Hot Flashes: Is It Menopause? Or Is It Your Thyroid?
The summer heat can make just about anyone uncomfortable; especially the Texas summer heat we are currently experiencing. But if you notice yourself sweating more or unusually hot most of the time, maybe it’s not the heat – perhaps it’s your thyroid gland.
Your thyroid gland is the butterfly-shaped gland located in the on the front of your neck that regulates your body’s metabolic rate and internal thermostat. When your thyroid isn’t functioning properly, not only will you feel your body temperature a bit off, but you can also feel abnormally fatigued, anxious and depressed as well.
Your thyroid gland produces the thyroid hormone, which increases the rate of metabolism and heat production in your body. It also helps your body to increase oxygen consumption and stimulating enzymes, which is how it has a thermogenic effect on the body.
Fortunately, while this may seem overwhelming, the good news is that you can balance your hormones naturally with certain lifestyle changes and bio-identical hormone replacement therapy.
When it comes to your thyroid gland, there are two common conditions you may experience: hypothyroidism (low thyroid function) or hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid function).
Do you keep a sweater with you at all times? Are you cold no matter where you are or what time of year it is? Do your hands and feet feel cold at all times? If so, there is a large possibility you are experiencing hypothyroidism, or low thyroid function.
We see patients every day that have low thyroid function. These patients typically have an increased sensitivity to cold temperatures and are always cold. Additionally, they are extremely fatigued, have thinning hair or hair loss, experience dry skin and brittle nails, as well as brain fog, weight gain, constipation and even depression.
On the other hand, we see patients who have the exact opposite symptoms. This is referred to as hyperthyroidism and this happens when the body produces too much thyroid hormone. These higher amounts of thyroid increases your body’s processes, which can increase your heartbeat, make you break a sweat and even cause spontaneous hot flashes. Those with hyperthyroidism are typically always warm to the touch, hence the spontaneous hot flashes they experience.
While many relate hot flashes to menopause, and rightfully so as that is one of the number one symptoms, it is important to not dismiss your thyroid when considering treatment options for hot flashes.
Below are some of the best, most natural methods for caring and supporting your thyroid gland:
- Focus on your diet. Eat nutrient-rich foods that are high in healthy fats, low in sugar and are also anti-inflammatory. Foods such as Brazil nuts, spinach, eggs and organic turkey and chicken all help support your thyroid gland nutritionally. Limit the amount of carbohydrates you eat daily and try adding foods that are high in B vitamins, such as organic fruits and vegetables.
- Reduce your stress levels. Emotional and physical stress can be incredibly detrimental to your health. Our bodies become overworked and are in a constant state of “fight or flight”, which can have long-term negative effects on your thyroid and adrenal glands. I suggest natural stress relievers, such as exercise, yoga, meditation, going for a walk and getting plenty of sleep each night. Two natural supplements I also recommend for natural stress relief are Tranquility and Kavinace, which both help to ease tension, relax your mind and body, as well as decrease overall physical and emotional stress.
- Stay cool and hydrated. If you are experiencing hot flashes, or find yourself to be especially hot during the summer months, make the extra effort to drink plenty of fluids, eat hydrating foods (such as cucumbers and melons) and avoid direct sunlight during the heat of the day.
- Have your hormone levels tested. Chances are if you are experiencing hot flashes, you are suffering from menopause or sub-optimal thyroid function…or both. The only way to know for sure is to get your hormone levels tested and speak to your physician about the symptoms you are experiencing.
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This content was originally published here.