As a pharmacist, I would like to help you understand the causes of heat and sweat attacks, especially during menopause. Below are some common causes that I often see in my patients:
1. Heat and warm weather
The outside temperature is a common cause of sweating and hot flashes. During the transition to menopause, the lower estrogen levels change your body's thermostat in your brain. Normally, brain pathways help you cool down when your body warms up. But during perimenopause and menopause, your body's temperature control center is disrupted. This can lead to hot flashes and night sweats, also called vasomotor symptoms.
2. Spicy foods
A simple trick to nip hot flashes in the bud is to pay attention to the spiciness of your food. Spicy food is a common culprit. To prevent hot flashes, it is best to avoid spicy foods, sauces and drinks. And it's not just spicy foods that can trigger symptoms. Very high temperatures can do that too. Instead of eating or drinking piping hot, try eating something lukewarm or at room temperature.
3. Cigarettes and tobacco
If you smoke or use tobacco products, your hot flashes may be worse and occur more often. Research suggests that smoking is related to vasomotor symptoms. The longer you smoke and the sooner you start, the worse the symptoms you may have. So it is best to try to stop smoking. Studies suggest that quitting can prevent many symptoms later. Quitting also reduces your risk of other health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, stroke and cancer.
That morning cup of coffee can give you a big energy boost, but caffeine and other caffeinated drinks can contribute to your hot flashes. For example, you can reduce your intake by drinking less coffee, tea, soft drinks and energy drinks.
5. Drinking alcohol
Alcohol can also trigger vasomotor symptoms. Studies show mixed results, but some experts say cutting back on alcohol consumption can help reduce hot flashes. When you drink alcohol, your blood vessels dilate and blood flow increases, which can make the feeling worse.
Are you feeling overwhelmed, anxious or stressed? Experts say this can cause hot flashes. You can use relaxation techniques such as mindful meditation or deep breathing. Supplements can also help you better manage stress and prevent hot flashes and night sweats.
7. The wrong clothes
If you are completely wrapped up in warm, non-breathable clothing, you may experience hot flashes or night sweats more often. Even small increases in your core body temperature can cause symptoms. To keep your body cool, it is best to choose cotton clothing, which allows more air to pass through than other fabrics. Wearing layers makes it easy to put on or take off to keep your body temperature under control.
Not everyone has the same triggers. What causes hot flashes and night sweats in one woman may have no effect in another. The easiest way to identify your personal triggers is to keep track of what you do and what symptoms you have. Write down what you do, what you eat and what you drink before or during a hot flash. In no time you will see connections between what you do and how you feel.
Pharmacist Dirk Christiaen
Founder of Metis Supplements