ALTERNATIVE TREATMENT FOR HOT FLUSHES

Hot flushes usually occur in women who are going through the menopause. The sensation occurs because the peripheral blood vessels expand and allow more warm blood from the centre of the body to reach the peripheral nerve endings, thus creating a sensation of heat. The dilation of the blood vessels occurs because of a dimunition of ovarian oestrogen and the fluctuating amounts made to compensate this loss by the adrenal glands. Oestrogen has exerted some control over the contraction of blood vessels since the start of the indivudual woman’s periods.

Hot flushes that occur away from the menopause are most commonly associated with anxiety. Nervous conditions, diseases of the liver and problems associated with an excess production of thyroxine or adrenaline may also be associated.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Hot flushes not associated with the menopause or anxiety should be investigated by your GP.

Avoid caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods and smoking, all of which can cause hot flushes in themselves and will certainly exacerbate the situation.

Wear only natural fibres next to the skin.

Increase the following foods in the diet: fennel, celery, rhubarb and any soya product (this may be contraindicated if the individual has a thyroid deficiency – please consult your complementary medical practitioner).

Try the following supplements at the recommended doses per foot of height in divided doses throughout the day with food: vitamin B6 (20 mg), zinc (5mgs; if this makes you feel nauseous, take the recommended dose in one go before sleeping at night) and Evening Primrose Oil (500mg).

The herb Agnus castus can be used by following the maximum dose recommended on a good brand. Phyto-oestrogens (plant-derived oestrogens) that have a mild oestrogenic effect can be used with safety except in those who are known to have an oestrogen-dependent cancer, and even then it is best to discuss this with a practitioner.

The following homeopathic remedies may be suitable and any one of these can be taken at potency 30 every 3hr for one week. If there is no improvement, please try the next remedy. If an effect is found, then reduce the dose of that remedy until the flushes return, step up in frequency and maintain on that level for one month: Belladonna, Agnus castus, Amyl nitrate, Lachesis, Pulsatilla and Sulphuric acid. • Persisting flushes may require the consideration of hormone replacement therapy. Before orthodox drugs are used, try natural progesterone in combination with natural oestrogen. This needs to be prescribed by a practitioner with experience in this area.

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