Chaos to Calm

Perimenopause Power: Regaining Control Over Hot Flushes

June 18, 2023
Chaos to Calm
Perimenopause Power: Regaining Control Over Hot Flushes
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

During this week’s episode, Sarah addresses the various factors that can exacerbate those disruptive hot flushes during perimenopause. Listen along as she shares some practical tips and recommendations to alleviate your flushes, sweats and  related perimenopause symptoms.

Tune in to find out about:

  • Symptoms and sensations associated with hot flushes
  • Frequencies and average durations
  • The brain’s hypersensitivity towards body temperature
  • Hormonal related triggers and reactions
  • How stress or food compounds could be linked to histamine flushes
  • Recommended stress and boundary management techniques
  • Monitoring the frequencies and triggers of your flushes
  • Providing your body with the sufficient nutrients
  • Supporting your liver
  • Reducing coffee, alcohol and sugar intake


  • Caught in a hormonal storm? The Perimenopause Decoder is the ultimate guide to understanding if perimenopause hormone fluctuations are behind your changing mood, metabolism and energy after 40, what phase of perimenopause you're in and how much longer you may be on this roller coaster for.
  • Been told your blood test results are "normal" or "fine" while you feel far from your best? It's time to dig deeper and uncover the missing piece of the puzzle. Discover the power of optimal blood test analysis with The Blood Test Decoder: Optimal Ranges for Women Over 40.

To connect with Sarah and learn more about her services, visit her website at, follow along on Instagram at @theperimenopausenaturopath.

Speaker 1: Hey there, i'm Sarah McLachlan. Thanks for joining me on the Chaos to Calm podcast, a podcast designed for women over 40 who think that changing hormones might be messing with their mood, metabolism and energy and want to change that in a healthy, sustainable and permanent way. Each episode will explore topics related to health and wellness for women in their 40s, like what the heck is happening to your hormones, what to do about it with nutrition, lifestyle and stress management, and inspiring conversations with guests sharing their insights and tips on how to live your best life in your 40s and beyond. So if you're feeling like you're in the midst of a hormonal storm and don't want perimenopause to be horrific, then join me on Chaos to Calm, as I share with you how to make it to menopause without it wrecking your relationships and life. Hello and welcome to the Chaos to Calm podcast, where we are discussing how to master the chaos of those changing hormones, mood, metabolism and energy in your 40s and beyond. Thank you, perimenopause. 

Speaker 1: I am Sarah, the perimenopause naturopath, and this is episode 14 and we are going to be diving deep into hot flushes. Woo, because if you are getting hot flushes, you know, during the day, night time, whenever they come for you. You're in good company because around 75% of women will experience hot flushes Some people call them hot flashes during perimenopause. I do notice that they tend to come later on in the journey, sort of midway. Remember I talked about the phases of perimenopause and in an earlier podcast episode and on my blog I talk about it, but you can also find my handy dandy perimenopause decoder in the show notes is the link for you to go and download it and work out which symptoms of yours might be attributable to perimenopause and also what phase of perimenopause that you're at. So you can know how much longer are you going to have to be in perimenopause for before you get to make your grand entrance into the next phase of life. So, perimenopause decoder go download it and work out where you're at and how much, and you know is it coming? Are those flushes coming for you? Also, reminder your perimenopause journey is totally unique to you. It will be different to your mum, your sister, your aunties, grandma's, friends. You know those around you. So just because someone else you know gets lots of hot flashes, it doesn't necessarily mean that's ever going to happen to you. But we are going to talk about it today and you know it's not inevitable. That's where I was going there Any of the symptoms that I'm ever talking about here on the Chaos to Calm podcast. You don't have to resign yourself to having them or experiencing them, because A well, they may not be part of your perimenopause journey or experience, but also there's so much that we can do to help reduce them from happening, and that is what we're going to talk about today for hot flushes Because, yeah, remember I say, just because something is common doesn't mean it has to be your normal. Please keep that in mind. Always Hear me telling you just because you're getting older or just because these things are happening to everyone else, it doesn't mean it has to happen for you. 

Speaker 1: So, hot flashes, what are they? How do they show up in your life? They are, you know. You probably have a good idea. Maybe you've experienced them, or you know someone who has. They considered a vasomutor symptom or VMS, like a spasm, so what it is. 

