What are Hot Flashes?
Hot flashes are recurrent, transient periods of flushing or sweating and a sensation of heat often accompanied by palpitations, anxiety and occasionally chills. They generally last no more than 1-3 minutes and can recur as many as 30 times per day.
What Causes Hot Flashes?
Perimenopause often starts in the mid to late forties. During this time, ovarian follicles become increasingly resistant to follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and ovulation becomes less frequent, with a decrease in overall progesterone production, generally resulting in menstrual irregularity. During menopause, menstruation ceases altogether due to the loss of ovarian function. The ovarian follicles are depleted, and there are signs of hyperestrogenemia and elevated serum FSH levels. These hormonal changes trigger an increased Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone (GnRH) secretion and therefore a central disturbance of the body temperature regulation center. This is generally thought to result in symptoms such as hot flashes, which tend to become more intense as circulating estrogen suddenly drops.
According to TCM, hot flashes and menopause in general are due to a decline in the Kidneys (the Kidneys being responsible for growth and reproduction). This decline is a natural process of aging, though there are some factors that can make the symptoms of menopause worse, including: genetics, a lifetime of emotional stress, working too many hours with inadequate rest (which usually coincides with irregular diet and emotional instability), and having too many children too close together.
How can we Treat Hot Flashes Naturally?
Chinese Medicine has successfully treated hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms for hundreds of years. The focus of the treatments is herbal remedies and is supplemented with acupuncture. The herbal remedies tend to treat these types of deficiencies more quickly and effectively than acupuncture alone. A treatment time of 2 months is generally required to see results.