At the onset of menopause, typically around the ages of 50 to 55, women are very likely to experience hot flashes. Migraines, asthma, epilepsy, colitis, and high blood pressure can also occur or worsen when menopause starts–but these latter ailments are typically not considered to be related to menopause itself.
Hot flashes in particular have recently been recognized as a risk factor for increased inflammation, heart disease and dementia. Anxiety, insomnia and depression can also occur, even in men. Depression at this age is often treated psychologically rather than by pinpointing a biological cause.
Estrogen is now the typical treatment for menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, which were thought to be caused by estrogen deficiency. This is not the case, as a woman with hot flashes can still have as much estrogen in her body as a woman without them. There is clear evidence that hot flashes are instead caused by changes in how the brain regulates temperature, but mainstream medicine does not recognize it.
Estrogen is often considered to protect the circulatory system because it relaxes and dilates the veins, preventing high blood pressure. But this same effect is also what causes hot flashes, and doctors frequently fail to make the connection between estrogen’s effects and hot flashes.
Since the 1940s, it has been taught that menopause is the result of having no eggs in the ovaries, and therefore having less estrogen. Since hot flashes are a common symptom of menopause, estrogen replacement therapy was used to treat them. But this approach to treatment both ignores the fact that a woman with hot flashes can have normal levels of estrogen, and it also ignores other factors, such as a lack of progesterone.
Due to this way of thinking, supporters of estrogen got a lot of attention. The belief that estrogen was the best treatment for menopause spread through the media, and its negative effects–including inducing abortion–were ignored. Progesterone was also ignored and considered too expensive to fall into mainstream use.
While this misinformation continues, current medicine remains misguided about the cause of hot flashes. It’s commonly thought that the increased heat is a result of too much thyroid activity, but a woman’s body temperature actually lowers when she has a hot flash. This further implicates the dilating effects of estrogen as a cause of hot flashes.
It’s known that both breast cancer and endometrial cancer can result from getting too much estrogen. Estrogen is balanced out and opposed by progesterone, and women who were not producing enough progesterone in order to counter estrogen are at the greatest risk for endometrial cancer. It has also been shown that too much estrogen makes pregnancy impossible, and it stops ovaries from cycling in animals altogether.
Progesterone lozenges or progesterone cream, by limiting the effects of having too much estrogen, is effective for hot flashes, even after its use is stopped. Progesterone also helps balance blood sugar levels; this also helps with hot flashes, especially if they are severe. While progesterone lozenges deliver more progesterone they are only by prescription while a strong 10% progesterone cream can be purchased without prescription.
Click to see a list of progesterone creams.
Estrogen accumulates throughout various bodily tissues and organs as a person ages, and it is also excreted less efficiently. Too much estrogen can have adverse effects on the brain, circulatory system, kidneys, and liver. Estrogen is associated with increasing cortisol, a stress hormone. Cortisol can have many negative effects on the body, and it works with estrogen to cause various chemical reactions which cause hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. Progesterone in the form of lozenges or creams is a way you can prevent the harmful effects of estrogen on the body.