Traditional medical practice has been to diagnose the hot flash issue of menopause as strictly a hormonal issue – low estrogen. The standard solution has been HRT – Hormone Replacement Therapy. However the issue of a much higher danger from cancer has put that solution under scrutiny and many women’s groups advise caution or avoidance.
Functional medicine advocates have done research that shows that adrenaline may actually be a major cause of hot flashes. If the adrenaline level is chronically high (i.e. you spend a lot of time stressed out), any drop in the estrogen level will trigger a flash.
Addressing The Problem's Source
If you lead a busy, hectic life, your adrenal hormones tend to be out of balance, so as soon as your estrogen starts to fall you start getting flashes. That’s why it’s important to look at your adrenal function as well as estrogen levels when trying to manage menopausal symptoms.
Diet is also a factor. When you eat sugary, starchy foods, your glucose level goes up. Your insulin kicks in to control it; when the insulin rises, cortisol goes with it. Cortisol is a hormone from the adrenal glands, and when it goes up and there’s no estrogen around to balance it, it triggers the same flashing that adrenaline does.
At Active Edge we believe that many menopausal issues, particularly hot flashes, can be addressed by modifying dietary practices and other lifestyle issues. We work to educate our female patients and to help them learn and have support for how to change diet and lifestyle.