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  • Writer's pictureNourish by Nudrat

Hot Flushes: Conquering your menopause

Updated: Apr 3

Are you experiencing hot flushes? Do you suddenly become hot and flustered and feel as if you literally need to strip off?

I know how debilitating this can be. In the summer, I often carry a fan, and I hardly travel on the tube now as I find it too claustrophobic. I have a tendency to overheat! But I was lucky, I was able to commute to the city on an uber boat. But if I had to regularly take the underground, I don't think I would have survived when my hot flushes were at their worst. Thankfully, I've now got them under control.

A purple fan, typically the kind you would use to fan yourself if you were warm

Understanding Menopause Hot Flushes

During the peri-menopause/menopause stage of a woman's life, hormonal changes can disrupt the body's temperature regulation, leading to hot flushes. Typically characterised by intense warmth, sweating, flushing and chills, primarily in the face, neck and chest but this can be felt across other parts of the body.

Fluctuating oestrogen levels affect the hypothalamus, the part of the brain responsible for temperature control. The blood vessels near the skin's surface dilate, causing sudden sensations of heat, flushing, and sweating. Their duration varies from 1 to 5 minutes, or sometimes longer and these symptoms can last on average 4 years but they can go on for longer, and approx 85% of women experience them.

To add to the confusion, in some women, the oestrogen fluctuations don't give rise to hot flushes so there is more at play than just oestrogen, our neurotransmitters are also involved. Basically, our body's are very complex and we are all different, even ethnic differences can influence the length and severity of menopause and symptoms.

Risk Factors

There are certain pre-conditions or risk factors which might increase these symptoms, for example obesity, diabetes, presence of premenstrual syndrome or other menstrual irregularities, as these are already impacting hormonal imbalances. Genetics also play a part. But there are also lifestyle factors like a sedentary lifestyle, smoking or stress.

Recognising these predisposing factors allows for a more targeted and personalised approach to managing menopause symptoms for affected individuals.

So what can we do to conquer your hot flushes? Well nutrition and lifestyle can play a part. Also, slowing down to understand what you are experiencing and get in tune with your body. This phase of your life is an opportunity and you can embrace this. Think about how liberating and freeing this can also be.

Foods to Limit

Certain foods can naturally increase body temperature and so exacerbate the symptoms of hot flushes -

  1. Spicy Foods: Chilies in spicy foods can trigger hot flushes in some individuals. Consider reducing your intake of overly spicy dishes.

  2. Caffeine and Alcohol: These substances may exacerbate hot flushes by causing blood vessels to dilate. Opt for herbal teas and water instead. Have you tried Dandelion Coffee, it has a lovely warm and earthy taste and is a nice alternative and it supports the liver, aiding detoxification.

  3. Processed Foods: High-sugar and high-sodium processed foods can contribute to inflammation and discomfort. I definitely notice this with the sugar and salt.

  4. Refined Carbohydrates: High carb diets can give rise to spikes in blood sugar and also insulin, and studies have suggested that insulin resistance maybe be linked to hot flushes. With the menopausal changes, some women can suddenly become insulin sensitive, so it is even more important that high fibre and complex carbs are incorporated into your diet.

And for those of you interested in kick starting some change, or have overindulged recently, I will be running my 5 Day Sugar Free Challenge. Details to follow shortly.

Cooling Foods for Relief

So some nice alternative foods to really help and support you are -

  1. Hydrating Foods: Cucumber, watermelon, and celery have high water content, aiding hydration and helping regulate body temperature.

  2. Berries: Blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are rich in antioxidants that may help combat inflammation and support overall health.

  3. Leafy Greens: Spinach, kale, and lettuce provide essential nutrients and contribute to a cooling effect due to their water content

Lifestyle Tips for Staying Cool

And these are so important as these can really help you regulate your body temperature -

  1. Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to maintain hydration and support body temperature regulation.

  2. Light Clothing: Choose breathable, loose-fitting clothing made from natural fibres like cotton to allow air circulation. Again this is something I notice. And maybe thin light layers work best so you can remove the outer layers easily.

  3. Cooling Accessories: Use fans, handheld fans, and cooling towels to create a refreshing sensation when the heat strikes. I travel with my fan, in the Summer, and it's amazing how a little fan can make such a difference.

  4. Timing Outdoor Activities: Plan outdoor activities during cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late afternoon.

  5. Yoga / Meditation: These mindfulness practices have shown promise in providing relief from hot flushes during menopause. They focus on relaxation, deep breathing, and gentle movements that can help regulate the body's stress response and enhance emotional well-being and so could potentially reduce the intensity and frequency of hot flushes.

  6. Sleep: Creating a soothing bedtime routine, maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, and ensuring a comfortable sleep environment can promote better sleep. Opting for breathable fabrics and keeping the bedroom at a cooler temperature can make a significant difference.

Top Tips

It's important to prioritise hydration and eat foods that naturally help regulate body temperature. I'm all for food first, so nutrient-rich choices but without the mindful lifestyle adjustments they don't always work, these can make a significant difference in managing hot flushes.

Stay cool, hydrated, and resilient in the face of menopause hot flushes. You've got this!

Your Journey

This is a journey. We all have our ups and downs. I know my hot flushes can come and go and I realise what triggers them, there is a pattern. I know the trigger foods and the routine that suits me. I feel that a routine is important, so starting small and introducing changes can be the start of your journey. I've noticed that slight changes to my routine really make a difference.

And remember, it is nourishing the whole, both the mind and the body are important and we often neglect our mind.

If you are experiencing hot flushes or other symptoms, and you feel you need to take back control, book a free 30-min call with me and let's see how Nutrition can support you - click here.

Medical Disclaimer

Note, this information is designed to provide helpful information on the subjects involved. This is not meant to, nor should it be used, to diagnose or treat any medical condition. For diagnosis or treatment of any medical concerns, consult your own doctor or health care practitioner. If there are any specific health conditions, please ensure dietary or medication changes are factored in also with the knowledge of your doctor.

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