Hot flashes are one of the worst symptoms of “the change”, aka menopause.
A burning heat that has no relief, has you stripping off clothes, or sweating through your sheets.
To make it even more confusing, some women experience very mild symptoms, while others have an extreme experience that can last for years.
Just like many other reproductive health concerns in Chinese Medicine, menopause comes back to the Kidneys, because they are crucial for sexual development and the cycles of life. But there can also be other systems involved to one degree or another.
The hot flashes themselves represent classic kidney yin deficiency.
In some ways this can be compared to declining estrogen. When yin is lost it’s like losing moisture. You will feel dry and hot. Other symptoms include dizziness, night sweats, back aches and dry hair and skin.
Kidney yang deficiency is also common and can be mildly compared to progesterone. This includes hot flashes, but with cold hands and feet, especially in the morning, a pale face, backache and swollen ankles.
In real life, it’s most common to see a combination of the two patterns above. In addition, there will be some Liver, Heart, Spleen and Blood involvement. It can seem confusing and complicated. That’s why its crucial to see a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist, to ensure you get the proper treatment.
Acupuncture and herbs excel at assisting women’s bodies through menopause, not just for hot flashes, but also things like headaches, insomnia, weight gain, and more.
An herbal formula is a crucial part of treatment here, I cannot stress that enough.
Dietary changes are also a great way to help influence those hot flashes. Many women report carbs as making them worse, especially if eaten later in the day. Also, the fun stuff, like alcohol and coffee can impact frequency and intensity of hot flashes.
If you are having a tough time or there are other medical concerns, it might be appropriate to incorporate bioidentical hormones, thyroid treatment, cortisol support, gut support and more. One of my favorite tools for looking at hormones is the DUTCH Test. It can be done at home and is very comprehensive.
The important thing is assisting you and your personal needs. There is no cookie cutter treatment. Its about what works for you, so that you can enjoy your life and not feel trapped by your hormones.