I have just spent a few days at a work conference and started having some pretty good hot flushes. I’ve not had any for a while. So it got me thinking about what caused this. While doing the Whole30 I thought that my hot flushes were finished with, but apparently not.
Extract from WebMD
Hot flashes are the most frequent symptom of menopause and perimenopause. Hot flashes happen in more than two-thirds of women during perimenopause and almost all women with induced menopause or premature menopause.
What are hot flushes?
A hot flash, sometimes called a hot flush, is a quick feeling of heat and sometimes a red, flushed face and sweating. The exact cause of hot flashes is not known, but may be related to changes in circulation.
Hot flashes happen when the blood vessels near the skin’s surface dilate to cool. A woman may also sweat to cool down her body. And some women have a rapid heart rate or chills.
Hot flashes with sweating can also happen at night. These are called night sweats and may make it harder to sleep.
A hot flush is a hot flash plus redness in the face and neck.
How Long Will I Have Hot Flashes?
Hot flashes vary among women going through menopause. Some women have hot flashes for a very short time during menopause. Other women may have hot flashes for life. Generally, hot flashes are less severe as time passes.
Can I Prevent Hot Flashes?
You probably can’t avoid hot flashes during menopause, but there are things that may bring them on more often or cause them to be more severe. To prevent hot flashes, avoid these triggers:
- Spicy foods
- Tight clothing
- Cigarette smoke
What caused my hot flushes?
My hot flushes were definitely caused by food and alcohol. On the first night of our conference I ordered BBQ Pork Ribs. Nowhere did it say anything about spicy. However before long I was breaking out into a sweat. They were so hot. 2 of my colleagues also had them and none of us where able to eat very many and had to send them back.
It turns out that someone had made a mistake and doubled the amount of chilli in the rub that was put on them.
So combine that with alcohol and the hot flushes were continuous. It took a few days for me to cool down again.
How Diet Can Cause and Improve Menopause Symptoms
From Every Day Health
1 / 9
Fatigue, weight gain, moodiness, and hot flashes can make you wish for a slice of cake or a second martini, but those choices could actually make these symptoms of menopause worse. “A woman can take a little more control over the consequences of her symptoms by eating better and by exercising,” says nutritionist Mickey Harpaz, PhD, author of Menopause Rest! Reverse Weight Gain, Speed Fat Loss, and Get Your Body Back in 3 Simple Steps. Simple menopause diet choices, such as fruit instead of a sugary dessert, could make all the difference in your day and your mood.
2 / 9 Fatty Cuts of Meat
Women going through menopause can gain 8 to 15 pounds in the first two years if they aren’t careful, says Harpaz, who practices in Danbury, Conn. To avoid this kind of gain, trim the fat from your menopause foods literally. Fat should represent less than 20 percent of your daily menopause diet. You might need to experiment a little — try having a grilled chicken breast instead of beef brisket, for example.
3 / 9 Sugar: Menopause Fatigue and Weight Gain
Fight fatigue and weight gain symptoms of menopause by controlling blood sugar, says Harpaz. “Sugar will be my No. 1 food to avoid,” says Harpaz. However, he doesn’t put his clients on a total avoidance menopause diet. Instead, he advocates limiting sugar intake to less than 10 grams at a time. You can still have a small cookie, but better menopause diet choices for snacking are fruits — especially berries — and veggies.
4 / 9 Refined Carbohydrates: Menopause, Moods, and Fatigue
White bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, corn — these high-carb foods also contribute to cycles of moodiness and fatigue — common symptoms of menopause, says Harpaz. “You may go to a party and end up eating six or eight different types of carbs,” he warns. At a weekend barbecue, for instance, your dinner plate alone might be loaded with bread, potatoes, and corn. Your best menopause diet alternatives are whole grains or simply limiting the portion sizes and number of carbs that you eat.
5 / 9 Caffeine: Hot Flashes and Sleep Problems
Women experiencing symptoms of menopause may have trouble sleeping well along with hot flashes, says Harpaz. You might try to fight fatigue in the morning with a dose (or several doses) of caffeine, but this strategy can backfire. Caffeine can make you both moody and even more tired, since it interferes with sleep, especially if you drink it after noon. The other problem with caffeine is that we rarely drink it alone — once you add sugar or cream, you are making the drink even less healthy. Try an herbal peppermint tea for a gentle pick-me-up on a menopause diet.
6 / 9 Alcohol: Fatigue and Moodiness
A glass of wine with friends once in a while won’t worsen symptoms of menopause. However, a regular habit of two or more drinks a day can add calories to your menopause diet and make symptoms such as fatigue or moodiness much worse. “Try to avoid it or make it a diluted drink, like wine spritzers. You can extend that into two drinks over a couple of hours,” says Harpaz.
7 / 9 Spicy Foods: Hot Flashes
Spicy food could make hot flashes worse or just make you less comfortable in general. “When you are eating spicy food your core body temp goes up, and you start sweating. This is exactly what happens in hot flashes,” says Harpaz. However, if you just love spicy food, you can still include it in your menopause diet in small servings — just be aware of the effect it is having on your body.
8 / 9 Hot Foods: Hot Flashes
“If you’re really suffering from hot flashes, don’t have anything related to hot foods, such as hot soups, too frequently,” he says. You might want to choose a side salad instead of soup for an appetizer, for example. Snacking on refrigerated veggies and fruits or sipping on chilled water can help keep hot flashes down.
9 / 9 Non-Homogenized Dairy Products: Bone Loss
As you enter menopause, bone loss increases dramatically. You’ll need to make sure that your menopause diet is rich in sources of calcium and vitamin D. Avoid raw or non-homogenized dairy products, which might not have enough vitamin D and also can expose you to food-borne illness. Instead, non-fat (skim) milk often provides a good balance of bone healthy nutrition. Talk to your doctor about calcium and vitamin D supplements as well, says Harpaz.
Your diet really does have an impact on the severity of your hot flushes, and if you don’t want to experience really hot flushes then your diet needs to be healthy. For me following the Whole30 plan has been the best thing for reducing my hot flushes to the point where I really thought they had finished.