Why do I get cold flashes instead of hot flashes?

ANSWER: Beware, Doctor Speak

                Traditionally, women near or at the age of menopause experience hot flashes, a debilitating symptom that can disrupt a woman’s quality of life at any age.  A lesser heralded symptom of cold flashes, however, also needs to be addressed.  The mechanisms that lead to hot/cold flashes can vary, but it typically begins in glands of the body where hormones are depleted such as hypothalamus and pituitary, followed by a Vagal nerve reaction that triggers symptoms[1].  Sometimes, the hormone depletion is accelerated through medications, age, stress, diet, chemicals or even immune challenges.

                When both estrogen and progesterone decrease right around perimenopause, women start to lose bone density (knowing that estrogen packs bones), which means blood flow, circulation AND the humoral (from the bone) immune system decreases.  From there the sentinel guard of the whole body is compromised, allowing for more influx of toxins and microbes.  If you have adequate blood flow and oxygen but the brain is wide open to attack?  You end up with hot flashes thanks to the heat brought on by your immune system (keep in mind that both pituitary and hypothalamus glands are not protected by the blood brain barrier).  If you are dealing with cancer of some sort or are using medications such as opioids[2], your Natural Killer cells and the entire white blood cell (WBC) count goes down, you may end up with cold flashes because the mitochondria is shut down from lack of resistance to intruders, be it chemicals or viruses.

                A general guideline to support the body’s nutrition is paramount.  This includes vitamins A, C, D, E and teas that produce GABA neurotransmitter, as they are important nutrients for the immune system and serve as precursors to hormones.  Herbs such as Black Cohosh[3], Chaste Tree[4] and Wild Yam will be helpful in alleviating symptoms.  Bladderwrack and Red Clover will be crucial in restoring the lymphatics and bone, while supporting the Thyroid gland in immune function[5]. Eat a healthy diet that includes good fats such as coconut oil, evening primrose oil and avocado[6].  Eat lots of fruits and vegetables but avoid eggs, dairy, gluten and nuts as they feed the viruses that create problems.  It is not the job of this post to comment on medications and other conditions, therefore please consult with your doctor to determine the best course of action, including anything that has to do with detoxification.                                         

Stay safe and healthy!

Dr. Pei


[1] Kharrazian, D. (2018). Mastering Brain Chemistry Lectures. California. Apex Energetics Seminars.

[2] Vilar-González, S., Pérez-Rozos, A., & Cabanillas-Farpón, R. (2011). Mechanism of hot flashes. Clinical and Translational Oncology, 13(3), 143-147.

[3] Kanadys, W., Leszczyńska-Gorzelak, B., & Oleszczuk, J. (2008). [Efficacy and safety of Black cohosh (Actaea/Cimicifuga racemosa) in the treatment of vasomotor symptoms--review of clinical trials]. Ginekologia polska, 79(4), 287-296.

[4] Rotem, C., & Kaplan, B. (2007). Phyto-Female Complex for the relief of hot flushes, night sweats and quality of sleep: randomized, controlled, double-blind pilot study. Gynecological endocrinology: the official journal of the International Society of Gynecological Endocrinology, 23(2), 117-122.

[5] van de Weijer, P., & Barentsen, R. (2003). Isoflavones from red clover (Promensil) significantly reduce menopausal hot flush symptoms compared with placebo. Maturitas, 42(3), 187-193.

[6] Farzaneh, F., Fatehi, S., Sohrabi, M., & Alizadeh, K. (2013). The effect of oral evening primrose oil on menopausal hot flashes: a randomized clinical trial. Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 288(5), 1075-1079.