by Dr. LaReesa Ferdinand, MD OBGYN & Women’s Health Advisor
for Bossa Bars Menopause Energy Bars
Is it Hot in here? Or is it just ME?
You might be sitting and enjoying your dinner or you’re at work, getting things done— then suddenly, a flash of heat seems to come out of nowhere. It spreads throughout your entire body. Your face grows warm. It’s like your body has become a furnace. You may begin to sweat. Your heart beats faster. Some women might even begin to feel anxious, or that you just had an out of body experience!
Hot flashes, also called hot flushes, are one of the most common symptoms of menopause. Many women begin to experience them within the years or months before their period stops. And most women continue to experience hot flashes for about 4-10 years after menopause.
You may consider hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for help, but is this the best way to rid yourself of hot flashes? Are there more natural solutions that you’re missing? Like most women, you thrive on having the power of choice, most importantly an informed choice about which is best for you to master menopause like a BOSS.
There is no one-trick pony. Whether you choose HRT or not, natural solutions should be considered to stave off pesky hot flashes and give the additional benefit of living with more vitality and grace.
3 Power Tips to Add more Joy and Less Heat to Your Day
- Eat for the Pause
Nutrition is the best biohack to use for reducing hot flashes. The modern western diet is full of toxic elements. Our food undergoes more processing than ever before. It contains chemicals and substances that were never meant to enter the human body. These can serve as hormone disruptors that cause havoc and inflammation which can lead to the fluctuation and intensity of hot flashes.
You can enjoy food and be healthy at the same time. Focusing on eating mostly antioxidant-rich foods with a mostly plant-based diet can help you begin to improve your health from the most basic level, and protect against cellular damage that can accelerate aging and hormone decline.
- Get Moving!
The human body simply doesn’t function as well without movement. This has been proven through various studies. Smoking, pollution, stress, obesity, and a lack of exercise all contribute to accelerated aging, inflammation, and hormone dysfunction. Exercise reduces the risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, obesity, osteoporosis, depression, and hot flashes!
For instance, regular exercise in the form of walking, mixed interval or resistance training, yoga,
and many forms of recreation and movement have long term benefits. As you increase your endurance with movement and activity that elicits less stress, this helps with aging more with ease for your mind, body, spirit, and of course, optimizing hormone function.
- Uncover possible triggers
Triggers may manifest in daily habits we take for granted, such as smoking, alcohol intake, and caffeine intake. Here are the top 4:
Interestingly, stress and anxiety aren’t necessarily symptoms associated with hot flashes. In fact, according to research, many women experienced moderate to severe anxiety and stress before they began experiencing hot flashes. This leads many researchers to believe that hot flashes are more likely to happen when someone has already experienced symptoms relating to anxiety and stress.
Mindfulness-based therapy research has shown great promise when it comes to reducing hot flashes and night sweats in menopausal women. Start regularly performing deep breathing exercises. This may involve sitting for 5 minutes and taking slow deep breaths in, then performing slow and controlled exhales.
You can also choose to perform guided meditations, which are found in various sources and smartphone apps available.
If you smoke, QUIT. I know that’s easier said than done. But taking the time to really dive into why you smoke and how you can eliminate it can add years to your life and also improve your overall quality of life (including reducing hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms).
We women love our glass of wine, but I strongly encourage you to CUT BACK. Stick to a couple of drinks a week or cut out alcohol entirely. There aren’t any nutrients in most alcoholic drinks and it places a burden on your liver, which plays a role in hormonal function and more fluctuations in hot flash relief.
Caffeine intake is also something to watch out for. Too much can significantly impact your blood sugar levels, sending them into disarray. This leads to energy and hormone imbalances that may shift the frequency and experience of hot flashes as well.
From herbal remedies to hypnosis, or pharmaceuticals and a myriad of supplements, women are searching for options. In fact, femtech is a booming industry with “wearable” tech such as bracelets that can track your sleep and instantly cool you when a flash triggers. IMAGINE THAT!
There’s a lot of joy and comfort as the future of menopause support unfolds, so stay tuned and start today with your best biohack option... eating well.