Hot flashes are symptomatic of certain hormonal changes caused by cancer treatment. These sudden waves of heat can vary in intensity from subtle warmth to extreme overheating. They can occur only once a day or four times an hour. Hot flashes may disturb sleep multiple times a night, with mild to intense sweating. Sufficient rest from consecutive hours of sleep is important for overall health and function of our body systems. Hence disruptive night sweating can compromise our health in many ways. At Integrative Acupuncture in Montpelier, VT, we provide effective treatment with acupuncture and appropriate herbal formulas to help manage hot flashes and night sweating.
Western Medical Treatment of Hot Flashes
Hormones may be suddenly suppressed during cancer treatment because of removal of estrogen-producing organs, for example, or from the use of certain medications. If the resulting hot flashes become unbearable and disrupt daily functioning, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is often recommended. The strategy is to replace estrogen and/or progesterone.
There are benefits and risks in doing this and sometimes the risks outweigh the potential relief. Some tumors, like in the breast or uterus, can be estrogen dependent, so adding estrogen will increase the risk the cancer recurrence. Also, there may be a greater risk of heart disease, blood clots or stroke. When HRT is not an option, Chinese Medicine is a likely alternative with good evidence of effectiveness.
How Chinese Medicine Understands Hot Flashes
At Integrative Acupuncture, we stimulate specific points on the body to strengthen and allow better circulation. This creates a better homeostasis, which results in reduced hot flashes and night sweats. We also commonly employ certain combinations of Chinese herbs that have been used for hundreds of years for this purpose. The providers at Integrative Acupuncture are amongst few herbalists in the state to achieve certification with the state of Vermont to provide natural and safe herbal remedies.