As you reach 40+ (sometimes as early as 35) you enter perimenopause, which is the period of a woman’s life where oestrogen and progesterone production starts to fluctuate before they drop completely. This phase of your life can last anywhere from 7 to 14 years. Once you have been through 12 consecutive months with no menstruation you have reached menopause. One of the most frustrating side effects throughout this period is the onset of sweats and hot flushes. Not all women experience these, and the intensity will vary from woman to woman. Some women continue experiencing the sweats and hot flushes well into their 60’s. If you experience hot flushes and sweats here are some things, you can do to reduce or eliminate them.
Reduce or eliminate stimulants such as:
- Spicy food
- Simple sugars
Manage your weight, staying within a healthy weight range:
- Reduce your carbohydrate intake at this stage of your life. As you transition towards menopause your insulin sensitivity reduces. This means that you are unable to use carbohydrates as effectively as you may have previously. As a result these carbohydrates are no longer burn as energy, rather they are stored as adipose tissue, otherwise known as fat, particularly around the belly area.
- Exercise, particularly strength training. Strength training helps build your muscle mass which increases your metabolism and therefore burns more fat.
- Avoid skipping meals as this puts strain on your thyroid which can lead to fat gain.
- Eat meals rather than snacks to avoid bad choices and overeating.
Manage your stress levels.
Stress is a huge contributor to hot flushes and sweats as well as fat gain. Some strategies for stress management include:
- Breathing exercises
- Infrared Sauna
- Warm baths
- Setting boundaries to avoid overcommitment or exposing yourself to people or situations that increase your stress levels.
- Walking in the sun
- Walking on grass, soil or sand bare foot
Improve your Nutrition:
- Avoid food you are allergic or intolerant to.
- There is anecdotal evidence showing cutting gluten and dairy out of your diet reduces symptoms of hot flushes and sweats. These are highly inflammatory foods.
- Avoid processed foods and food high in sugar; especially anything greater than 10g of sugar per 100g serve of the food item. Refer the nutrition panel of the food item for details.
- Reduce carbohydrate intake as we discussed earlier.
- Stay adequately hydrated as water helps remove toxins and toxins contribute to hot flushes and sweats.
Change lifestyle factors:
- Wear layers that you can easily put on and take off as you need.
- Use a handheld fan to cool yourself down.
- Sleep with layers so you can easily remove them as you need.
- Use breathable linen on your bed like cotton, that don’t promote further sweating.
- Lower the temperature of your room to help cool you down, particularly when going to sleep.
For some women with severe symptoms, hormone therapy may be the best answer. Try all of the above first, and if you are still suffering severely, speak with your health care professional that is experienced in menopause, about whether hormone replacement is the answer for you.
- Coach Terri