How to Avoid Summer Menopause Misery

New research from Alive!, the evidence backed supplement for all life stages, found that more than two-thirds of menopausal and perimenopausal women in the UK report that their menopause symptoms are worse/much worse now than pre-pandemic.   

Clinical Nutritionist Suzie Sawyer from www.feelaliveuk.com provides her top diet and lifestyle tips to help you cope with the menopause in the heat. These include layering up, cooling down with foods and being nutrient savvy.

New research[1] from Alive!, the evidence backed supplement  for all life stages, found that more than two-thirds (68%) of menopausal and perimenopausal women in the UK report that their menopause symptoms are worse/much worse now than pre-pandemic[2].  And further real-world data from Alive! also found that among menopausal and perimenopausal women:

“Is it me, or is it hot in here?”….. sounds familiar? If you’re going through perimenopause, or if you’ve already reached menopause, like me, you can probably blame your hormones for those hot and cold temperature fluctuations you’re feeling. The hormonal changes associated with menopause can leave you sweating one minute and shivering the next. This can be particularly challenging in the summertime when outdoor temperatures go up and humidity can weigh you down.

If summer is causing your menopause symptoms to warm up, try these 9 top tips from Suzie Sawyer, clinical nutritionist, and formulator of the UK Alive! multivitamin range.

9 diet and lifestyle tips to help you cope with the menopause in the heat

1, Layer up!: Be ready for anything, from a blast of chilly air conditioning to a major hot flush, by wearing several layers. Start with a vest top, then add a light blouse or a cotton sweater. Avoid pullovers, which can be difficult to remove in a hurry, particularly while driving, or in the middle of an important meeting.

2, Chill!: A swig of ice water can cool you down when a hot flush strikes. Have a few wide-mouth refillable water bottles on hand. Fill them with lots of ice and water, and store a few in the freezer. When one starts to warm up, swap it with an icy replacement.

3, Don’t spice it up!: Some women find that eating spicy foods makes hot flushes worse. If spicy Indian or Thai cuisine sets off your hot flushes, for example, avoid it until the Autumn. You may also want to cut back on caffeine if it revs up your hot flushes. New research[3] has indeed confirmed an association with hot flushes and caffeine, spicy food and alcohol intake, so it makes sense to watch what you eat and drink, especially if you get heated frequently!

4, Cool down with cool foods: If warm foods turn up the volume on your hot flushes, stay away from them. Choose cool soups, refreshing salads, and room-temperature entrees instead. Now’s a great time to try gazpacho. This crowd-pleasing, make-ahead, vegetarian recipe not only boosts your vitamin C intake, but it’s also one of your five-a-day! Cut down or leave out the tabasco/harissa though if spicy food exacerbates your hot flushes!

5, Keep your bedroom cool: Many menopausal women have reported that placing a bucket of water or a big bowl of ice in front of a fan cools wind that will passes through helps keep you extra cool. It will function like a DIY air conditioning unit! Also keep several choices of covering on your bed—a sheet, a thin cotton blanket, and a thicker throw – in case you get cold.

6, Exercise indoors: When the temperatures soar, move your workout indoors. Exercise in a room with plenty of cool air and ventilation. If you prefer to exercise outdoors, head out early in the morning, when temperatures are lowest. Drink plenty of water and cool off with a tepid post-workout shower. To keep night sweats to a minimum, schedule your workouts earlier in the day, especially if you notice that later-day exertion leaves you sweating in your sleep. Evening workouts raise levels of the stress hormone cortisol, encouraging hot flushes. Cortisol levels should be lower in the evening and night, to help you to sleep.

