“Wow, my face is on fire!” Menopause or perimenopause — hot flashes, sweats, moodiness, rapid heart beat and alternating hot and cold feelings — are no fun. If it was just feeling hot, that would be one thing. We all get too hot at various times of our lives. But hot flashes are different. Many times they are also associated with feeling sick or flu-like just before the onset. It is generally localized and intense in the face, chest or even legs, and it’s difficult to cool down.
One day, years ago, I was driving barely over the speed limit, but aware that it felt frantic. I caught myself and questioned what was going on in my head. I realized I was looking for a snowbank to bury my face in! “Oh my gosh! Was that a hot flash?” That was my first experience. I imagined myself explaining that to a police officer if I had been pulled over, and the embarrassed thought alone made me have another hot flash!
Well, I decided then and there that I was not going to do this! I immediately took a look at what was wrong in my lifestyle. I treat menopause often in practice, but now that it was happening to me it was time to look at my own medicine.
I know what works. Do you? First of all we look at diet. There are several offenders that can trigger hot flashes, sweats, moodiness or any of the other symptoms of perimenopause or menopause. Your triggers may be different than the average person, but here are the most common: caffeine (especially coffee), hot drinks or soups, spices and alcohol. Not drinking enough water can trigger symptoms as well.
Other, non-food triggers include being in a hot room or hot weather, stress, upset, embarrassment, tight clothes, working out and smoking.
Obesity and thyroid problems can also increase the possibility of menopause-related hot flashes. Non-menopausal hot flashes include: medication side effects, tumors, significant immune challenges such as HIV and others. If you are unsure, make sure you get checked out.
No matter the cause of your hot flashes and other symptoms, there is hope. There are several modalities that have demonstrated significant value in reducing menopausal symptoms. Acupuncture is on the top of the list, but also yoga, breathing exercises, tai chi and qi gong meditation and guided thought programs (to reduce stress-induced symptoms), massage, chiropractic and other healthy approaches.
Most important is to dig deep and ask WHY? If you are unhealthy, use these modalities to restore health. As with all symptoms, they are just red flags telling you that something is wrong. Symptoms during menopause are an option, not an absolute.
If you are looking to bury your face in the snow, a refrigerator or other super cool option, it is time to take action now. You (and your loved ones) don’t have to suffer. Learn more by attending my upcoming health class, Overcoming Hot Flashes, Night Sweats and Other Menopausal Problems, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26 at Vital Health in Coeur d’Alene. Fee: $10. RSVP: 208-765-1994 or register here: http://bit.ly/MenopauseClass
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Holly Carling is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Licensed Acupuncturist, Doctor of Naturopathy, Clinical Nutritionist and Master Herbologist with nearly four decades of experience. Carling is a “Health Detective.” She looks beyond your symptom picture and investigates WHY you are experiencing your symptoms in the first place. Carling is currently accepting new patients and offers natural health care services and whole food nutritional supplements in her Coeur d’Alene clinic. Visit Carling’s website at www.vitalhealthcda.com to learn more about Carling, view a list of upcoming health classes and read other informative articles. Carling can be reached at 208-765-1994 and would be happy to answer any questions regarding this topic.