Alison

Menopause, Triggers, and the Hot Flash Cycle

What is a hot flash?

A hot flash is an instant warm feeling, usually most fiercely over the face, neck, and chest. Excessive sweating and a rapid heartbeat usually accompany these symptoms. Hot flashes are the most common symptom of and are synonymous with menopause. Approximately 75% of women living with menopause will experience hot flashes, as they are the most common symptom.  Each individual occurrence can last anywhere from 2 minutes to a half-hour.

What is menopause?

Menopause is the time in a woman’s life when her periods become erratic and then stop altogether due to the natural decline in hormones. This natural occurrence usually happens around the ages of 40 to 50 years old.

How does stress affect menopause and hot flashes?

Stressors during menopause can worsen symptoms because of the natural hormonal imbalances taking place. Often, hot flashes can disrupt sleep cycles which in turn can affect mood swings and mental health. Many women report experiencing hot flashes when they’re having an emotional response to something. This occurs because emotional responses make the blood rush towards the skin’s surface, in turn triggering the hot flashes. The fluctuation in hormones can affect mood swings, physical reactions, and even trigger relapsing mental illness. Everything from hot flashes to night sweats to fatigue and insomnia can be irritated and triggered by mood swings, which are the product of the imbalance in hormones. All these triggers are connected and can affect each other in an unrelenting intertwined cycle.

How can hot flashes be managed?

Staying hydrated and drinking the standard 8 cups of water a day is important for the management of hot flashes, as dehydration can increase the severity of hot flashes. Other tips include layering clothes, laying off spices, and [...]

Parents: Understanding Your Child’s Migraines

When considering the stereotypical migraine sufferer, you’d likely picture an adult. They could be suffering from migraines due to commonly known triggers like stress, alcohol consumption, or hormone imbalances. But did you know about 10% of children live with migraines? If your child were experiencing migraines, would you know how to tell? Don’t miss these common indications that your child may be experiencing migraines.

Children who experience migraines may disguise their symptoms as a coping mechanism to combat pain. For example, if a child experiences light or sound sensitivity, he or she may put on a pair of sunglasses to block the light, or earplugs to dull the noise. Migraines in children can cause severe throbbing pain which may lead to behavioral disturbances, such eating significantly less than normal, frequent crying, or excessive temper tantrums.

Migraines can cause nausea and vomiting, which can be easy to dismiss as an unrelated symptom, so make sure you’re paying attention to any and all changes in your child’s overall physical and emotional temperament. Migraine symptoms can last for hours to days, and the pain can be so severe that it may interfere with your child’s daily activities.

Migraines may come with additional side effects, commonly referred to as an aura. An aura is a symptom that can precede migraines or other neurological events. . Common visual auras include blurred or distorted vison, seeing zig-zag lines, blind spots, and lines or lights that may appear to be moving, flashing, or brightly colored. Children may be very susceptible to visual auras. Auras may last anywhere from 20-60 minutes. Aside from sight, auras can also influence other functions of the body, such as:

Slurred speech – changes in speech or losing the ability [...]

Managing Migraine Symptoms

A migraine can cause a severe pulsing sensation or a throbbing pain, usually on one side of the head. It’s often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Migraine attacks can last for hours to days, and the pain can be so severe that it interferes with daily life.

It is important to pay close attention to symptoms of a potential migraine in order to appropriately monitor and manage pain. If you or a loved one are experiencing chronic migraines, you’re probably familiar with the following symptoms, but do you know how to manage them?

Nausea

Due to intense pain in the temple region and the feeling of having heightened senses, nausea is common during a migraine. Vomiting is possible if a person with an active migraine is overwhelmed with nausea. These precautionary steps could help alleviate symptoms of nausea:

Loosen your clothing, especially around your stomach
Monitor your breathing, take slow deep breaths
Apply an ice pack to the head or neck
Avoid strong odors
Stay hydrated by taking small sips of water

Sound Sensitivity (Phonophobia)

Migraines may impact a person’s reaction to external stimuli. Because of this, a person having a migraine can become extremely sensitive to the sound around them. It is best to take these precautionary steps to limit sound:

Turn off or lower all digital noises within the area (television, radio, phone, etc.)
Find a quiet place to lay down away from external stimuli
Wear earplugs if noise cannot be limited within your area

Ocular migraine symptoms

Ocular migraine symptoms usually go away on their own within 30 minutes. It is recommended to rest your eyes until vision is regained. If a migraine lasts longer, this [...]

