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August 6, 2019 BlogHot Flashes

Hot flashes are sudden feelings of warmth. Your skin might redden, as if you’re blushing. Hot flashes can also cause sweating, and if you lose too much body heat, you might feel chilled afterward. Although other medical conditions can cause them, hot flashes most commonly are due to menopause. Hot flashes are the most common symptom of the menopausal transition. Frequency of hot flashes can range from a few a week to several an hour. They can be mild or severe enough to interfere with qualify of life. There are a variety of treatments for particularly bothersome hot flashes.

 

Symptoms

During a hot flash, you might have a sudden feeling of warmth, a flushed appearance with red blotchy skin, rapid heartbeat, perspiration, a chilled feeling as the hot flash lets up.

 

Causes

The cause of hot flashes isn’t known, but it’s likely related to several factors. These include changes in reproductive hormones and in your body’s thermostat, which becomes more sensitive to slight changes in body temperature.

 

Complications

Nighttime hot flashes (night sweats) can wake you from sleep and, over time, can cause chronic insomnia. There is some association with hot flashes and increased risk of heart disease and bone loss.

 

Don’t suffer in silence!

Diagnosis

Your doctor can usually diagnose hot flashes based on a description of your symptoms. Your doctor might suggest blood tests to check whether you’re in menopausal transition. Before your appointment: make a list of your symptoms, how many hot flashes you have a day and how severe they are, medications, herbs, vitamins and supplements you take, including doses, questions to ask your doctor.

 

Treatment

Discuss the pros and cons of various treatments with your doctor. There are prescription and non-prescription medications available. Hot flashes subside gradually for most women, even without treatment, but it can take several years for them to stop.

 

Lifestyle and home remedies

If your hot flashes are mild you may be able to manage them with lifestyle changes without medication.  Keep cool.  Dress in layers so that you can remove clothing when you feel warm. Use a fan or air conditioner. Lower the room temperature. Sip a cold drink.  Watch what you eat and drink. Hot and spicy foods, caffeinated beverages, and alcohol can trigger hot flashes.  Relax. Meditation; slow, deep breathing; or other stress-reducing techniques may help.  Don’t smoke. Smoking is linked to increased hot flashes. as well as your risk of many serious health conditions,  Lose weight. If you’re overweight or obese, losing weight might help ease your hot flashes.

 

Mind and body approaches

A growing body of evidence suggests that certain techniques can help ease hot flashes. Mindfulness meditation: This type of meditation has you focus on what’s happening from moment to moment. Acupuncture: Some studies indicate that acupuncture might reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes. Hypnosis: Some research indicates that hypnosis might help relieve hot flashes. Cognitive behavioral therapy: This type of talk therapy may help you cope better with hot flashes.

 

Dietary supplements

People often assume that “natural” products cause no harm. However, all supplements may have potentially harmful side effects, and supplements can also interact with medications you’re taking for other medical conditions. Always review what you’re taking with your doctor.

 

Clinical trials

Research is underway to find new and better treatments for managing hot flashes.  This may be an especially attractive option if your hot flashes are frequent and severe enough to interfere with your quality of life.  Research can give you an option other that hormone therapy, for those that wish to avoid hormones.

 

Written by: Julia Baker, RN, CCRC

Resource: www.mayoclinic.org

 

 


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January 1, 2016 BlogHot Flashes

Hot flashes and night sweats, medically known as vasomotor symptoms (VMS), are the most commonly reported menopausal symptom. A hot flash is “characterized by a sudden increase of blood flow, often to the face, neck, and chest, that causes the sensation of extreme heat and profuse sweating.” 1 Hot flashes are currently being studied around the world to better understand them. The great news for women struggling to deal with them is that answers are being found! Studies have already helped to clarify possible causes, what may trigger them, how they may relate to other health problems, how they affect quality of life, and what can be done to decrease them.

In a clinical trial of more than 3,000 midlife women, 60-80% experienced hot flashes at some point during the transition to menopause. During menopause, hormone levels fluctuate in the body, which has been shown to be associated with hot flashes.  Interestingly, scientists have found that even though all women have hormone changes during their menopause years, not all women have hot flashes.  Therefore, other factors must be involved, and further studies are needed.

Research has found that symptomatic women have small changes in core body temperature.  This is believed to trigger the body’s mechanisms to cool the body, resulting in sweating and hot flashes.  However, the promise of understanding and relieving hot flashes lies in continued research.

Women with hot flashes may be able to participate in helping to find answers which can lead to better treatments.  To learn more about current clinical trial opportunities for Hot Flashes, and other conditions please contact our office.

Sources:

  1. http://www.obgyn.net/menopause/managing-menopause-part-1-vasomotor-symptoms
  2. NIH.gov

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Changes in mood are very common after childbirth. In fact, many new moms experience what is often called the baby blues, which can include mood swings, crying episodes, difficulty sleeping and anxiety. Baby blues usually only lasts up to a few weeks.  However, feeling intensely depressed, overwhelmed, or anxious, could be something called postpartum depression, or PPD.

 

Postpartum Depression is a type of depression that can occur both during and after childbirth.  It can consist of both major and minor depressive episodes and is thought to be caused by a combination of hormonal changes and fatigue due to pregnancy. Common symptoms include: feelings of sadness, hopelessness, loss of interest or pleasure, agitation or anxiety. PPD is one of the most common medical complications during pregnancy and the postpartum period. “According to the Centers for Disease Control, 11 to 20% of women who give birth each year have postpartum depression symptoms. If you settled on an average of 15% of four million live births in the US annually, this would mean approximately 600,000 women get PPD each year in the United States alone.” 1

 

In 58% of the women who develop PPD, the onset begins prior to delivery, with the remaining starting within 4 months of delivery. There are multiple risk factors for PPD, the most common include: a past history of depression, stress, poor social and financial support, young age, and single marital status. It is important to identify pregnant and postpartum women with depression because untreated PPD and other mood disorders can have devastating effects on women, babies, and families. Each expectant mother should be aware of the risks of PPD and should be proactive in procuring help.  There are several screening tools used now by most obstetricians and hospitals on a routine basis in order to identify women with depression symptoms.

 

If diagnosed with PPD, there are multiple treatment options available including psychological therapy, pharmaceutical therapy or a combination of both. Presently, the pharmaceutical treatments on the market consist of either tricyclic antidepressants and/or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Fluoxetine or Sertraline.  We are now researching new ways to treat PPD with the hormones allopregnanolone and ganaxolone. Allopregnanolone is the neurosteroid metabolite of progesterone and is thought to play a major role in returning the body to equilibrium after trauma. Ganaxolone is the synthetic equivalent of allopregnanolone. Hopefully, these new medications will become the next golden standard to PPD care.

 

We are starting two new clinical trials for Postpartum Depression (PPD) with these hormones at our Jacksonville location. If you know an expectant mother or someone experiencing PPD please have them call (904)730-0166 to learn more about our clinical trial opportunities. If you live near our Nature Coast offices, please talk with your doctor and visit clinicaltrials.gov for clinical trials near you.

 

1: https://postpartumprogress.org/the-facts-about-postpartum-depression/


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