Fortunately going through menopause was no big deal for me. The ‘hot flashes’ that I experienced I could have probably counted on less than two hands. Lucky You! Some would be saying as for many women it is can be a most unpleasant time in their lives.
Hot flashes (also known as hot flushes, or night sweats if they happen at night) are a symptom of the changing hormone levels that are considered to be characteristic of menopause. A feeling of intense heat with sweating and rapid heartbeat, the sensation of heat is often accompanied by visible reddening of the face.
The hot-flush event may be experienced a few times each week, or constantly throughout the day. They can begin to appear several years before menopause starts and last for years afterwards. Some like me have mild or infrequent flushes and some may never have them at all.
Although men after the age of 40 tend to lose about 1% Testosterone a year, nearly all men retain enough testosterone in their life-time to prevent hot flashes.
However, men suffer from hot flashes during treatment for prostate cancer. About 70%–80% of men who receive androgen deprivation therapy for prostrate cancer experience hot flashes. Low testosterone is the culprit, but scientists don’t know just how reduced sex hormone activity produces the problem. The thermal control center in the part of the brain known as the hypothalamus appears responsible. (1)
Hormone Replacement Therapy that may relieve many of the symptoms of menopause. However, HRT may increase risks of breast cancer, endometrial cancer, the risk of stroke, and dementia and has other potentially serious short-terms and long-term risks. (2)
Hormonal treatments for male hot flashes have been studied, but there is a concern that they may affect prostate cancer growth and/or cause significant side effects. (3)
Other forms of treatment noted have been selective estrogen receptor modulators, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, isoflavones and other phytoestrogents.(4)
The International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis recently published a study by Gary Elkins, PhD et al. from Baylor University. They study focussed on whether the use of “cool” imagery during hypnosis can calm women’s hot flashes.
They had published a previous study in 2008 showing how breast cancer survivors experienced up to 68% reductions in hot flashes when utilizing hypnotic relaxation therapy.
The “cool” imagery in hypnosis study focussed on the type of imagery utilized by these study participants.
All participants chose images associated with coolness, with the most common themes being cool mountains, water, air or wind, snow, tress, leaves and forests.
The study boils down to this: each woman needs to have her hypnosis imagery tailored to match those that they would themselves generate. (5)
It is pleasing to note that hypnotherapy is gaining recognition showing that we are able to help in alleviating hot flushes/flashes through published articles that supports the type of work we do with our clients.
(1)Harvard Men’s Health Watch. August 2005, http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/Hot-flashes-in-men-An-update.htm
(2)Results for ‘HRT’ in All of FDA – http://google2.fda.gov/search?q=HRT&x=9&y=10&client=FDAgov&site=FDAgov&lr=&proxystylesheet=FDAgov&output=xml_no_dtd&getfields=*
(3)Mayo Clinic (2004, October 19). Hot Flashes In Men — Mayo Clinic Researchers Describe A Treatment. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 27, 2011, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2004/10/041019085808.htm
(5)NICABM, Buczynski R, 28th February 2011, Patients with Unbearable Hot Flashes? Try Cool Hypnosis, http://www.nicabm.com/nicabmblog/?p=1725