But it gets better.
Menopause sucks. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that. But there is definitely hope for those of you who are suffering.
There was a commercial on TV a while back, that showed a woman tromping out in the snow to rip the cover off of her air conditioner because she was having a hot flash.
I could totally relate
Hot flashes. How I don’t miss you. They would come without warning. Creep right up on me. Then I would turn to my kids and say ‘is it hot in here, or is it me?’ They would look at me and say ‘it’s you!’
It was getting crazy. No matter how lightly I dressed, I got hot. And sweaty. And really, really uncomfortable. And the worst part was that because I was only 46, I worried that this was going to go on FOR A LONG TIME.
A visit to the doctor produced the usual results. “normal for your age” “everyone goes through this” “let’s look at trying X drug, or Y drug to ease the symptoms” I was even told that anti-depressants would help. For someone who had always been in good health, and never had any need for pharmaceuticals, I really didn’t want to go this route.
This is when I started to look at my diet. And believe me, I wasn’t impressed with what I was seeing.
Studies show that women whose diets are high in processed, refined foods, trans fat and sugar are 20 percent more likely to develop hot flashes and night sweats.
And mama, let me tell you, that stuff was at least 90% of my diet. Water, vegetables, fibre? Yeah, right. It was more like — “Give me the ***damn chocolate, step away slowly and no one will get hurt.”
But I realized that I couldn’t go on feeling like this, so I started changing what I ate.
I started eating a cleaner diet. I stopped making my dinner with the phone.
It was hard, but I stuck with it. Why? Because I was starting to feel better. I was sleeping better, feeling more rested when I got up, and I wasn’t suffering from hot flashes as much.
I was preparing my meals, and eating whole, natural foods. I was eating lean protein, and lots of fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. And lots and lots of fiber! (did I mention that constipation is a symptom of menopause?)
Eat lots of Fiber
Fiber has been shown to lower estrogen levels, by stabilizing blood levels of the hormones insulin and cortisol.
My recommendation to you if you are going through any of what I described is to eat a “clean” diet consisting of organic whole foods.
Here are 7 specific areas to pay attention to when it comes to using nutrition to aid hormonal balance:
- Minimize high-fat animal foods — most of the hormone-disrupting chemicals that the animals ingest are stored in fat cells.
- Purchase organic meat and produce as much as possible to reduce exposure to hormones and pesticides.
- Minimize the use of stimulants such as coffee, tea, chocolate, and cigarettes.
- Avoid foods with refined, added sugar as much as possible.
- Eat foods that are rich in essential fatty acids — seeds such as flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, seed oils and cold-water fish such as sardines and salmon.
- Consider supplementing with evening primrose oil or borage oil. (consult a health care practitioner for best recommendation and use)
- Ensure adequate intake of vitamins B3, B6, biotin, magnesium and zinc — consider supplementing if you are not getting enough from your diet.
While every woman and her menopause experience is different, if you are suffering from night sweats, hot flashes, insomnia, the above suggestions might help with hormone balancing.
Originally published at www.patriciaeales.com on November 24, 2015.