If you can keep your cool when all around you are losing theirs... you are probably in a room of menopausal women in the summertime.
Summer and Menopause can suck. As if it’s not hard enough with hormones fluctuations, weight gain and ALL the symptoms, summer can make things a lot more difficult to stay positive and in control. You can be sweating one minute, shivering the next!
Let's start with the most obvious - hot flashes or flushes - whatever your name for them, can make the heat of summer worse. You may get them, you may not, but hot flushes are one of the most common symptoms of menopause and are experienced by 75% of menopausal women. A typical hot flush can last anywhere from 10 seconds to 10 minutes, this varies from woman to woman and flush to flush. If you haven’t experienced one or are not sure, they are often described as a ‘creeping sensation’ which starts at the feet and continues to envelop the whole body. They can come on suddenly, sometimes without warning, but they can often be attributed to certain triggers.
“I'm just 3 weeks into the plan and my hot sweats have stopped” Debbie, 90 Day Plan Member
Some may experience hot flashes for up to 10 years from perimenopause all the way through post-menopause. Signs of a hot flash can include a sudden feeling of heat; a red, flushed face; sweating and an increased heart rate. Add to that the summer heat (even in the UK) and humidity, and hot flashes can be downright unbearable. So avoiding these spikes in heat is key to getting through the summer months without having to move full time into your refrigerator.
Here are some of my top tips for surviving menopause this summer!
To beat the heat during the day
- Wear all-cotton clothes that let your skin breathe. Wear light layers and take them off if you get too hot!
- Walk barefoot on a cold tile floor if you have access to one, in fact, whilst you're at it, just lie down on that lovely cool floor, stay and breathe awhile.
- If you’re going to be outdoors for any length of time, get a neck cooler that you can put in the freezer then drape around your neck.
- Have cold water with you at all times
- Avoid spicy food
- Cut back on caffeine
- Now is the season of the salad! Go for all those beautiful colourful veggies. Another favourite during the summer is gazpacho! Give it a go if you’ve never tried it!
- Avoid alcohol - make your cocktails virgin, keep the heat for the bedroom.
- Stress can be a trigger, use breathing techniques to cool the hot flushes
- Work out your “trigger foods” - usually refined sugar, caffeine, alcohol, saturated fats or processed ingredients.
- Resistance Exercise is still your best menopause ally in summer
- A routine of 5 x per week, low-intensity resistance training at home, and the length of the session depending on your exercise level, will see you through this summer. If you are an advanced exerciser take down your intensity level and adjust to how you feel each day.
Top Tip: Understanding and listening to your body is more important than following the masses within a system that isn't designed for each and every one of us.
- Research shows that mind-body practices such as meditation, deep breathing, tai chi, and yoga can help reduce hot flashes. Check out meditation apps that guide you through deep breathing and meditation sessions
- Gentle exercise in a cool room
- If you live by the sea - get in!
- Drink plenty of water and have a cool shower after your workout.
Try this delicious salad recipe to keep your menopausal cool
Quinoa Cashew Salad with Orange-Lime Chilli Dressing
Cooked Quinoa (cooled)
Frozen green peas (thaw in hot water, drain)
Chopped bell pepper
A handful of chopped raw cashews or any nut or seed you like
Add all the above ingredients into a bowl and mix them together.
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp orange juice (freshly squeezed)
1 1/4 tsp lime juice
1/4 tsp raw honey or maple syrup
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp nutritional yeast – optional
Add dressing ingredients to a small jar and shake well. Taste and adjust to taste.
Put some fresh lettuce leaves in a bowl or plate and then add the quinoa salad on top and then pour some of the dressing on and toss. The quinoa salad (without the greens) will store in the fridge for probably 3 days.
If you like the dressing, make a large batch and it will store in the fridge for about 6-7 days. It would even be great on hot quinoa and a veggie stir-fry.
How to stay cool and as a cucumber at night
- Keep the room temperature cool (65 degrees or colder) to prevent night sweats. Invest in a fan or keep your windows open so your room is cool at night.
- Sleep nude or, dress in light, breathable fabric.
- Use layered bedding that can be easily removed during the night.
- Run a fan at your bedside.
- Put a drop or two of lavender essential oil on your pillow to help relax and prepare you for sleep.
- Keep a frozen cold pack or bag of frozen vegetables under your pillow
- Reduce or eliminate alcohol to prevent the hot sweats from overriding your body.
- Turn the pillow often so that your head is always resting on a cool surface.
Our members top tips on staying cool during menopause:
- Carry an ice pack with you, put it on the back of your neck
- Buy a fan
- Ginkgo biloba - one of our wonderful members, Ness, found that Ginkgo biloba helps with all her symptoms, including heat in the summer. “I’m still peri-menopausal but edging closer to it and feeling the changing effects all the time. 2 years ago I started suffering from brain fog really badly.. and I started using Gingko biloba which is like a miracle for my brain function.. where the fog is concerned anyway. I’ve recommended it to so many others since.”
- Don’t suffer in silence, we are in this together
“ I am going into week four of my first ever food programme. I have to tell you that I really did not expect much as my menopause has made me so low and my body looks awful from years of rubbish eating and again letting go as the menopause weight piled on my middle. My mind is so much clearer and I feel I have more energy and am more positive. I also realised that it has been at least a week since I had a hot flush at all. It had gotten so bad my face and hair would soak, not flush . I honestly thought that the menopause had ruined me and that the plan might help but it SO HAS” Liz, member.
If you have any questions or worries about keeping cool this summer and how to handle menopause during this time, get in touch, I’d love to help out and spread the cool factor to all you wonderful women.