6th Day of Menopause

For the sixth symptom of menopause our bodies gave to us … 6 sweaty women & a big pile of stinky laundry.

Yep night sweats and hot flushes is our subject today. A really common side effect and yet another one that we might miss and not realise is hormonal. Sounds ludicrous but the perimenopause can creep up on you with gradually increasing symptoms such that you don’t always put 2 and 2 together. I reckon I was having night sweats about 4 or 5 years ago, in my early forties. I just didn’t realise what they were but I do remember regularly having a lot of trouble trying to get my temperature right at night – too hot, too cold, duvet off, duvet on, warm top on, waking up really sweaty etc. At the time it didn’t occur to me that is was a sign my body was going into perimenopause as it just wasn’t on my radar. And nobody was talking about it!!

You too may be starting to have these, or other, symptoms but perhaps hadn’t realised what they were.

Women can really suffer badly with hot flushes and night sweats. They can go from feeling completely normal to feeling literally on fire, flushing in the face & body, and then excessively sweating. But with no apparent trigger for what causes it in the moment. Yet another symptom that can be embarrassing and pretty awful to have at work & in daily life. Night sweats can lead to women having to shower in the night or change sheets frequently and this, in turn, has an impact on sleep. Also excessive sweating generally can be another symptom and I notice I get a lot more sweaty when I exercise than I used to.

I’m lucky in that I don’t normally have night sweats anymore and from what I’ve seen this is probably due to me cleaning up my diet, a few years ago, and eating really healthily most of the time. Common triggers for hot flushes and night sweats are apparently:

Sugar
Alcohol
Caffeine
Stress

This makes sense as I don’t eat much sugar anymore as have mostly given up processed food, I have very little caffeine & never in the afternoons or evenings, aim to have 3-4 days alcohol-free each week and I don’t have a lot of stress in my life. I THINK this is the reason that I don’t tend to get them anymore most of the time. And the times I do notice a hot and bothersome night is when I’ve had a fair amount of alcohol. A food that is supposed to help is soy and as I follow a plant-based way of eating I naturally eat a lot of soy, and fruit and veg.

Or it could just be I’m not currently in that phase. Who knows? But the above are common triggers. Another thing that is supposed to help (again!) is exercise and some research suggests that women have a decrease in hot flushes for the 24 hours after exercise.

Now clearly we are in the silly season so it’s probably not the time to attempt to cut out any of the above. However it could be a time to start monitoring each day what perimenopausal symptoms you experienced and what you ate / drank / how you felt. Even if you’re not sure something is related to the perimenopause I’d recommend jotting it down as the list of side effects women experience is huge. By keeping a quick note each day you may find a pattern. You then have the option of cleaning up your diet in January and/or exercising more and/or trying supplements, and seeing what impact they have. Then you have more knowledge of your own body and what it needs or doesn’t like. The next few weeks could be a good time to try and figure out what’s going on for you. Please like / share incase it helps other women. Sue X

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