Fed up with Hot Flashes and Nights Sweats? Tips to Manage them Naturally

manage hot flashes naturally

Discover natural ways to ease night sweats and dietary supplements that help. For night sweats bioidentical hormones may also help you get the rest and relief you need.

Hot flashes and night sweats can be very disruptive, even if you expect them as part of menopause. Sometimes their severity can come as a surprise. Symptoms may be so intense they wake you up at night.

Night sweats are related to daytime hot flashes, and are usually associated with menopause. However, both hot flashes and night sweats can happen in younger women, pregnant women, and those with an underlying medical condition, or high levels of stress.

What Causes Night Sweats

Night sweats occur when blood vessels open in the skin to release heat. You can perspire enough to soak your nightclothes and be awakened by cold wet sleepwear and damp sheets.

Night sweats happen when the body-temperature control system in the brain — the hypothalamus — triggers your body’s cooling system. The hypothalamus also controls stress hormones, sex hormones, and is sensitive to hormonal changes, including changes in estrogen levels. It can trigger the body to rapidly cool down in response to lower levels of estrogen.

Natural Ways to Manage Symptoms

The foods you eat and the way you manage stress can have a big impact on night sweats and hot flashes. You can reduce and manage the symptoms by knowing how to manage stress, take care of your body, and by learning which foods to avoid and why.

For example, excess sugar in the diet triggers a stress response in the body – including an increase in blood pressure, and heart rate, which can elevate body temperature. The hypothalamus is already hypersensitive to signals of overheating, and is can contribute to hot flashes and night sweats.

What other foods can you avoid to help you minimize night sweats? Here are a few to avoid:

  • Hot foods (served at a high cooking temperature)
  • Spicy foods
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine or other stimulants

Here are some simple lifestyle changes that can help you calm your temperature regulation system:

  • Practice meditation to decrease adrenal hormones
  • Dress is loose clothing – for easier temperature regulation
  • Keep room temperature lower especially at night (ideal sleeping temperature is 65 degrees)
  • Exercise daily – do aerobics to get your heart rate up; and sweat will help decrease stress hormones
  • Eat a low glycemic whole food diet
  • Get 8 hours of sleep

These Dietary Supplements Can Help

Dietary supplements and herbs can be beneficial but should be taken under the guidance of your physician.

I recommend these 4 essential supplements for optimal health (Four Essential Supplements):

  • A good multivitamin
  • Fish oil
  • Probiotic (“good bacteria” in yogurt, sourdough bread and also capsule form)
  • Vitamin D

Two additional supplements have been shown to reduce night sweats. The first is Estrovera by Metagenics, a tablet formulated using the extract of Siberian rhubarb, which has been clinically proven to reduce symptoms. I have found it to be especially  helpful in reducing night sweats.

I also find many of my patients find Kavinace Flash-Ease by Neuroscience to be effective in reducing hot flashes, night sweats and helping them get and stay asleep. It contains black cohosh in addition to ashwagandha (a restorative herb which helps balance stress hormones). A naturally occurring amino acid known as 5-HTP which helps increase serotonin levels (the feel-good hormone).

It is important to discuss your options fully with your doctor. If you plan to take herbs or supplements, it is important to do so under the guidance of your physician. Just because a preparation is ‘natural,’ does not mean it’s free of side effects or possible interactions with other treatments you are taking. Herbs and supplements can have an impact on each other, or interact with prescription medication or over-the-counter medications.

Night Sweats and Bioidentical Hormones

I find that for many patients, a personalized treatment plan that combines, lifestyle changes, diet changes, exercise, stress reductions, and supplements helps provide relief from night sweats. But for other patients, these changes may not provide enough relief or control over symptoms. In these cases, low dose bioidentical hormones may provide the relief you are looking for.

Find many of the supplements we recommend at:

http://drkeller.metagenics.com. Use code: drkeller

Treating Fibromyalgia Naturally: Dealing With Stress

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, you’re learning that it’s a chronic pain disorder, with body-wide soreness and tenderness in muscles its major symptom.

But there are other characteristics too.  The Mayo Clinic describes it this way:

Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues.

You may find that certain things you do, eat, or even think can trigger your symptoms.  While your pain symptoms may simply just happen, more likely you feel worse after a lack of sleep, eating certain foots, a lack of exercise, and increased stress.

Stress May Be One of Your Worst Pain Triggers

Not only does your pain get worse with stress.  Being upset makes sleeping more difficult, eating right harder to do, and keeping your spirits up almost impossible.  These things are hard enough to do anyway, let alone under stress. So, managing your stress is especially important when you’re dealing with fibromyalgia.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to managing stress.  There are several approaches open to you. Look at stress management actions you can do by yourself, as well as those involving the help of others to deal better with stress.

Look for Relaxing Lifestyle Choices

As far as possible, include more downtime and calming activities.  Turn off the computer and make more time for things like:

  • Taking a warm bath:  Allow yourself to add soothing agents such as Epsom salts or lavender oil, juniper oil or chamomile.
  • Spending less time with aggravating people: Make more time for those you find comforting and easy to be around
  • Going to a personal quiet space: A sanctuary that invites peace of mind and helps you let go of tension can be an important part of learning to relax.  This can be a room in your home, a garden, a place in nature, a park, or a church, or a place with your favorite animals or a pet.

