I am blessed to belong to a small group of women that have been sharing their highs and lows, supporting each other and enjoying great food, and hikes and other activities for about 15 years (20??).

 

 

In the beginning, we jokingly called ourselves the lactating ladies since it seemed that for a long while when ever we met someone always was lactating-if I am counting right, there are about 14 kids in total now. Whoever was pregnant or lactating served as the DD, it worked out well. I am the only member that didn’t have to lactate to get kids, I guess I sorta snuck in under the wire…

 

 

Another special part of this is we are all active and busy ladies yet we make time for each other every time a birthday comes up to do something special. It isn’t always that everyone can make it but we work hard to find a time when we can and it is rather magical when we do.

 

 

As kids are getting older (oops guess that means we are too) the moniker lactating ladies seems to be wearing a bit thin and other names have been suggested. Since I never did lactate I think I will put forward the flashing females since in this case, as the eldest of the gang, that is my experience already.

 

 

Of course, I don’t mean that we run naked under trench coats opening them to surprise (scare?) passersby, well maybe only as a funny haha. What I mean is the nasty condition of getting hot flashes as your body slows estrogen production as you move from the child bearing to the non-child bearing part of your life.

 

 

What do you think of the name, is it worthy?

 

 

Regardless, since you were exposed to my zombie brain post I figured you might like to learn a bit about hot flashes too, here goes.

 

Between 60 to 85 percent of menopausal women in North American experience hot flashes in their menopausal years. A hot flash for those that haven’t yet encountered it is like having an invisible thermostat inside your body flipped to high with an almost instant result. At least one other menopausal lady I have encountered describes it has having an internal fire that you can’t control. I remember having a flash in the icy -30 C and less temps this last winter and feeling just heavenly going outside for a bit without any coat. Aaaah!

 

 

Getting red and sweaty suddenly can be awkward but can also disrupt sleep and be accompanied by headaches or nausea. Not nice. One thing that helps me is understanding the process (as well as cold water immersion-a great time to explore the Wim Hof method!), so here is a brief intro:

 

 

During menopause, your brain and body are trying to adjust to lower estrogen levels that impact the balance and function of other hormones like follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). This is a big adjustment that throws the thermostat of the body, the hypothalamus, for a loop.

 

 

In fertile women, low estrogen and progesterone levels signal the hypothalamus to send a message to the pituitary gland to start stimulating the ovaries with FSH and LH because its time to ovulate. But, in women who are ceasing to menstruate, the ovaries cannot respond to the FSH and LH as well.  At first, the hypothalamus doesn’t understand this and thinks the pituitary gland isn’t getting the message. So, it gets a little distracted sending more messages to raise FSH and LH and get the ovaries to release an egg.

 

 

Distracted and confused, the hypothalamus (poor thing, I know how it feels~!) sometimes makes mistakes in the thermoregulation of the body – and a hot flash results.

 

 

So, this said there are some nutritional things you can do to help. Case in point, hot flashes are so rare in some Asian cultures that there is no word for “hot flash” in Japanese. The Traditional Asian diet is high in soy foods and their isoflavones and low in saturated fat from animal foods. Soy also acts as a phyto-estrogen (acts like estrogen) in the body.

 

 

Researchers and nutritionists agree that this is the main reason why hot flashes occur at much lower rates in these countries. The Standard American Diet, on the other hand, promotes dramatic hormonal changes with excessive amounts of animal fats, trans fats, sugar, alcohol and stimulants like caffeine. These foods make hot flashes worse.

 

 

So if you want to take your health into your hands during the mine field of menopause explore nutritional impacts. Do your own research and find what works for you. There are lots of terrific books and articles on the topic. If you have already researched and found some interesting answers I would love to hear about them. There is always new and evolving information out there on the topic.

 

 

Mean time stay cool…even if you aren’t “flashing”, I think the current summer heat enough~!

 

 

Yours truly,

 

 

The Flashing Female