I am pleased to provide my readers with this guest post by SHARE Cancer Support, a non-profit dedicated to providing support for those suffering from breast cancer or ovarian cancer.Natural Ways to Deal with Menopause and Hot Flashes Caused by Surgery for Ovarian Cancer
There are many changes a woman’s body goes through during menopause; however, for those women who have just had surgery to treat ovarian cancer, the effects of instant menopause can be exacerbated. The most bothersome effect for many women is the onset of hot flashes. There are many treatments women can try to find some relief, and following are some of the most effective natural ones:
Exposure to cold can help relieve a hot flash – sipping cold beverages and maintaining a cool environment. Dressing in layers can help women shed clothing quickly to deal with temperature changes; this also applies to layering sheets and blankets at bedtime. Sleeping in the nude also helps women dealing with the hot flashes of menopause by dissipating the heat of night sweats. Using cooling pillows, fans and gel cooling packs can also help considerably.
As a part of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture has been practiced for over 4,000 years, and is based on the idea that vital energy flows through the body along 20 pathways, or meridians. When a pathway is blocked, the body is thrown off balance. The goal of acupuncture is to remove blockages.
Many women have found relief from hot flashes with acupuncture, and many believe it can provide patients with significant relief from the side effects of cancer and treatment. Hot flashes are reported by many to decrease in frequency and in strength. One study among women with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer showed that acupuncture had the equivalent effects of venlafaxine, an anti-depressant, and the effects of acupuncture lasted longer than those of the drug.
Change Your Diet
Many women find that dietary changes can help relieve hot flashes by limiting or avoiding foods that trigger them. Certain foods that can trigger hot flashes include caffeine, spicy foods, chocolate, and alcohol. Women can also try eating more plant-based foods that contain phytoestrogens to reduce hot flashes; these phytoestrogens resemble estrogen and are found in nuts, soy products, legumes, and oil seeds. While some women reported a decrease in the severity of hot flashes, some reported that the number of hot flashes did not decrease.
Effectively managing and relieving stress can also be an effective way to deal with the hot flashes of menopause caused by surgery for ovarian cancer. Deep, paced breathing can reduce the frequency of hot flashes by 50%. Breath should come from deep inside the abdomen, at about six deep breaths per minute.
We’ve all heard of the “fight or flight” response – the term “relaxation response” is used to describe the opposite of the “fight or flight” response, and is characterized by a slower heart rate and measured breathing. Meditation, getting into a comfortable, relaxed position in a quiet room, and paced breathing are all effective at invoking this relaxation response, effectively decreasing the intensity and severity of hot flashes.
It’s important to keep in mind that just as every woman is unique, so too are her experiences with the methods used for coping with the symptoms of instant menopause after surgery for ovarian cancer. Your health care providers, your friends and family, support groups, and other support systems are excellent resources for learning more about the possibilities various treatments might be able to provide for you.
Thank you SHARE for these helpful tips!
(Dee's Note: Please be sure to check with your doctor before adding phytoestrogens / soy to your diet.)
Every Day is a Blessing!