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Cool down hot flashes

Updated: Jan 22

Menopause is not a disease. It is a host of symptoms brought on by changing estrogen and progesterone levels. We know that menopause signifies the end of menstruation, but perimenopause is less concrete. Typically, this transition begins for women in their late 40's to early 50's and may take 2-5 years, and longer for some. Perimenopause is a gradual, natural process and how a woman experiences it, is likely reflective in choices made up to this point. A focus on self-care, good nutritional and lifestyle choices may ease the symptoms.



What are the symptoms?

Change of menstruation patterns...happens less frequently or closer together, flow may be heavier or lighter

Vaginal dryness

Hot flashes, night sweats

Moodiness, anxiety, depression

Sleep disturbances

Urinary problems, Joint pain

Trouble with focus and short term memory


How does Chinese Medicine view perimenopause?


Women's health is closely tied to the kidney organ system which stores the bodies energy reserves and governs growth, development, and reproduction. The Kidneys produce yin and yang energies, which may become deficient during perimenopause.

Yin has cooling, moistening, and calming functions and is related to estrogen. When yin is depleted symptoms that are hot and dry arise. Yang energy is warming and moving and is tied to progesterone. When yang energy is low so is metabolism and circulation. Yin and yang need to be balanced, just as hormones also need to be.


Kidney yang deficiency

hot flashes with cold hands & feet

low back pain

feelings of cold

fatigue, weight gain

depression, melancholy

lower leg swelling

incontinence

Yang deficiency has a tendency to affect Spleen function (in Chinese Medicine) and cause additional symptoms that can include appetite and digestive changes, fatigue, swelling, and organ prolapse.


Kidney Yin deficiency

hot flashes

night sweats

irritability

insomnia

thirst

constipation

Yin deficiency will have a tendency to affect the Liver and Heart (in Chinese Medicine), and there may be symptoms of palpitations, poor memory, blurred vision, dizziness, and panic attacks.


Stress?

The Liver in Chinese Medicine is responsible for making everything flow smoothly. When the Liver is affected by stress, energy becomes stuck. This may be the case if any of the following symptoms are present:


Emotional changes: mood swings, depression, anger, irritability, sadness, crying, moodiness


Menstrual Changes: irregular and painful periods, breast distention, PMS 


Other symptoms: Frequent sighing, hiccups, nausea, belching, acid reflux.


Chinese medicine aims to treat the symptoms of menopause through acupuncture, herbs, and lifestyle modifications. Treatments are geared toward nourishing and balancing kidney energies.


Nutritional Therapy

 For hot flashes and night sweats (kidney yin deficiency) try adding these foods in to your diet:  sesame seed, soybean, cherries, pears, apples, pineapple, watermelon, asparagus, celery, lemon, seaweed, black beans, kidney beans, and black dates.


Reducing intake of dairy, sugar, red meat (especially with added hormones), caffeine, and alcohol is also suggested.


Feeling of cold and fatigue (kidney yang deficiency): enjoy walnuts, chestnuts, raspberries, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, garlic, and chives.


Vitamin C: bruising and varicose veins

Vitamin E: hot flashes, irregular cycle

Magnesium & Vitamin D: to help with calcium absorption

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