Whether you call them hot flashes or flushes, if you’re having them, you’re definitely not alone. About 20% of women going through menopause are lucky enough to never experience the dreaded sudden feeling of heat and sweating, but the rest of us fight a turbulent hot battle for on average seven years.
The most common symptom of menopause and perimenopause, hot flushes, are caused by fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone, affecting
thermoregulation in your brain, or your temperature control. For some people, these hormonal changes cause occasional surges of heat, while for others it’s completely debilitating, affecting them every 15 to 20 minutes.
Getting hot and flushed at random times can be highly uncomfortable and embarrassing during the day, but for many, Mother Nature’s gift continues through the night, leaving you soaked in sweat and missing out on much needed sleep.
Thankfully, there are some ways you can reduce hot and sweaty episodes through managing the triggers that can exacerbate hot flushes.
A stressful experience can trigger a hot flush due to the release of cortisol, but this becomes more intense during menopause. External stresses, like work deadlines, financial issues, relationship and family issues can cause hot flushes, as well as internal stresses on your body such as dehydration,
nutritional deficiencies, and a sensitive digestive system. Avoiding stress is easier said than done, but managing deadlines, having a balanced diet and trying to put yourself first at times can help to stabilise your stress levels. Yoga, meditation, epsom salt baths, light exercise and massage are all worth
trying to try to reduce symptoms, plus any activities that normally help you to relax.
Common diet triggers are alcohol, sugar, caffeine, hot drinks, spicy foods and food intolerances such as gluten or dairy. Try eliminating these…one by one to look for any patterns. Once you know your trigger foods, avoid or minimise them in your diet. A well-balanced diet can reduce blood sugar changes that can lead to hot flushes.
Naturally occurring oestrogen in some plant foods can help to replace falling levels of oestrogen in the body. Try to include as many of these foods as
you can on a daily basis – including organic soy, flaxseeds, chickpeas, and lentils, as well as plenty of healthy fats.
Make sure you take a good quality multivitamin to make sure your nutrient needs are met. Isoflavones can be helpful to support oestrogen levels. Choose a supplement that has preferably been through clinical trials such as Promensil.*
5. Minimise exposure to Toxins
Eat organic as much as possible. To avoid the pesticides, filter your tap water if you can, avoid plastics, cigarette smoke and synthetic fragrances where possible because they can be triggers.
It sounds obvious, but regulating your external temperature, you can help to control your internal temperature. This can be through air conditioning
or fans, carrying cold water with you, sleeping with a chill pillow (or an ice pack), wearing loose fitting clothing made of natural fibers and carrying
handheld fans or a damp cloth for emergencies.
If you have any stories on what’s worked for you, we’d love to hear them.