Eighty five percent of women suffer from hot flushes (or flashes) during the menopausal transition, making it the most commonly reported symptom in this change of life. The severity of the symptoms depends to a large degree on a woman’s dietary and lifestyle history. Approximately fifty per cent of the women, who do endure hot flashes, will experience them, to one degree or another, for five to ten years after the cessation of the period.
Western medicine understands hot flushing to be a sign of estrogen deficiency, and for over forty years now the established approach has been to treat “the disease of menopause” with synthetic hormones. The idea that menopause is a disease was specifically created as a marketing strategy and is patently absurd. Even so many women have reported that hot flushing seems to be the one symptom that HRT actually effects. The problems with hormone replacement therapy are becoming more and more well known, and consequently women who do suffer from hot flushing and menopausal night-sweats are looking for effective and safer approaches.
Traditional Chinese Medicine views menopause as the natural transition that leads a woman from the reproductive to the non-reproductive time in her life. At this age, hot flushing and night-sweats are caused in almost all cases by a deficiency in the kidneys. One who suffers such imbalances should understand that both diet and emotional stress will have a big impact on these symptoms. Worry, anxiety, and fear can weaken and even damage the liver which over time can deplete the kidneys even more, thus increasing the severity of the hot flushing. Junk foods, the wrong protein to carbohydrate balance, and too many sweets will elevate blood sugar levels, increase internal inflammation and only add to the severity of the flushing and sweats.
The fundamental approach of Traditional Chinese Medicine at this stage of life is to tonify and replenish the depleted kidney essence with natural substances that most closely resemble the ones in our bodies. Herbal medicine is truly natural medicine, most effective for replenishing kidney essence. Over the counter formulas based around Black Cohosh are effective in less severe instances of hot flushing. More severe cases usually involve deep kidney deficiency with secondary imbalances in the liver and heart that can exacerbate anxiety and impair sleep. Such people will get best results from an essence rich formula that specifically addresses their particular imbalance. Such formulas can be used in conjunction with HRT, if one so desires. Woman can, however, switch over to an herbal formula, eliminate HRT gradually over time, and in most cases be symptom free in approximately two months.