Relief in Mindfulness
Hot flashes affect up to 80% of women during the transition into menopause, ranging in severity from mildly irritating to significantly uncomfortable, depending on a variety of individual factors. Treating hot flashes with natural remedies has ballooned into a multi-million dollar industry in the last 10 years. There are numerous natural products marketed to 50-something females promising to cure hot flashes and night sweats while also promising to improve memory, libido, mood, and sleep. Unfortunately, most of these natural remedies fall quite short of these promises for the majority of women. While herbal remedies have been used successfully to support women going through menopause for many years, there is never a one-size fits all solution, particularly when it comes to hormone balancing in women.
One natural remedy that I have seen have universally positive effects on a very wide variety of women in my practice is mindfulness based stress reduction, a program that focuses on developing a mindful awareness of the present moment. Mindfulness based stress reduction is found to reduce levels of stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine, lower heart rate, lower blood pressure, and lower anxiety. In terms of menopause and hot flashes, mindfulness based stress reduction is associated with up to a 40% reduction in hot flashes in women going through menopause. This is likely due to the strong connection between stress hormones and hot flashes in many women. That means that taking herbs or hormones that focus only on raising female hormones, like estrogen, may not be enough to completely resolve hot flashes. Treating high levels of circulating stress hormone with proven stress management techniques can be an important component of easing the transition through menopause.
Cultivating mindful awareness of the present moment takes practice! Mindfulness based stress reduction is based on an 8 week course that teaches participants tools to use daily to help them “practice” being in the present moment. Yoga and other forms of meditation are also great tools to help one cultivate awareness of the present moment and lower stress hormone in the body. While practicing yoga or the meditations taught in mindfulness based stress reduction takes daily effort, and for most, is harder than popping a pill, these practices universally support optimal health. I have found in my own health and as well as in my patients’ health, a daily yoga and meditation practice has far exceeded our expectations in terms of the impact on our health. For my patients who are dealing with menopausal symptoms, I not only see improvements in their physical symptoms like fewer hot flashes and better sleep, but less anxiety and irritability and greater fulfillment and sense of purpose in their lives.
Please join Dr. Reddy on Monday, April 10th for an in-depth discussion about how to use natural remedies, including Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, herbs, and diet to treat hot flashes and other menopause related symptoms. She will also discuss the safety and use of hormone replacement therapy to treat menopausal symptoms.
Dr. Dhurga Reddy is a Naturopathic Doctor practicing in Costa Mesa, CA. She sees patients of all ages, with a particular focus on hormone balancing and pediatrics. She is passionate about educating and empowering her patients to live mindfully in order to help them achieve their highest level of health.