How to Cope with Independence Day PTSD Triggers

As America gears up for the 4th of July, it is important to remember that while we enjoy the cookouts, parades, and firework displays, for the millions of Americans struggling with PTSD, Independence Day can be very triggering. If you suffer from PTSD as a result of military combat or gun violence, make sure to follow these tips to have a safe and happy 4th of July.

Talk Openly with Your Neighbors

Ask your neighbors to let you know if they plan to light fireworks. Knowing ahead of time can prevent you from being caught off guard, which will minimize your risk of having anxiety or panic attacks. If you do not feel comfortable talking about this with your neighbors, ask a loved one to talk to them instead. Many people do not realize the implications of their Independence Day celebrations. Having a frank, honest, and respectful conversation can be very helpful, providing a fun and safe environment for both parties.

Create a Comfortable Environment

Think ahead of time to which people, places, and objects make you feel safe. Plan what you want to do or have during firework displays. Some popular techniques are:

White Noise: taking a shower, running a loud fan, having noise cancelling headphones, or playing nature sounds can help block out the noise and make you feel more comfortable.
Sometimes, sitting in a hard chair or on a flat surface with your back up against the wall can make those with PTSD feel safe.
Pick out soothing music or a favorite movie to distract you.
Find some photographs that give you joy.
Pull out a book, board game, or other activity to keep you busy.
Find a [...]

Vulvodynia

If you suffer from Vulvodynia you may qualify to participate in a clinical research study.

 

To learn more, call us at 410.602.1440 and fill out the information to the right. We will be in touch with you within 24 hours, Monday – Friday.

Pediatric and Adolescent Migraine

If you or a loved one suffer from Migraine you may qualify to participate in a clinical research study for pediatric and adolescent patients.

 

To learn more, call us at 410.602.1440 and fill out the information to the right. We will be in touch with you within 24 hours, Monday – Friday.

Migraine with Comorbid MDD

If you suffer from Migraines with MDD, you may qualify to participate in a clinical research study.

 

To learn more, call us at 410.602.1440 and fill out the information to the right. We will be in touch with you within 24 hours, Monday – Friday.

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

If you suffer from Major Depressive Disorder  you may qualify to participate in a clinical research study.

 

To learn more, call us at 410.602.1440 and fill out the information to the right. We will be in touch with you within 24 hours, Monday – Friday.

PTSD

If you suffer from PTSD, you may qualify to participate in a clinical research study.

 

To learn more, call us at 410.602.1440 and fill out the information to the right. We will be in touch with you within 24 hours, Monday – Friday.

Treatment-Resistant Depression: What You Need to Know

Depression is a very common, mental health condition that effects roughly 264 million people per year. If you have been treated for depression but your symptoms haven’t improved, you may have treatment-resistant depression. While anti-depressants and/or therapy help many depression sufferers, this alone isn’t enough for everyone. If you think you may have treatment-resistant depression, here’s what you need to know.

Risk Factors

Not all people with treatment-resistant depression fit the same profile, but there are risk factors that may increase the likelihood of one developing treatment-resistant depression, like age, gender, and medical history.

Women are at higher risk than men.
Senior citizens are at a higher risk than all other age demographics.
The more periods of depression one has in their life, the more likely they are to develop treatment-resistant depression.
Those living with certain medical conditions, like thyroid disease or chronic pain, are also at higher risk.

Diagnosis

Treatment-resistant depression can be hard to diagnose. If you think you might have it, consult with your doctor. They’ll likely take the following measures to confirm your diagnosis.

Rule out other mental health conditions like bipolar disorder or substance dependency, which can mirror the symptoms of depression.
Make sure you’ve been following the proper guidelines for your medication. If you’re not taking it regularly, it’s less likely to work.
Make sure you’ve been taking your medication long enough. Some can take up to 12 weeks to kick in.
Ensure your therapy is right for you. There are many therapies that work for different people, and the problem may be as simple as needing to change which therapy you use.

Treatment Options

There are many options to help treatment-resistant depression. If you’re diagnosed, you [...]