Menopause can be a mixed bag for many women. Saying goodbye to monthly menstrual cycles is certainly a plus, but this gain can be quickly offset by some of the more uncomfortable side effects — especially hot flashes. These sudden heat-ups seemingly come out of nowhere, leaving you swinging from hot to freezing in just minutes.
At Shelnutt Gynecology, Dr. Judson Shelnutt and our team offer a wide range of gynecologic services to women during every stage of their lives. And when it comes to menopause, we’ve found great success in hormone therapies that ease the transition into the nonreproductive years.
Here’s a look at how hormone therapy can reduce the body temperature swings that create hot flashes and night sweats.
If you’re struggling with hot flashes and night sweats, it’s important to note that these are one and the same — except the latter occurs while you sleep.
The exact mechanism behind hot flashes and night sweats is a sudden widening of your blood vessels (dilation), which is your body’s way of shedding heat. In addition, your heart rate speeds up and you begin to sweat, which is how your body cools itself back down.
The reason for these sudden spikes in temperature is likely found in the precipitous drop in estrogen that comes with menopause. While the exact link is unclear, researchers believe that lower-than-normal levels of estrogen signal your hypothalamus — your internal “thermostat” — that you're too hot, which sets off the chain of events described above.
Not all women experience hot flashes, but many do in varying degrees of severity, frequency, and duration. If you’ve struggled with frequent hot flashes and night sweats for months, or even years, hormone therapy is a great way to reduce their impact.
Through hormone therapy, we use synthetic hormones to bring your estrogen and progesterone levels back up, which helps regulate your internal body temperature. We offer several different delivery methods for hormones, including:
To figure out which option is best for you, we review your symptoms, check your existing hormone levels, and come up with the best approach for your unique situation.
In addition to tackling hot flashes and night sweats with hormones, we also work with you on lifestyle changes that can help with the side effects of menopause. For example, smokers and obese women are more prone to hot flashes, so we recommend quitting smoking and weight loss as great ways to reduce hot flashes.
Many women are triggered by certain things, such as spicy foods, so we review your triggers and come up with a plan to avoid them. These lifestyle changes, along with hormone therapy, can go a long way toward easing your transition through menopause, allowing you to better enjoy your post-reproductive years.
To learn more about hormone therapy for hot flashes and menopause, contact our office in Athens, Georgia, by phone or online booking to set up an appointment today.