Handling your hot flashes
Hot Flashes defined: A sudden brief flushing and sensation of heat caused by dilation of skin capillaries usually associated with menopausal endocrine imbalance – also called hot flush.
Source: Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary
Hot flashes are often confusing, and many people, including doctors, do not understand what causes them. Below is the cause and the trigger for this nasty menopausal symptom.
1) Hot Flashes are actually caused by a hormonal imbalance between estrogen and progesterone, a common imbalance among women. They tend to start when both hormones start to fall, typically around peri-menopause or menopause.
2) Hot Flashes are triggered at certain times of the day due to blood sugar falling.
Circumstances that will bring on Hot Flashes and Solutions:
1. Not eating for long periods of time – Blood sugar falls.
SOLUTION: Be sure to eat every 3-4 hours, even if it is just a small snack.
2. Not eating enough food throughout the day – Blood sugar cannot stabilize.
SOLUTION: Make sure you eat at least three meals and possibly one snack per day.
3. Not eating enough fat or protein throughout the day with your meals – Blood sugar cannot stabilize. This can also happen if you do not eat enough fiber, as this helps balance blood sugar as well.
SOLUTION: Be sure meals consist of at least 4 – 5 ounces of protein. Add a tablespoon of fat along with your green vegetables, which is very stabilizing on blood sugar, or have a high-fiber carbohydrate such as oats, brown rice or sweet potatoes.
4. Eating simple sugars or refined carbohydrates (ones without fiber), mainly flour-based items, such as crackers, muffins, etc. – Blood sugar will fluctuate, because simple sugars breaking down quickly.
SOLUTION: Be sure to pair simple sugars, if you must have them, with fat and protein. For example, pair a rice cake (simple sugar) with natural almond butter (fat and protein).
5. The inability of the body to break down nutrients properly – This causes the carbohydrates and sugars, which are easily broken down, to break down first –
before the fat and protein, causing a spike in blood sugar and then a quick fall.
SOLUTION: It is best to take a digestive enzyme daily to help breakdown protein and fats, specifically. After the age of 25 most people do not break down protein efficiently and also have issues with breaking down fat. We suggest one of our “Four Pillars” called Super Digest, and the advantage is you only have to take one pill per day, with your largest meal, and it will break down protein, fat, and carbohydrates efficiently. This will stabilize blood sugar, because fat and protein will balance out the sugar that is in the bloodstream, and dramatically reduce cravings as well as bloating. Another way
to stabilize blood sugar with one of our “Four Pillars” is to take our Essential Omega Oils. Aside from the many benefits to the entire body of Omega-3, 6 and 9, this supplement will help stabilize blood sugar and reduce cravings.
6. Consuming too much caffeine – This causes blood sugar to rise and fall quickly.
SOLUTION: It is best to limit caffeine to just the a.m., if possible, and add to it heavy cream, coconut oil or other MCT (medium chain triglycerides) oils to stabilize blood sugar. Another idea is to switch to lower caffeine substitute such as decaffeinated coffee, green tea, white tea or no a non-caffeinated substitute such as red tea or herbal tea.
7. Consuming alcoholic beverages, especially on an empty stomach – This causes blood sugar to rise and fall.
SOLUTION: Try to stick with clear alcohols as these have less sugar especially when paired with diet soda or soda water or try a dry red wine. Drinks mixed with juices or sweet wines will tend to cause more blood sugar fluctuations. Also, drinking any alcoholic beverage with a red meat or a fatty fish, such as salmon, as well as a full meal will tend to help stabilize its effect on blood sugar.
8. Physical stress such as extreme cold, heat or strenuous exercise – Lowers blood sugar
SOLUTION: Be sure to keep body temperature stable when in extreme temperatures by either layering clothes in the winter or having access to a cool drink or fan in the summer. Exercise should not be to the point of pain or to the point you cannot talk normally if exercising with a friend. Light weight training, Pilates, yoga, and dance are what is recommended. Avoid intense interval training, plyometric workouts or intense linear exercise such as walking, as these will all cause a stress response in the body.
9. Lack of sleep the night before – This is stressful on the body and will cause blood sugar fluctuations the next day especially if not enough fiber, protein, or fat is taken in.
SOLUTION: Be sure to aim to get between 7 to 8 hours of sleep nightly. According to NIH research, less sleep is needed in the summer, about 7-7.5 hours, and in the winter, much more sleep is needed, about 8-9.5 hours.
10. Mental and emotional stress or stressful thoughts – This will cause the body to go into a mini “fight or flight” mode. The body will release blood sugar for you to “run from the lion,” and then release insulin bringing down the blood sugar, possibly causing it to crash.
SOLUTION: aim to do something daily for at least 20 minutes that brings on a relaxation response, such as the soundwave therapy that came with your initial Becoming Balanced program, meditation, yoga, or deep breathing. Any of these will have great effects on stabilizing command emotions as well as blood sugar.
11. Not eating anything during the evening after dinner – Blood sugar cannot stabilize throughout the entire night and will crash in the middle of the night.
SOLUTION: To stabilize nighttime blood sugar, some sort of high protein snack containing fat is essential to allow you to sleep deeply uninterrupted while burning fat. We suggest a scoop of vegetable or egg protein in either almond milk or coconut milk with a tablespoon of either coconut oil or MCT oil. Flaxseed will do, but is not as good blended.
12. Having refined sugar snacks, alcohol or caffeine close to bedtime – This will cause reactive hypoglycemia, and the blood sugar will rise and fall quickly.
SOLUTION: It is essential to have a protein and fat combined snack before bed to stabilize blood sugar and allow it to be maintained throughout the night and only fall in the morning when you weigh and are ready for breakfast. See above for protein shake idea.
13. Spending too much time on a cell phone, in front of the computer or watching TV late at night – The body will go into a “fight or flight” mode and the blood sugar will be affected negatively.
SOLUTION: It is best to put any of type technology aside at least one hour before bed to allow your eyes to rest from the light that these devices generate. This light, along with regular fluorescent light, tends to raise cortisol levels, causing the release of insulin and blood sugar. This starts the process of restless legs syndrome and insomnia; and the subsequent blood sugar crash, causing you to wake up in the middle of the night with a hot flash.
Information by Dawn Cutillo