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Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Female complains of panic attacks and hot flashes at night. If she has headaches throughout the day, why do the panic attacks and hot flashes only come at night? Is it due to a hormonal shift at the end of the day?
Case #: 951

Why do I seem to get fight or flight, (panic attack), headache during the night only? I have headaches during the day off and on, but at night I get hot flashes and fight or flight response. I was wondering if this is because of a drop in hormones when the body is in the sympathetic mode, towards the end of the day?

You’re quite right that the hot flashes are caused by a drop in hormones, but I’ll the cause isn’t one that you’d expect. I’m not sure what’s causing your initial panic attacks, but your hot flashes are the result of them—they are inherently related. The reason for this is because your body needs progesterone to create cortisol in the adrenal glands, the hormone that triggers the fight or flight response.
To get this progesterone, it blasts a message down to your ovaries, requesting more progesterone. The blood vessels of your body dilate to allow these messages to be transmitted, and the result is that you suddenly feel flushed with heat. In order to stop your panic attacks and your hot flashes, you must increase the level of progesterone available in your body.
The Mechanics

Scientists aren’t exactly sure why women with hormonal imbalances seem to have such issues with panic attacks, but it’s thought to be related to both estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen has a mediating effect on cortisol; keeping the levels low and thereby preventing the sudden escalation into panic. Progesterone has a brain soothing effect overall, and your low overall levels could definitely be causing the brain to spiral into “freakout mode”.
It might seem counterintuitive that low levels of the hormone that is needed to create cortisol can also trigger anxiety, but the body needs a certain level of hormones to maintain normality, and when those hormones are missing, the brain triggers panic attacks—which eat up your few remaining stores of progesterone—and headaches, probably due to the constant venous fluctuation of the chemical semaphore.
The Juice

As I mentioned above, your hot flashes are the direct result of your panic attacks. To fight both of these issues, you must increase your progesterone levels. Luckily, progesterone is a highly beneficial hormone to women: it curves cravings, weight gain, insomnia, and anxiety. Progesterone is also not associated with the same negative side effects that estrogen is, meaning that it’s much safer for women to self-medicate with.
You can find progesterone naturally in some herbs: Black Cohosh, Chasteberry, Red Clover, and Squawvine all have a highly beneficial effect on hot flashes, and have been shown to increase levels of progesterone in the body dramatically. The reason is due to some plant specific chemicals known as phytoestrogens that occur in high amounts in these plants. Once the phytoestrogens are ingested, they can be used by the body as a substitute for estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. They’re truly a panacea for women’s hormonal health.
Less Liquid

What I recommend for you is to introduce a source of phytoestrogens into your life. There are many supplements containing phytoestrogenic herbs; the one I’d suggest is composed of Red Clover—a type of legume. (SEE: Red Clover PMS Relief Herbal Formula) Legumes typically have the highest levels of phytoestrogens in the plant kingdom, and Red Clover has a history of helping women with hot flashes. I hope you soon find balance in your body and end your panic attacks and hot flashes!

What to do

PMS Control By Red Clover

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Ideas: Women's, Menopause

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