Jeanne Tripplehorn 06.10.1963

hot flashes

A Natural Remedy for Hot Flashes?? If you live in the LA area you might want to be part of this study.

10.22.12

Solution for Insomnia and Other Menopause Symptoms: Yoga?

12.1.11

A recent study in the journal Menopause found that post-menopausal women who participated in a yoga program reported less insomnia and fewer menopausal symptoms than those who did not.  These findings suggest that yoga might help ease those pesky menopausal symptoms!


The researchers assigned 44 post-menopausal women to three groups: 15 were assigned to do yoga twice a week, 14 women were assigned to a stretching program, and the last 15 did nothing . After four months, the women in the yoga group reported fewer symptoms than women who did nothing.

 

Now, before you get yourself tied into a knot, keep in mind that this was a small study and that there were no significant differences found between women in the yoga group and those in the stretching group on menopausal symptoms. It may be that the physical stretching alone could be beneficial. Yoga has been shown to help relieve stress and actually lead to changes in the body’s physiological response to stress via the sympathetic nervous system. At the very least both yoga and stretching allow you take a break from the daily grind to focus on how your body feels, increasing your mindfulness. These exercises usually encourage deep breathing, another scientifically supported method of stress relief. An added bonus: muscle movement and deep breathing can lead to a bump in the release of endorphins, those feel good neurochemicals that help relieve pain and stress.

 

So instead of rolling your eyes the next time you see those yoga groupies looking perfect in their Lululemon gear, you might consider joining them! We’re sure you can still roll your eyes while in downward doggy or whatever the heck they call that.

Feeling Alone in the Menopausal Abyss? Throw a Party!

11.13.11

Going through menopause not only can make you feel like you’re losing your marbles, it can also be pretty isolating. Memory lapses, irritability, fatigue, and a host of other physical symptoms can leave you frustrated, burnt out, and a acting little demented…which can send your friends and family hightailing it to the hills!

 

Instead of the typical social withdrawal, why not throw a party?


Ellen Sarver Dolgen, author of Shmirshky: the pursuit of hormone happiness, has been bringing women together to teach them about growing older with menopause-themed parties. Or, as we call them here, menoParties!  It’s a time to vent, share your menoPaused moments, get informed, feel supported,  and boost each other up, all while having a merry time.

 

Not unlike a support group, these shindigs  can help to “normalize” your menopause experience. This is psychology speak for: you’re not the only one going through this and you’re not a freak of nature…you’re simply menopausal.  And you can share how it’s anything but simple with women who get it.

 

Want to throw a menoParty of your own? Invite your gal pals over, have some tasty eats and sips, and read through Menopause Mind together for  titillating discussion topics! (How’s that for a plug?)

More Hot Flashes Early in Menopause, Lower Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke

2.26.11

Oh boy! Could it be? Another health benefit of those pesky hot flashes?


A study of 60,000 women over 10 years found that women who reported experiencing hot flashes early on in menopause reported significantly fewer heart attacks than women who experienced hot flashes later on in the process and those who never had flare ups. Existing research had suggested that hot flashes may be associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, but these findings show that there is more to the story than previously thought–such as the timing of hot flashes.  Added bonus: Dr. Szmuilowic and her research team also found a decreased risk for stroke among the early flushers.


Although more research is needed to examine underlying factors of these links, thinking about when you’ve had flushes may be important. If you’ve had hot flashes later on in menopause, or none at all, it may be wise to talk to your doctor about your ticker.


For more information, here’s an ABC News piece on the study.


Hot Flashes May be Linked to Reduced Risk of Breast Cancer

2.1.11

Most women don’t look forward to hot flashes…they probably dread them. Well, there is some early evidence from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle that suggests that women who experience hot flashes may be at reduced risk for developing breast cancer–as much as 50% lower risk!


Women betwen the ages of 55 and 75 were asked about their menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, sleep disturbances, changes in mood, and vaginal dryness. The only symptom statistically associated with breast cancer risk was hot flashes. This lends support to the idea that the higher the estrogen level, the higher the breast cancer risk.


Keep in mind that this is early evidence– which in research speak means that we’ll need more studies to see if there are other factors that may be contributing to the lower risk.  You should still continue screening for breast cancer. But maybe the next time you heat up, this information can give you a little piece of mind.

Hot Flashes, Hot Flushes, Night Sweats: “Hot Women” Takes On New Meaning

5.30.10

 

I will never forget my first major hot flash. I was in my office interviewing a distinguished and very serious couple who were clearly distressed about the wife’s memory problems. As I was addressing their concerns in my most professional manner—WHAMMM! Suddenly my heart began to race, and my whole body was on fire,   I turned bright red and the sweat started pouring down my face.   My wool suit became unbearably itchy and I wanted nothing more than to rip off my clothes and put my head in the sink.  Instead, I calmly took out a tissue, wiped my face and tried to ignore the husband’s horrified expression.


 

Do you know why we have hot flashes during perimenopause? You’re not alone; no one else does either. That’s why there isn’t a pill specifically designed for hot flashes. When a drug company gets close, I’m buying up their stock. Can you imagine the demand?


 

What we call hot flashes, hot flushes and night sweats are all vasomotor symptoms. These vasomotor symptoms occur in about 88% of perimenopausal women and 74% of menipausal women.   For some women they diminish after one year – for some women they last 30 years!!


 

What we do know is that we have a thermostat in our bodies that closely regulates our body temperature.  We have also known for some time that estrogen plays a key role in hot flashes which is why Estrogen Replacement Therapy (ERT) is viewed as the most effective tried and true method for controlling them.


 

Here’s the good news for us “Hot Women”: now that we are beginning to understand how other factors such as neurotransmitters affect our thermostat we have additional ways to combat hot flashes.


 

Anti-depressant medications, specifically those that alter neurotransmitters (such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors – SSRIs) can reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes by up to 50%.  A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology* reported that SSRIs have been shown to minimize hot flashes, but it seems that citalopram (A.K.A  Celexa or Cipramil) might stand out above the rest. The added benefit is that SSRIs have been shown to improve mood, sleep, anxiety and overall quality of life in menopausal women.


 

Unfortunately, so many women I know refuse to go on SSRI’s because they consider it admitting defeat or failure.  But, like in most areas, women need to let themselves off the hook.  They need to admit that their neurotransmitters are out-of-wack and that it’s not their fault.  The simple fact is that SSRI’s can help to give you back your premenopausal self. So if you’re feeling particularly steamy these days, go make an appointment with your doctor and check out your options.