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 buddy, 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.
- Instead, try the Mediterranean Diet as described in this article from the Eating Well website. This way of eating can also help fight off that lousy weight gain that leads to meno-pots (don’t you love being a woman?)
- Research has also shown that adding soy foods to a diet can help, because they contain isoflavones. Try soybeans, edamame, tofu, or roasted soy nuts.
- Try ground flaxseed (available in grocery stores), which may help fight against hot flashes (they’re also good for our heart health; containing fiber, Omega-3 fatty acids, and lignan) You can add the seeds to smoothies, juice, or oatmeal.*
- Stress has been linked to hot flashes (jeez, what hasn’t stress been linked to?), so take steps to relieve daily stressors before they build up may help. Meditation, deep breathing techniques, getting regular exercise, and keeping a journal to vent about bad stuff are a few ways to do this. 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. You can read more about medical options in this article from the My Health Alberta website.
- Looking for some natural supplement options? Take a look at Dr. Andrew Weil’s suggestion in this article. (You should talk to your doctor prior to taking supplements)
*Beck, Leslie. What foods should I eat to help manage my hot flashes?
Want to have some fun with your fellow menopausers? Menopause the Musical is a must-see
For Further Reading:
- Managing Menopause
- Menopause-related Hot Flashes and Night Sweats can Last for Years (Harvard Health Publications)
- Hot Flashes – Your Favorite Screen Actors go through “The Change.”