Dr. Michael Wald, The Blood Detective914-242-8844 (ext. 1) Integrated Medicine of Mount Kisco, P.C www.intmedny.com/www.blooddetective.com
This article appeared in the Examiner Newspaper September, 2012
Women baby boomers are no strangers to hormonal imbalances including menstrual irregularities, peri-menopause and menopause. Andropause is the male version of menopause and affects males very differently than men. This article will focus on women.
While menopause is a natural event in the lives of all women, you do have some influence over “how many” (frequency) or “how bad” (intensity) your hot flashes or other menopausal symptoms may be. The lifestyle choices you make—what you eat, drink, or wear and even how you relieve stress—can positively (or negatively) affect your symptoms. That’s why any successful therapy for menopausal symptom relief also includes recommendations for modifying the things in your life you can control.
Here are a few tips to help you tame hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms, such as moodiness, sadness, and sleeplessness.
For more tips on managing stress, read the handouts “Are Your Eating Habits Causing Your More Stress?” and “Need Quick Relief When Stress found at: www.intmedny.com under the Articles Section.
Stay Physically Cool
Anything that tells your body it’s hot can trigger a hot flash. So try to stay cool inside and out.
Regulate Your Surroundings
- Lower the thermostat if you’re feeling hot
- Use a ceiling/portable fan, desk fan, or hand fan
- Avoid hot places
Adopt a New Dress Code
- Wear thin layers
- Choose breathable fabrics (cotton, linen, rayon)
Set a Nightly Routine
- Use cotton bed sheets
- Take a cool shower before sleeping
Consider Food & Beverage Choices
- Drink plenty of water
- Choose cold drinks over hot ones
- Avoid spicy foods
- Eat sea vegetables like dulse and kelp to replace minerals lost by sweat
Choose high phytoestrogen and lignin-rich foods that act as gentle estrogen mimics including:
- Beans (navy, pinto, black, red, peas)
- Legumes (chickpeas, peanuts, lentils)
- Soy items (tofu, tempeh, soy milk, protein powder)
- Flax & sunflower seeds
- Whole oats, groats & wheat berries
- Pears, broccoli & carrots
Stay Mentally Cool
Anxiety is closely related to hot flashes, so keeping a cool state of mind alleviates hot flashes.
Reduce Common Stress Triggers.
While sometimes used as so-called “stress relievers,” these actually increase stress and trigger hot flashes.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol
- Stop or reduce smoking
Fine-Tune Your Eating Habits
Maintaining blood sugar balance throughout the day helps you avoid triggering the stress response.
- Eat a high quality protein breakfast every day
- Space meals 3 to 4 hours apart to curb hunger cravings
- Keep healthy snacks handy if you’re a “stress eater”
Get to Know Your Stress Relievers
When you turn on the relaxation response, the stress response turns off. Find your “on” switch to relax.
- Try deep breathing, visualization & guided imagery
- Yoga and Pilates
- Regular exercise
Share Your Experience & Passion for Life
This is a time to reconnect and plan the next 30 to 40 years of your life. Share your menopause experience with other women for support. And finding your passion and community participation influence your emotional well-being and mood to counter stress.
Keep a Hot Flash Diary
It helps identify your personal hot flash pattern and triggers. Sometimes it’s when and where you eat spicy foods or drink hot beverages or wine that trigger your symptoms. Sometimes it’s how much you eat or drink. Your diary builds awareness.
Get Healthy & Fit
If you’re physically unfit or overstressed, you may be at greater risk for osteoporosis, heart disease, degenerative joint problems, and dementia. But these conditions are preventable and modifiable with diet, physical activity, and stress management.
Have basic and more advanced nutritional and hormonal levels checked. Everything that you eat causes hormonal changes. Foods and certain nutritional compounds can help or hurt your hormonal levels. To best balance hormone levels, consider the suggestions herein and also bio-identical (natural) hormones along with specific nutrients based upon your laboratory work.
Dr. Michael Wald is director of nutrition at Integrated Medicine of Mount Kisco. He is the author of over 10 books and software. His latest book, The Blood Detective’s Longevity Manual – your personal guide to better health, will be available in 2012. His website is: www.intmedny.com and www.blooddetective. 914-242-8844 (Ext. 1)