Volume 1, Issue 14
December 11, 2008
What hot flashes say about your body — and how to get rid of them
Conventional medicine has really confused women who suffer with hot flashes. First, they tell women they need hormone replacement therapy. Then they tell them HRT causes heart disease. But they still prescribe the drugs. It's no wonder women are confused.
To make matters worse, conventional medicine can't even tell the difference between hormones and drugs. Three years ago when the Women's Health Initiative revealed that the risk of developing heart disease was increased in women taking hormones, everyone believed the researchers were actually talking about hormones. But they weren't. They were talking about the drug Provera. This is a synthetic drug, not a real hormone. Progesterone is a hormone, but Provera is not progesterone by a long shot. So to call it hormone therapy is deceptive.
All the Women's Health Initiative did was prove that giving a woman a drug called Provera (or another drug called Prempro) increases her risk for stroke, heart attack, blood clots, and breast cancer. The moral? Avoid these drugs at all costs.
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So what should you do if you have hot flashes? By all means, take hormones. Just make sure that they are bio-identical hormones, and not drugs. Hot flashes are a clear symptom that your body isn't handling an estrogen deficiency well. This is a serious problem. The Women's Health Initiative recently reported that the more hot flashes a woman has after menopause, the greater her likelihood of developing heart disease. The worse the hot flashes are, the greater the risk. But why?
Hot flashes are a good indicator of the degree of sensitivity a woman has to estrogen deficiency. The greater the hot flashes, the more her body needs estrogen. And since estrogen deficiency is associated with increased heart disease risk, it stands to reason that hot flashes would be associated with the same risk.
I advise all of my postmenopausal patients to have their hormones replaced according to their need. Only about one in every 15 postmenopausal women doesn't need any estrogen replacement at all. For these women, their ovaries aren't producing estrogen, but their adrenal glands are able to fill the need.
So how do you know if you need hormones? If you have hot flashes, it's easy — you need them.ÿ It really is that simple. If you don't have hot flashes, however, that doesn't mean you don't need them.ÿ In that case the only real way to tell is by testing.ÿ
Another indicator that you need hormones is your bones.ÿ If you have a bone density test and the doctor tells you that your bones are becoming weak, he is really telling you that your hormone levels are too low to protect your bones.ÿ So if you're having hot flashes, do the safe thing, and see a doctor for bio-identical hormone replacement. There's no need to be confused anymore.
Finding your Real Cures,
Frank Shallenberger, MD