I just woke up hot & sweaty. What’s going on?
They hit at the most inconvenient times: during business meetings, out with friends, in bed with your partner. Your face flushes. Your heart rate accelerates. Your body feels like a steam vent, and perspiration washes all over you.
You’re having hot flashes, and for more than 70 percent of women, they’re an ill-timed, uncomfortable, and often embarrassing reality of menopause.
Medically speaking, blood vessels near the surface of a woman’s skin dilate, this is the body’s attempt to cool off. The heart races to pump more blood to reach the surface of the skin where it is cooler, and that causes the red blush to the face and neck. A woman may sweat as that is another way the body tries to cool itself. Some women can experience a rapid heart rate, lightheadedness, or even feel nauseated. Some experience chills. At night the same experience can occur and these are called night sweats. A woman can be cold one minute, and the next minute need all the bed covers off and feel quite miserable.
So, what causes hot flashes?
Ask that question, even to doctors, and you won’t get a straight answer. They’ll say “we don’t know,” or “it’s not clear what triggers hot flashes,” or the common answer: “declining estrogen.”
Well, this is true as there appears to be many reasons and factors as to why some women have more hot flashes and some less. Certainly bioidentical estrogen and progesterone help, but hormone changes alone don’t fully explain the variations in women’s hot flashes.
Hot flashes are a natural part of menopause, but they can seriously impact the quality of your life. In fact, hot flashes are the most frequently reported negative symptom women experience during this time.
Question is: do they need to be?
What can I do about it?
First, avoid hot flash triggers:
Every woman is different, but typical triggers include caffeine and alcohol, food sensitivities (such as dairy), refined sugars and simple carbs (the white processed stuff, very acidic to your body!), smoking, hot foods (temperature or spiciness), warm temperatures in your environment (especially in the bedroom at night), and stress. Stress in particular is a big trigger.
Our stress hormone, cortisol, is key to how we will experience menopause as it affects overall inflammation, hormone balance and our body's ability to remain insulin sensitive.
I have effectively worked with women to stop hot flashes - and do it without drugs like anti-depressants, high blood pressure meds, or anti-seizure drugs – the typical medicines prescribed to help. But they don’t correct the core reason, which is something no one has ever pointed out to you…
In two words: “insulin resistance.”
Insulin is a hormone that delivers glucose, or blood sugar, from the bloodstream into cells, where it’s burned for energy. Insulin resistance means that the insulin is less efficient at “making the delivery,” like the mail person who can’t make it to your house to give you your letters … so sugar levels rise in the blood. Insulin resistance lurks beneath many of the most common symptoms one experiences during menopause – not only hot flashes, but also fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and weight gain.
Once you know the real cause of something – in this case, insulin resistance – then you can stop the problem in its tracks, and not mask it with drugs.
Which is why I created:
My Keto-Green® diet helps regulate insulin and reverse insulin resistance in one important way: it shifts you into ketosis, which restores your body to an insulin-sensitive state.
The ketogenic component of my diet works by keeping your carbohydrate stores almost empty. Your body starts burning its own body fat for energy, helping you lose weight quickly. It will also burn fat that you’re consuming through your diet, assuming you are eating healthy fats (not trans fats, for example). The details, including food lists, daily menu plans, and recipes are all in The Hormone Fix.
Unless we’re supporting our body’s ability to have insulin sensitivity and counter the spiking cortisol, we're not going to get hormonal balance and we'll likely struggle with inflammatory symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats, along with the weight gain, the mood swings, the anxiety and insomnia, etc….
A Keto-Green® diet and lifestyle will help with this by optimizing blood sugar and insulin levels.
Do Keto-Green® fasting.
This is a form of intermittent fasting, in which you go 13 to 15 hours without food overnight and in the morning. Let’s say you finish dinner at 7 pm. Don’t eat anything other than some coffee in the morning. Make an early lunch or late breakfast (say 9am) your first meal of the day. That’s all there is to Keto-Green Fasting.
Studies have found this form of intermittent fasting helps prevent hot-flash-triggering insulin resistance, plus enhances hormone function that helps with weight loss, including the loss of belly fat. I outline how to do Keto-Green Fasting in The Hormone Fix in detail.
Do not eat between meals and do not snack. That advice might seem to fly in the face of conventional wisdom, but here’s the truth: if you’re over forty, snacking can be destructive to your goals. It can cause insulin resistance, weight gain, hot flashes, and inflammation. If you feel hunger pangs during the day, add more healthy fats, oils, and nuts to your meals. The hunger pangs will soon disappear. Eventually you’ll retrain your body to not desire snacks.
Better stress management practices.
Incorporating some good breathing exercises and meditation time into your daily schedule is important.
Deep belly breathing (deep inside the abdomen, with slow breaths at about 5-6 breaths per minute) is best. Practice some deep belly breathing for 15 minutes every morning and evening, and also at the onset of hot flashes.
Meditation practices can also help. I am a proponent of daily gratitude journaling as it helps me live a life of positivity, and greatly reduces the stress that I allow to intrude upon my life.
Things like connecting with nature each day will also help with stress. One of my favorite hormones, Oxytocin, is a beautiful counter to stress. Oxytocin is the hormone of love and bonding. are you deficient in this wonderful hormone?
Supplement with Omega-3 fish oil.
I’m a big believer in the power of this supplement, made up of two components of fish oil, EPA and DHA. In a 2009 study conducted in Canada, 120 women going through menopause were given either a fish oil supplement providing 1,200 milligrams of EPA and DHA or a placebo for two months. Prior to the study, these women averaged about 2.8 hot flashes daily. But after eight weeks, their hot flashes decreased by 55 percent in the EPA and DHA group, but by only 25 percent in the placebo group. You can’t go wrong by including this supplement in your daily regimen. A good omega-3 will have 360 milligrams EPA and 240 milligrams DHA per 1,000-milligram capsule. Besides omega-3 fish oil and Mighty Maca Plus, The Hormone Fix covers other supplement solutions to stopping hot flashes.