When oestrogen levels drop at the end of your reproductive years, this is the sign that your natural reproductive life is ending and causes the ovaries to run out of follicles (eggs). It is these follicles within the ovaries that produce the vast majority of oestrogen and all of the progesterone. But the issue is not JUST these changing hormonal levels, it is the fact that ALL of our hormones work together in the body.
Low oestrogen and progesterone impact on the temperature regulation hormones in your body as well. Hot flushes occur because the body’s thermostat does not function as well when it is deprived of oestrogen. It also becomes worse when melatonin (your sleep hormone) is reduced with the changing hormonal environment too and high levels of stress (cortisol) can also impact your hot flushes.
So why is it that some women experience hot flushes and/or night sweats leaving them sleepless, whilst other women don’t?
Here are a few things that might help you cool your furnace:
1) INSULIN is a hormone which influences hot flushes. The pancreas secretes the hormones insulin and glucagon, which help to regulate your blood sugar levels. For many perimenopausal and menopausal women, their eating habits can impact the severity and regularity of their hot flashes. When your intake of sugar and starchy foods and drinks is high, insulin is released to transport the sugars and starches to various organs. This in turn generates a host of other metabolic actions and reactions in the body, including the need for your hypothalamus, thyroid and adrenals to respond to your blood sugar levels.
2) The adrenal glands (situated on top of your kidneys), continue to produce sex hormones post menopause, but they also produce your STRESS hormones. Overactive adrenals cause havoc on your thyroid hormones which in turn influences your heat regulatory mechanism. To manage your hot flushes you have to manage your stress hormones (cortisol)
3) The connection between your THYROID and ADRENALS influences the severity and frequency of your hot flushes. The health of your adrenals influences your thyroid function which in turn influences your hypothalamus (heat regulation centre in your brain). The hypothalamus controls appetite, sleep cycles, hormones and body temperature. This interconnection is critical for understanding how to reduce the severity and frequency of your hot flushes.
4) The regulation of hot flushes also requires your Vitamin D and sleep hormones (melatonin and Growth Hormone) to be under control. Vitamin D3 impacts our calcium production and serotonin levels. Serotonin controls mood so low serotonin levels are also known to contribute to poor mental health and depression. Also, serotonin assists in regulating heat, so optimal Vitamin D3 levels are important for assisting thyroid function which helps to control metabolism and heat regulation in the body. If you want a good night’s sleep, then you must manage your circadian rhythms, exercise daily and manage your levels of Vitamin D3.
It helps if you keep a Hot Flush Diary so that you can understand YOUR triggers. Hope this helps. Let me know how you get on.