In the confusing world of fertility, where do hot flashes and night sweats belong? From a Western medical point of view, these problems have no influence on the success of conception.
From a Chinese medicine view, hot flashing/night sweats indicate an imbalance of a women’s energy. Balanced energy is important and can be thought as hormones. An example of balanced hormones would be low estrodiol in the follicular phase, which encourages the pituitary to secrete more FSH to stimulate the ovaries. An example of an imbalance would be low estrodiol and high FSH on day 20 of the cycle, indicating that ovulation has not occurred. These symptoms need to be treated, especial in women who are in their thirties, when it is too early for night sweating/hot flashing to be appearing.
How could night sweats potentially effect hormones? Women who experience night sweats usually become sleep deprived. Chronic sleep disturbed nights do not allow the body to regenerate and recoup from daily stress. Long term insomnia will cause the body to increase the secretion of stress hormones as compensation for the lack of sleep. Over time the body can depletes its’ reserve of stress hormones causing it to consume other hormones, such as progesterone, to use as building blocks for more stress hormones. As progesterone is consumed, its’ levels will drop, possibility causing fertility problems, such as dormant follicles not receiving proper signaling into maturity and periods which come on early. Research has shown that stress hormones and insomnia result in weight gain (especially belly fat which stores excess hormones such as estrogen) and poor sugar metabolism, all health concerns that can potentially interfere with successful conception.
As you can see if from the above situation, night sweats have the capability to cause hormonal changes thus energetic imbalances. Simple symptoms can trigger a cascade of problems.
For all the women who have read the “Infertility Cure”, these symptoms may not be completely related to kidney yin deficiency. Depending on the tongue, pulse and accompanying symptoms, night sweats/hot flashes could be related to other patterns, such as heart yin deficiency (mostly sweating on chest with poor sleep) or phlegm congestion with heat (sweating with coughing up phlegm or sinus drip). Distinguishing the core of the pattern is the art behind the medicine.