7, Be nutrient savvy: Menopause can put a lot of demand on your body, and this can often lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies, as nutritional needs change. Five common deficiencies, include calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, zinc and certain B vitamins. Most experts agree that a well-balanced diet is the best source of essential vitamins and minerals, but this is not happening nearly as much as the body would like. We are all very familiar with the advice to eat a minimum of ‘5-a-day’, mainly because fruits and vegetables are some of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet and can help plug nutrient gaps we know exist in the wider population. That’s why I recommend taking a daily supplement such as Alive! Ultra Women’s 50+ Wholefood Plus which contains enhanced levels of nutrients to specifically support bones, hormones, energy, hair, skin, and the heart. They are suitable for vegetarians and feature good levels of 26 essential vitamins and minerals plus a range of nutrient-rich botanical blends such as Daily Greens – including Spirulina, Digestive Enzymes, Citrus Bioflavonoids, Flax Lignan and Cranberry. And that’s not all, each tablet also contains a unique blend of 26 fruits and vegetables to top up what you may not be getting in the daily diet.

8, Consider natural alternatives to HRT: Prescribed hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a popular choice for women to help manage menopausal symptoms. However, some women experience unwanted side effects such as digestive issues (stomach cramps, bloating, nausea), weight gain, and anxiety. If that’s you, small, simple lifestyle changes coupled with herbal remedies borne out of nature can help to alleviate some of the common woes associated with the menopause including:

• Traditional herbal medicines containing Black Cohosh and St John’s Wort have been clinically proven to help relieve common menopause symptoms. In a double-blind study on 100 menopausal women who were experiencing moderate-to-severe hot flushes, researchers found that St John’s wort reduced the severity and duration of their episodes[4]. The findings suggest that this herbal remedy could be used as an effective treatment for vasomotor symptoms, like hot flushes and night sweats, in perimenopause and post menopause. Another recent review summarised the evidence and concluded that different compounds with multiple activities in black cohosh deliver the beneficial relief of menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes[5]. Black Cohosh is found in MenoHerb Black Cohosh Menopause Relief and the unique combination of St John’s Wort and Black Cohosh can be obtained taking MenoMood Menopause Mood Relief. Both are traditional herbal remedies for the relief of menopause symptoms.
• Some women find concentrating and coping with stressful situations particularly difficult during the menopause. Rhodiola rosea has been shown to help relieve symptoms of stress[6] without causing sedation or a foggy brain and can even boost libido[7],[8]. Try Vitano Rhodiola.
• The hormone-balancing, phytoestrogenic effects of Vitex agnus-castus may also help relieve symptoms of menopause. A recent randomised, double-blind study, found improvements to common symptoms of anxiety and vasomotor symptoms in the Vitex group[9]. Try PremHerb PMS Relief .

9, Do Your Research: Make sure you choose an herbal remedy which carries the THR kite mark as this guarantee’s quality, safety and includes approved dosage information in-pack.

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Notes:

[1]Consumer omnibus survey among 1,030 UK adults. Commissioned by Schwabe Pharma (UK) Ltd and Nature’s Way UK. Conducted by Perspectus Global. Spring/Summer 2022

[2] https://www.gov.uk/government/news/phe-publishes-new-advice-on-vitamin-d

[3] Hala Ahmadieh, Nadia Jradi. Prevalence of menopausal hot flashes in Lebanon: A cross-sectional study. Int J Reprod Biomed. 2021 Oct 10; 19(9):789-800.

[4] Abdali. K, Khajehei. M, Tabatabaee. HR. Effect of St John’s wort on severity, frequency, and duration of hot flashes in premenopausal, perimenopausal and postmenopausal women: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Menopause. 2010;17(2):326-331.

[5] Wuttke and Seidlová-Wuttke Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) is a non-estrogenic alternative to hormone replacement therapyClinical Phytoscience (2015) 1-12. DOI 10.1186/s40816-015-0013-0

[6] Edwards D, Heufelder A, Zimmermann A. 2012. Therapeutic effects and safety of Rhodiola rosea extract WS®1375 in subjects with life-stress symptoms-results of an open-label study. Phytother Res. 26:1220–1225

[7] Edwards D Et al. J Sex Med 2016;13(Suppl. 2): S158

[8] Edwards D et al. Phytother Res 2012; 26:1220–5[9] Rozita Naseri et al. Comparison of Vitex agnus-castus extracts with placebo in reducing menopausal symptoms: A randomised double-blind study.

[9] Rozita Naseri et al. Comparison of Vitex agnus-castus extracts with placebo in reducing menopausal symptoms: A randomised double-blind study.

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