Hot flushes (or hot flashes) and night sweats are some of the most common symptoms during menopause, and it's happening because you've got fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone, which are thought to have a very key role in your thermoregulation in your brain, your temperature control.
For most people it feels like a kind of a surge of heat, which can run from your feet upwards, or just come about and make you feel hot. For some people it's debilitating, and it can be happening every 15 or 20 minutes. For other people, it's just occasional. But they can carry on during the night waking you up in the night just drenched in sweat, which is not only unpleasant but also disrupts your much needed sleep!
We need to be aware about the triggers that can cause hot flushes because if you can manage these triggers, you can drastically reduce the occurrence of them.
- Diet – these are things like alcohol and caffeine, or just drinking a hot drink. Spicy foods is another one, and food sensitivities such as gluten or dairy.
- Stress – another trigger is stress. If you have a stressful experience, it can trigger a hot flush, and I've seen that happen quite a few times. But it's not just external stress like your workload or your circumstances of your day, it's also internal stresses on the body, like a blood sugar imbalance, or dehydration or digestive issues or nutrient deficiencies. That's because these things can all stimulate the release of cortisol, our stress hormone, which can trigger a hot flush.
- Smoking is a common trigger for hot flushes.
- Chemicals and toxins in the environment can also be triggers.
- Medications, such as antidepressants, hormone treatments, etc can also trigger temperature irregulations.
- Avoid your triggers. Try writing a diary or journal and see whether you can identify any patterns, then try and avoid the triggers.
- Regulate your diet. Include lots of phytoestrogens, these are plant-based estrogens, and they help to regulate your estrogen levels. The biggest source is soy (make sure it's organic) and flaxseeds (or linseeds). And make sure you are eating lots of healthy fats because when we're low in fats, our hormones aren't getting the essential raw materials that they need. And they obviously need to be working well for us to avoid these hot flushes.
- Manage your stress. Cortisol is a common trigger for hot flushes. So lots of relaxation, lots of self-care, meditation, mindfulness, walks in nature, Epsom salt baths, reading, whatever it is that you do to relax and make sure you're doing it every day for at least 10 to 20 minutes if you can. And if you can get as much sleep as you can, get some naps in during the day, or have a good lie in on the weekend, or whatever it is you need to do to catch-up.
- Minimize your exposure to toxins. Again, this is a huge topic, but the basics are to eat organic as much as possible, to avoid the pesticides, filter your tap water if you can, avoid plastics, and avoid those synthetic fragrances where possible because they can be triggers.
Will supplements help?
Supplements can help, but it's a bit of trial and error and you will probably need to experiment. One of the most researched supplements is red clover. A well researched brand is Promensil. Others include sage, hops, black cohosh, dong quai, and adrenal support supplements, as they can calm down your adrenals, and then stop that cortisol trigger. I also recommend MacaPause and MacaLife from Femmenessence, it has some excellent evidence behind it. There are lots of formulas out there. Just make sure you go for a really trusted brand and experiment, and you might find something that works.
Do I need to get tested?
If symptoms continue, you might want to find out where your hormones are at. And that's where we can help. We do hormone testing on a regular basis, and it helps us to get to the root cause of what might be going on for you, and put the right protocol in place to help.
If you'd like to know more about the testing we do, click here to book in a free Discovery Call to see if it would benefit you.
Stay cool! x