The transition through menopause is good news for many women who are more than happy to say goodbye to their monthly menstrual cycles. For 75% of women, however, that good news is short-lived, as they go on to struggle with hot flashes and night sweats, often for many years.
At Serrano OBGyn, Dr. Christopher Serrano and our team specialize in helping women navigate every stage of their reproductive lives, including menopause. While some women sail through this transition without incident, most experience unpleasant side effects, including hot flashes.
Here’s a look at why women get hot flashes during and after menopause and what we can do to prevent them.
Turning up the heat
Menopause is the transition out of your reproductive years, and it’s marked by the shutting down of your ovaries. While your ovaries were responsible for releasing your eggs, they also produced critical reproductive hormones, including estrogen and progesterone, and the sudden drop in these levels can affect systems outside of reproduction.
Researchers still don’t understand the exact link between the drop in estrogen and hot flashes, but they believe that the absence of this hormone leads to hypersensitivity in your hypothalamus, which acts as your body’s thermostat.
Anytime this system registers heat, it sets off a chain reaction, including sweating, which is your body’s way of cooling down. As you approach and pass through menopause, this system can go a little haywire, for lack of a better term, causing you to suddenly flush with heat and sweat periodically throughout the day and night.
As we mentioned, this side effect is the most common — 75% of women report some experience with hot flashes and night sweats. For many, these symptoms can endure for years, leaving them to struggle with ongoing problems with unwelcome sweat, discomfort, and lack of sleep.
Turning the heat back down
While there are techniques for managing hot flashes, the only solution for preventing them in the first place is to regulate your hormone levels through hormone replacement therapy. In fact, the North American Menopause Society reports that hormone replacement therapy is, “the most effective treatment for menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness.” They also say the therapy is most effective for women between ages 51-60 and can be used for five or more years.
To that end, we offer hormone optimization therapies, including BioTE® bioidentical hormones, which are molecularly identical to your natural hormones. We deliver these hormone replacements through slow-release pellets that we place under your skin. Over the course of several months, the pellets ensure a steady stream of hormones to regulate many of your systems again.
Once your pellets run out, we simply set you up with another round, making any tweaks to ensure that your goals are being met.
If you’d like to learn more about how hormone replacement therapy can help prevent hot flashes, please contact our office in San Antonio, Texas, to set up an appointment.