Thursday, October 24, 2013

Hot flashes wiping you out?

Achieving the best female hormone balance is essential as women age. As the baby-boomer generation ages, I have found there is a great demand for natural treatments for symptoms such as hot flashes, so let’s talk a little bit about that. Traditionally coinciding with menopause, hot flashes can last 6 months to 5 years, however they may persist as long as 15 years. About 70% of women experience these during menopause. Hot flashes are postulated to be caused by a disordered hypothalamic function in response to a low estrogen environment. It has been suggested that they tend to be worse in individuals with compromised cardiovascular systems. Also, it has been found that traditional hormone replacement therapy can increase the duration of hot flashes and decrease the effectiveness of herbal remedies.
Herbal support is designed to assist the adjustment of the body during the menopause change. It also provides symptomatic alleviation of the effects of estrogen withdrawl. What kind of herbal remedies can be beneficial in decreasing hot flashes? The important herb is Sage, however Hawthorn and Motherwort can also be useful. Sage is traditionally found in tonic with Wild Yam Complex. Black Cohosh can be used as well, however special care must be taken as the contraindications with Black Cohosh can be extensive.
If hot flashes are aggravated by stress, Adrenal Complex should be added, and if hot flashes are a continued problem without stress, then Tribulus can be included in the treatment. In addition to hot flashes, menopause women can suffer from mood and stress imbalances, depression, sweating, fatigue, headaches, joint pain, poor memory and loss of confidence. Many of these can be linked to the fall in estrogen, however this is controversial at best. There are additional herbal remedies that can alleviate severity of these symptoms such as St. John Wart, False Unicorn, and Shatavari. Every woman is different, therefore these herbal recommendations could be more or less effective in different women, and prior to starting an herbal regiment, every woman should consult their primary care provider.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Migraines and food, what's the link?

Migraine:  A chronic neurological disorder characterized by recurrent   moderate to severe headaches often in association with a number of autonomic nervous system symptoms.

  • Every 10 seconds, someone goes to the ER with a headache or migraine.
  • Greater than 10% of the population, including children, suffers from migraines.
  • More than 90% of sufferers are unable to work or function normally during their migraine attacks.
  • American employers lose more than $13 billion each year as a result of 113 million lost work days from migraines.
  • About 10% of school-age children suffer from migraines.  Half have their first attack before the age of 12.
  • Children with migraines are absent from school twice as often as children without migraines.

It has long been known that there are food triggers for migraines, but do you know why? 
Food is a necessity in life, good food in… good functioning body results.  As a migraine sufferer, however, good food does not always give you that good functioning that you should expect.  Food, like anything you put in your body, is broken down into its most basic elements for the body to be able to turn it into new cells, energy, and essential things like hormones.  If your body has an allergy to something you consume, like wine for example, it will produce an immune reaction to protect itself instead.  Immune reactions can range from rashes to irritable bowel issues, to headaches.  

It is estimated that more than 85% of all headaches have an allergy as the origin, which can result in muscle spasms, chemical imbalances, and decreased overall functional ability.  And food, like anything else, can cause these changes in the body. 

So what are some of the worst foods for those that suffer from migraines?  Here’s a great list in no particular order of severity:

Cheese, sour cream, yogurt, chicken livers, smoked or pickled fish, raisins, chocolate, nuts, soy sauce (anything with MSG really), coffee, tea, soda, alcohol such as beer and wine.

If you suffer from migraines it is highly possible that there is one or more food allergens that are to blame.  To find out, begin by removing all these from your diet for 2 weeks.  Then add one item at a time back in with a minimum of three days in between new diet additions.  This will help to isolate which food offenders are to blame so you can avoid them or get treated for them with N.A.E.T. to resolve food allergies.