I don’t think I ever heard the word “menopause” cross my mother’s lips. Nope, for her it was the dreaded change of life or simply the change. For years I connected these terms with the idea of eventually losing my marbles and sprouting hair on my chin. Heck, according to my mom and aunts, some women went through the change and never came out of it! (Now that I think about it, I always wondered where Aunt Betty disappeared to).
Nowadays, we’re much more sophisticated about our terminology, and thanks to Google, better educated about this period (no pun intended) of our lives.
Despite my earlier fears about menopause, for me it didn’t turn out to be that bad in terms of physical discomfort. My biggest annoyance (and from what I hear from other ladies as well) were those times when I was walking around at work or at the mall, my temperature a comfortable 98.6 – when suddenly my body made a visit to the desert, at high noon on a 102 degree day. What the . . . ???
Yep, hot flashes (and their evil cohort, night sweats) were what drove me crazy throughout menopause. If you’re suffering from them as well, you may want to take a look at some cooling down options:
- Craving Thai or Szechuan food? STOP! Do not go there. High-fat and high-sugar diets can make hot flash symptoms worse; ditto caffeine and alcohol. Choosing an appetizer when dining out? Skip the hot soup and choose a salad or another cool option instead.
- Research has also shown that adding foods that contain isoflavones and other plant estrogens may help fight against hot flashes. (Though there have been some mixed reviews of the value of soy, as pointed out by WebMD). Some of the best options are soy foods, (soybeans, edamame, silken tofu), along with chickpeas, or lentils.
- Another dietary option is to eat the Mediterranean way. In a study of women over a 9-year period, researchers found that those women who ate this kind of diet reported less hot flashes and night sweats during menopause.* Eating this way is good for our heart health, and can also help fight off that weight gain that leads to meno-pots (don’t you love being a woman?).
- Ground flaxseed (available in grocery stores), may also help fight against hot flashes. Additionally, these seeds are good for our heart health. They contain fiber, Omega-3 fatty acids, and lignin.** You can add the seeds to smoothies, juice, or oatmeal. Caveat:
- Stress has been linked to hot flashes (jeez, what hasn’t stress been linked to?), so take steps to relieve stress through meditation, deep breathing techniques, getting regular exercise, and keeping a journal to vent about bad stuff. Or invite your hot-flash-suffering friends over for a kick menopause in the butt party.
- Medical treatment involves low-dose hormone therapy used only for the short-term. Other options are described by the Mayo Clinic website.
- Looking for some natural supplement options? Take a look at Dr. Andrew Weil’s suggestions from his article, Menopause Symptoms and Treatments. (Check with your doctor before taking supplements).
*Fruits & Veggies: More Matter. “About the Buzz: The Mediterranean Diet Relieves Menopause Symptoms.“
**70 Health Reasons to Eat More Flaxseed
©Vital Aging 4 Women. 2017