Help! I Think My Thermostat is Broken!

Is it just me or is it really hot in here?!  Do you ever experience moments when you feel an intense, sudden heat flush?  You look around at those around you, and they seem unaffected?  Hormone imbalances that come with perimenopause, menopause, and post menopause certainly wreak havoc on our bodies.  As if we haven’t been through enough already!!  OH!  And, thyroid issues can also cause hot flashes.  There are so many different symptoms women experience, such as fatigue, dry skin, night sweats, crankiness, itchy skin, etc., but the worst for me personally has been the hot flashes (with a side of night sweats).

Hot flashes start in my core, with an intense heat wave that immediately causes beads of sweat to break out in my scalp, hairline, face, and the dreaded boob sweat.  It’s intense, sudden, and miserable.  When it finally subsides, it leaves me wet/sweaty, which then leaves me really cold.  I’ve found that if I dress in layers (tank top under a tunic), I can peel off the top layer to minimize the heat somewhat. Sound familiar?

I definitely recommend seeing your doctor and having your levels checked.  Don’t be afraid to discuss your symptoms and any issues you’re experiencing.  They can’t help you if they don’t know!  Some doctors will offer hormone replacement therapy or some type of prescription.  All prescriptions come with side effects, and I personally prefer to deal with one issue head on rather than creating additional issues with the side effects. Discuss ALL of your options with your doctor to see what will work best for you.

There are many natural options.  The vast majority of these are, of course, in your diet.  During menopause, women’s estrogen levels decline, which can lead to hot flashes and night sweats.  Dietary sources of estrogen (also known as phytoestrogens) are naturally occurring in plant form, and may interact in a similar fashion to the estrogen that our bodies produce.  Per, and other various sources, some researchers are concerned that a high intake of these phytoestrogens may cause a hormonal imbalance, although most evidence has linked them to positive health effects.  In fact, there are many studies that have shown phytoestrogen intake is linked to decreased cholesterol levels, improved menopausal symptoms, and a lower risk of oseoporisis.   It seems the key here is to take the recommended daily allowance of these.

Here are some sources of phytoestrogen foods:

1. Flax Seeds:  Mixing 2 tablespoons of these in ground form into your protein shakes, yogurt, or smoothies daily is the easiest way to go here.  

2. Soybeans and edamame:  there are many different forms of these and ways to ingest them.

3. Dried fruits:  Stick with dried apricots, dates and prunes as these have the highest phytoestrogen content.

4. Sesame seeds:  Regularly eating these has been shown to increase estrogen activity in postmenopausal women!

5. Garlic:  Along with many other health benefits, the phytoestrogens found in garlic may also help reduce bone loss due to estrogen deficiency.

6. Peaches: Oh happy day, right?!

7. Berries: Specifically strawberries, cranberries, and raspberries

8. Tofu:  Any vegans out there?  This is a wonderful source of protein as well!

9. Cruciferous vegetables:  Be sure to get cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and cabbage in your diet daily!

10. Tempeh:  This is a common meat replacement for vegetarians.

11. Vitamin E:  This is found in soybeans, sunflower seeds, nuts, seeds, and leafy green vegetables.  As most of these have already been listed above, this is even more reason to get them into your diet today!

12. Apple cider vinegar:  The raw, pure apple cider vinegar helps regulate toxins our bodies try to get rid of when we sweat (during those hot flashes and night sweats).  If symptoms are frequent and severe, mix two tablespoons of unfiltered apple cider vinegar with water or juice twice a day until they ease off.

13. Vitamin B:  Great sources of this vitamin are fish, whole grain breads, legumes, and avocados.

Another way to control these symptoms, in addition to the above-listed nutritional additions, is to manage your stress levels.  Remember, hot flashes are just one of the super annoying symptoms all stages of menopause brings.  Hot flashes, specifically, have been linked with stress and anxiety.  Women in this stage of life with high levels of stress often report more severe and more frequent attacks of hot flashes by almost FIVE TIMES.   One of the very best ways to manage stress is with exercise.  Find the form of exercise that you enjoy the most, and plug that into your daily routine.  It seems so ironic that working up a good sweat can help offset the things that cause hot flashes, that also make you sweat.  I promise you that I enjoy a good workout, and how I feel after.  I completely LOATHE every single thing about hot flashes. 

Because these hot flashes are tormenting me, I’ve done a lot of research.  I’m personally plugging these helps into my daily routine, starting today!  I’ll keep you posted on my progress.  If you try any of these and have success, please share that with me!   Good luck, friends! 

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