conditioner in your car even during the cooler months of the year? News Flash: That's a Hot Flash! Hot flashes can be intense and extremely uncomfortable, or they can be much milder, just feeling warmer than usual all the time. The intensity of hot flashes do not indicate the level of hormone imbalance, yet any imbalance can create damage within the body.
Hot flashes are experienced by 70 – 85% of women, usually beginning during perimenopause, sometime during the 40’s. Some women experience hot flashes in their younger years just before menstruation and are also caused by hormone imbalance.
The exact way in which a hormone imbalance produces hot flashes is still being researched, however, they do know the hypothalamus is affected. Hormone imbalances also affect memory, mood, sex drive, heart, bone health, and skin. Hormones can even affect how we age externally; however, the other issues are certainly more detrimental. Even our sense of well-being can be affected, potentially resulting in depression. Most importantly, though, hormone imbalances increase the risk of developing serious diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and many others.
Men also suffer from hot flashes due to low testosterone levels. Low testosterone levels cause low libido and may leave you feeling fatigued often. Women also possess testosterone within the body with the same results when levels are low.
What is a Hot Flash Exactly?
Hot flashes come in all different forms involving heat within your body. Some individuals go completely red in the face and neck, usually breaking into a sweat as well. These intense hot flashes last between 30 to 45 seconds and may have you changing your clothes after. Many women do not experience this intense type of hot flash, but rather experience milder symptoms of feeling warmer than usual. Your overall body temperature may just feel like it runs higher than it used to with you making accommodations to get relief from the heat level in your body.
Having a need for cold air feels mandatory to function in life. Being hot or very warm doesn’t feel very comfortable at all. Many find themselves dressing lighter even during the cooler months of the year not to feel uncomfortable.
Many external influences can make your hot flashes occur more often or become more intense. Eating sugar, smoking, alcohol use, poor diet, birth control pills, pesticides in our food, and even plastics used for water bottles can influence hormone levels.
Night sweats are another example of a hot flash; only these occur during the night. They show up between 3 and 4 am with you awakening drenched in sweat. Many feel the need to keep an extra cotton nightgown or sleep shirt next to the bed to change into when this happens. Some may just experience a feeling of being too warm and alleviate this by throwing one leg on top of the covers to feel cooler.
What Can Help?
Keeping your environment cool and controlling your external influences will certainly help, however, it will not treat your hormone imbalance that is so critical in keeping your body healthy.
Hormone replacement treatment (HRT) has been used to treat hormone imbalances, yet this treatment comes with many serious side effects and risk of disease. HRT uses synthetic hormones which are similar to our hormones, but are not exactly like them. Even short-term use of HRT has been associated directly with the development of breast cancer. Heart disease, blood clots, stroke, ovarian cancer, even dementia increases when you take HRT. With hormone imbalances the risk for these diseases are already increased, why add more risk by taking HRT?
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT)
The good news is there is another type of hormone replacement solution available today. Bioidentical hormones are structurally identical to the hormones within our body. BHRT is made using a compounding pharmacy and is derived naturally from plants. Bioidentical hormone replacement has been proven to be more effective and without the serious side effects caused by synthetic hormones.
Bioidentical hormones can help with:
- Mood swings
- Mental fog
- Panic attacks, anxiety, and depression
- Low libido
- Hair loss
- Skin dryness and elasticity
- Vaginal dryness
- Sense of well-being
- Weight gain
- Muscle mass
- Bone density
- Night sweats
- Risk of serious disease
Hot flashes, increased body heat, or night sweats are not only uncomfortable, they indicate that your hormones are off balance, affecting body organs and optimum health function. Thankfully there are safe and effective treatments for hormone imbalances. It is important not to delay treating your hot flashes as the health of your body may become compromised!
Want to find out if you’re perimenopausal or menopausal? Take this quiz!