During the summer months, we can all feel the heat. But if you’re a woman going through perimenopause, hot flushes and night sweats can be a nightmare!
From the age of 35 onwards, our hormones can start to fluctuate. Oestrogen and progesterone start to decline as our ovaries live out their usefulness. But during this time oestrogen can be on a roller coaster, swinging from high to low. And it’s during the low times that we can get hot flushes (or flashes) and increased sweating at night. It’s thought that 70% of women at this time will suffer!
Scientists aren’t completely sure of the mechanism, but it’s thought that oestrogen has an important role in thermoregulation. So when oestrogen dips, our temperature control can go haywire and we find ourselves burning up like a furnace, dripping with sweat and wanting to dive into a freezer for some relief!
So what can you do to help keep your cool?
- Reduce your stress – stress and anxiety make hot flushes worse. Try deep breathing (through the belly) before and during an attack to help reduce severity and duration. Take up yoga or meditation, try relaxation techniques or calming music – schedule something in daily so that you can reduce overall stress levels.
- Avoid common triggers – alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods and sugar can often be triggers for hot flushes. Watch out for your own reactions to these foods.
- Identify food sensitivities – if you’re sensitive to particular foods, it can trigger a stress response in the body, which can aggravate symptoms. Try going gluten and/or dairy free for a few weeks to see if it helps. Keep a food diary and make note of your symptoms.
- Balance your blood sugar. Eating refined carbs and sugary foods can create blood sugar highs and lows. Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) stimulates the release of our stress hormone cortisol, taking us back to no 1!
- Eat some phyto-estrogens – these are plant based oestrogen-like compounds found in food such as legumes, flaxseeds, chick peas, sesame seeds, beans and soy (although I recommend that you avoid processed soy). These compounds are similar to our own hormones and have been shown to help with regulating our oestrogen levels.
- Layer up (and down) – make sure you can remove some layers if you need to.
- Carry a fan – mini-fans are very handy to carry in your bag if you have an unexpected hot flush.
- Exercise – daily activity has been shown to help with hot flush severity.
- Herbal support – Vitex Agnus Castus, black cohosh, sage, hops and other herbs have had some success in alleviating symptoms. Always check with a health practitioner before taking any new supplements.
If you are suffering with any of these symptoms; hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, memory loss, brain fog, fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, weight gain, hair loss – either ask your doctor for hormone testing or get help from a qualified health practitioner.
Click here for a FREE Hormone Balancing Guide.