Posts made in November, 2015

Is It So Hot In Here? If You Are In Menopause, It Could Be The Jolt Of Java

The best part of waking up for millions of individuals is the cozy warmth and eye-opening boosts of energy that are delivered from their coffee cups. For one segment of the population, however, the caffeine sipping ritual can result in unwanted suffering. If you are in the throes of menopause and experiencing frequent and extreme hot flashes and night sweats, your coffee breaks could be the culprit.

The Consequences of Caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant on the central nervous system, affecting the body in several ways. Some of the effects of caffeine consumption include the following:

  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Stress
  • Increased heart rate
  • Disruption of mineral absorption

When your hormone levels alter during menopause, your body becomes increasingly sensitive to the above effects of caffeine, elevating your risks for heart disease and osteoporosis. Caffeine may also be prompting your hot flashes and night sweats, two common symptoms of menopause.

Experiencing Hot Flashes

Hot flashes are characterized by sudden and temporary bouts of feeling extremely hot, perspiring and appearing flushed. Some women also experience an increase in heart rate during a hot flash. Since caffeine raises your heart rate, imbibing coffee throughout the day can exacerbate the elevation in your heart rate when a hot flash strikes. Night sweats are essentially hot flashes that occur during the nighttime hours, causing disruptions in sleep. Women who experience night sweats often awaken to find their sleep attire, hair and bedding damp with perspiration.

Curb Your Caffeine

The specific cause of hot flashes and night sweats remains a mystery, but several triggers have been identified, including caffeine, alcohol and tobacco. While you may still be able to continue your morning cup of java, you should consider curbing your intake of coffee, tea and energy drinks for the remainder of the day. This goes for hot and iced variations alike. However, the hot chocolate or tea that you relish on a chilly winter afternoon can trigger hot flashes by warming your core body temperature as well as by infusing caffeine into your system.  

Phase the Cola Fizz Out of Your Diet

Remember to avoid drinking carbonated beverages that contain caffeine as well. In fact, steering clear of cola offers a secondary benefit in addition to reducing hot flashes and night sweats. Colas contain phosphoric acid, which absorbs calcium from your bones. The risk of developing osteoporosis peaks after menopause, which means that taking steps to preserve bone density is essential in preventing fractures.

Caffeine Lurks Beyond the Mug

While the most common sources of caffeine that Americans consume are coffee and cola, be aware that other substances contain the stimulant. For instance, if you are contemplating the use of weight loss drugs, opt for an exercise regimen instead. Weight loss pills contain caffeine, as do these other products:

  • Chocolate, including baking chocolate, chocolate candies and chocolate flavored treats
  • Coffee flavored ice cream and other treats
  • Alcoholic beverages, such as beers and liqueurs, that are flavored with coffee or chocolate
  • Tea, including green tea
  • Energy drinks
  • Some over-the-counter pain relievers

Every woman is impacted differently by the amount of caffeine that she consumes. If you suffer from frequent hot flashes throughout the day, try avoiding all caffeine for a week. If your hot flashes are reduced in number or in intensity, then you know that caffeine is one of your triggers that you should consume sparingly as an occasional indulgence. 

For more information, contact Women First OBGYN or a similar organization.

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Physical Therapy Treatments That Go Beyond Exercises

If you are trying to regain your strength after being injured, you are likely going to a physical therapist or a physical rehabilitation center. This is an important step in making sure that you regain your full range of motion and full strength levels. However, the basic physical exercises of physical therapy might not be enough for your particular injury. Here are some physical therapy treatments that go beyond exercising the injured muscle or limb and increase the efficacy of the exercises.  

1. Ultrasound Treatment

One option is to use ultrasonic sound waves to help get your ligaments to heal more quickly. The way it works is that the physical therapist uses a wand that transmits the ultrasonic sound waves and places the wand directly on your skin above the area where you need the ligaments to heal. The waves loosen up the ligaments and make them easier to move. This allows you to perform the exercises prescribed by your physical therapist with less pain and more motivation, since you know that every exercise you do is going to be more effective now that you are using the ultrasound treatment.

2. Traction Treatment

If you are suffering from back pain, you might be prescribed traction treatment in addition to your normal exercises. Traction treatment is when a chiropractor or other person who is certified to readjust your body separates your vertebrae by moving a spreading motion on the skin that is located directly above them. This type of treatment is best for those who have herniated discs and are in a great deal of pain as a result. This is a great treatment because it allows you to strengthen your back by performing the exercises without being in a tremendous amount of pain while you are doing the exercises.

3. Electrical Stimulation Treatment

A third option is electrical stimulation treatment. This type of treatment is most effective for people who have suffered a traumatic injury and have nonfunctioning muscles. The way this treatment works is that your therapist applies an electrical current to your muscles that will cause them to contract. This essentially gets the muscle moving again and allows you to perform your exercises at a level that is closer to normal and increases the amount of strength that you gain. This is a great treatment for those who have had hip or knee replacement surgery.

For more information, talk to a local physical therapist, such as one from Cypress Cove Care Center.

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