Learn Some Relaxation Techniques

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, there are these main types of relaxation techniques:

Autogenic training: a learned technique to help you use visual imagery and body awareness to move yourself into a deep state of relaxation

Deep breathing: this is a strategy for relieving stress by taking in more air, and lowering activity in order to focus just on calmer, deeper breathing.  For example, standing or sitting quietly, breathe in through your nose.  Breathe in fully so your ribcage area expands gently. Hold your breath for 3 seconds, then breathe out through the mouth.  When exhaling, make your time to exhale longer than your time to inhale; this will help you relax further, and release tension from your muscles. Repeat a few times as you can without discomfort.

Progressive muscle relaxation: You focus on particular muscle groups, tensing and then relaxing them, slowly.  This approach involves your whole body, working in sequence, starting at the toes and ending with the head.

Meditation:  Two main forms of meditation are Transcendental (using a mantra or phrase), and mindfulness (focusing on thoughts and your own sensations).  Some exercise programs, such as yoga, also have a meditation component

You can safely learn relaxation techniques from well-recommended books and audio programs.  You can also find classes in many areas , and learn a technique with an experienced coach.

More Natural Approaches to Fibromyalgia and Stress Management

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:  This approach focuses on challenging a person’s overly negative or self-defeating thinking and behavior patterns. It helps replace them with new thoughts and ideas for coping better and feeling less anxious.  There are self-guided and therapist-lead ways to explore this therapy.

Body Treatments, Including Massage, Acupuncture and Exercise:

The topic of acupuncture and stress relief deserves a good look.  Here are some articles to help you explore the proven benefits of this ancient Chinese treatment, to stimulate healing, reduce pain, lower stress hormones, and improve health:

Exercise can play a major role in reducing the negative impact of stress on your body and pain levels.  To find out more, look at:

Dealing well with stress is a personal matter, but very important to improving your health. You may need to explore and find your own best combination of approaches for different situations or times of year.  When it comes to getting the upper hand on stress, you may need to take some time to find your own best answers.  A doctor experienced in treating fibromyalgia can guide you to resources that have helped others recover, and live well despite the daunting stress of coping with fibromyalgia.

About Dr. Keller

Dr. Betty Keller practices integrative therapy at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey.  She is a licensed acupuncturist and medical doctor specializing in fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, weight loss and disease prevention, serving Franklin Lakes, Wyckoff, NJ, and nearby areas.

Acupuncture and Stress Relief Part 2: How acupuncture eases pain, improves mood, sleep, and body chemistry

We cannot eliminate stress from our live but we can learn to manage. That’s part of what we learned in Acupuncture and Stress Releif Part 1: How the Body Responds to Stress

Acupuncture is very effective in reducing stress and stress related conditions.

It is well documented that there is a strong connection between the mind and body. Clearly mental well-being is associated with physical well being. Acupuncture helps restore the imbalances of neurotransmitters and hormones brought on by chronic stress and thus help reduce stress and the harmful effects of chronic stress.

Acupuncture: How It Works

The modern scientific explanation is that needling stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the brain, spinal cord and muscles. These chemicals alter the experience of pain and also trigger the release of other chemicals, neurotransmitters, and hormones that influence the bodies own internal regulating system.

Acupuncture Decreases Cortisol and Other Stress-Related Hormones

Acupuncture is very effective in reducing stress and stress related conditions. It does this by modulating neurotransmitters and reducing stress hormones. Acupuncture needles stimulate the secretion of endorphins the body’s natural painkillers, as well as decrease cortisol – one of the major stress hormones.

In addition acupuncture increases serotonin, dopamine, and melatonin.  These neurotransmitters help reduce pain, elevate mood, relax the body, improve sleep and help with an increased feeling of over all well being. People feel extremely relaxed during and after acupuncture treatments. Post acupuncture treatments, patients feel completely relaxed and often report improved sleep.

Multiple acupuncture treatments appear to up regulate the secretion of neurotransmitter and hormones, which explains the long-term effects of acupuncture.   Acupuncture helps restore the imbalances of neurotransmitters and hormones brought on by chronic stress, and is a safe and effective way to treat stress and stress induced disorders.

What is Medical Acupuncture, and Who Can Provide It?

Acupuncture can be part of a doctor’s medical practice.  It is part of my practice at the Optimal Wellness Center, in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey. Not all acupuncturists are doctors.   A licensed acupuncturist can provide services without being a health practitioner.

As a professional medical doctor, I use acupuncture because the most effective treatment for some people uses contemporary Western medicine  combined with complimentary techniques, including acupuncture. Sometimes the best treatment for difficult conditions, such as fibromyalgia, chronic pain, or weight loss, uses both acupuncture treatments and modern medical treatment. This is what integrative medicine is all about.

If you find that traditional medicine alone has not helped improve health for you, you may want to speak with a doctor who takes in integrative approach.