Consider getting hormone levels checked if hot flashes
are making every room into a sauna
There are certain places where heat is welcomed. The Bahamas. A bubble bath. In front of a fireplace on a snowy evening. Hot yoga, if you’re into that sort of thing.
But if you find yourself overheating all day, every day, this is a problem, and one you don’t need to live with. And by “you,” we mean women. While men can experience hot flashes too, they’re rare and usually the result of prostate cancer treatment. Meanwhile, 70 percent of women experience hot flashes in their lifetime, most often beginning in the perimenopausal period—that blessed three- to four-year span before menopause begins, on average around their mid-40s.
According to Harvard Health, hot flashes in menopausal women don’t fade away after a few months like one might hope. Instead, they can last up to 11 years. That’s more than a decade of standing in front of oscillating fans or covertly turning up the A/C in your office while everyone else piles on another layer.
Hormone changes are most often to blame for these sudden onsets of intense heat in one’s neck and face, sweating and a flushed appearance. Not only can they be embarrassing and intrusive, hot flashes may also interrupt your sleep and lead to night sweats and insomnia. There is also some research showing hot flashes to be a predictor of heart disease, specifically when they start earlier in life in those aged 30-53.
One of the most effective treatments for hot flashes and other symptoms of perimenopause and menopause is bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, or BHRT. While hot flashes are caused by a drop in estrogen, it’s often testosterone that a woman is in short supply of, says OBGYN Doug Woodford, MD.
“The problem is you don’t have enough testosterone. Testosterone drops by 30 to 40 percent by the time a woman is 45. If you have testosterone and start aromatizing [the process by which testosterone is converted to estrogen], your estrogen goes back up and you live happily ever after,” says Woodford.
The Florence, Alabama doctor has been providing BHRT to his patients for the last 10 years. For women complaining of hot flashes and other menopause- or perimenopause-related symptoms, he first recommends a blood test to measure sex hormone levels before recommending a trial run of either testosterone or estrogen. In about a week, his patients see positive changes.
“You sleep better, rest better, it clears the brain fog and hot flashes go away. Your quality of life is significantly improved,” says Woodford.
A study published in the scientific journal Maturits showed followed 300 pre- and post-menopausal women over a two-year period of receiving testosterone implants. They found significant improvement in the following symptoms:
- Hot flashes
- Heart discomfort
- Sleep problems
- Depressive mood
- Physical fatigue
- Chronic joint and muscular pain
- Bladder incontinence
- Memory and concentration
- Sexual desire
Researchers also noted, “This study confirmed what prior studies have reported, that testosterone effect is dose dependent.”
In other words, it’s vital to get the dose of hormones right in order to experience a relief of symptoms. Using an advanced technology by Simpatra, a custom dose of hormones is determined based on a patient’s blood test results. The best part is that the procedure typically takes less than five minutes. An area of skin usually near the hips is numbed with local anesthesia. A small cut is made and a 3-millimeter needle inserts the hormone pellets just under the skin. The dose doesn’t need to be repeated for another four months, on average, and results can be seen as early as a week later.
To learn more about BHRT, or to find a provider near you, visit us at www.simpatra.health.
 http://hormonebalance.org/pdf/Glaser%20Dimitrakakis%20Beneficial.pdf (sent by Dr. Woodford)
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