Speaker 1: It's actually a little different for everyone else, for most people. So you might feel a sudden spread of heat from your chest up to your head, or you might feel it from your head down, or maybe it's just like a sense of heat in your chest and your body, kind of radiating out in all ways. There You're probably going to feel hot. May or may not feel red on the outside, but you're probably going to get red in your face and you might find yourself hotter than everyone around you or like layers are your friend if you're getting hot flushes because you're going to be cutting it off, cutting it on, cutting it off, cutting it on Same with the bed clothes. You know, use blankets, make sure you've got a sheet so you can take things on and off as you need. 

Speaker 1: But you're going to, yeah, feel that flush, that heat, getting red in the face, hot and warm in your body. Maybe your skin might feel burning and you're probably going to get sweaty and then feel possibly very cold afterwards because you're so sweaty. They can occur during the day or at night and I find I've observed that some people you know they'll mostly get them at night, not in the day, or vice versa. Again, it's really unique how this flows. The average duration is four minutes, but the frequency and intensity can vary. You might find your hot flush or power surge. Let's go with power surge, i like that anyway. So you're power surge. 

Speaker 1: You might find that you just have a general elevated sense of heat in your body during paring menopause, like you're running hotter than maybe what you ever used to do before, and that could be like getting around in a t-shirt and winter while everyone else is super rugged up. So, yeah, other symptoms that might come with your hot flush include things like maybe a bit of dizziness or nausea, feeling pressure, or you might even get some palpitations like hot palpitations there, and that kind of gives us a clue of maybe what else is going on for you in terms of hormones or other neurotransmitters and immune compounds in your body. Now, usually hot flushes will subside a couple of years postmenopause, but unfortunately for some that doesn't happen. Empathy, sympathy if that is you. 

Speaker 1: I have had clients postmenopause clients that, yeah, they're still getting heaps of symptoms, and then it's really about helping your body adapt and adjust because it hasn't done that on its own to the lower or changed hormone levels. We need to help it do that by supporting and nourishing it there, right? so, yeah, hot flushes not harmful. They're just really annoying and uncomfortable and that is enough reason to do something about them. Then being annoying or uncomfortable not a sign necessarily of dysfunction or something wrong in the body, it's still a good reason to do something about it, because they're really disruptive to your day and to your sleep. And if you don't get enough sleep, well, we're all just giant toddlers without enough sleep, aren't we? So let's talk about what causes the flushes. So, like lots of things I talk about, modern medicine isn't 100% sure, because they don't always do enough research, because women, our bodies, our hormones, it's complicated. 

Speaker 1: But what I can tell you is that there is a part of your brain that is your control center and for your organs I mean including, like your ovaries, your adrenal glands, your kidneys, your thyroid, it's also where your body temperature is managed. It's called the hypothalamus. It regulates your body temperature. Now it it's like a thermostat, i suppose control center thermostat. It sets the tone. It's. It sets your metabolic rate and and other things as well, in conjunction with your thyroid. But anyway, your brain has a range of temperature, usually like your thermostat, let's set. Just say so. It makes it easier to talk about that. That might be like 18 to 22 degrees normally. So you know, you can go out in the cold, or you might drink a cold drink without shivering violently, or you can stand near an oven or and not get dripping in sweat because you know that you can feel the heat from them, but they're not. You know, you've got that ability to vary your temperature within that range without your body overreacting. 

Speaker 1: Now welcome to perimenopause, where your brain becomes really hypersensitive to even slight changes in your body temperature. So instead of having that broader thermostat range so 18 to 22 degrees we might be operating in 19 to 19.5 degrees. It'sa very small range. It's the slightest change in your body temperature freaks your brain out, sends it into overdrive and it's like oh my gosh, we got to warm you up, sister, you're cold. And so then it does that and you get a hot flush. Boom, you are heated up and it's like, oh my gosh, you're too hot, we got to cool you down, sweat incoming. So then you're like super sweaty. Finding that happy medium is really hard because there's such that narrow range there. 

Speaker 1: What causes the change in the range? Well, not completely a hundred percent, sure, because there's not enough research on it, but we think it's because of the estrogen change and estrogen decline. Of course, because, like, if I wasn't saying estrogen, i'd probably say progesterone, wouldn't I? maybe a little touch of testosterone thrown in there. But the estrogen decline affects the balance of your brain chemicals, including serotonin and cortisol. So that's why it's kind of mid to later because, remember, at the start of perimenopause your estrogen is rollercoastering. It's going higher than a high before it starts to gradually come down. So When that estrogen crashes and comes down it brings your serotonin with it, throwing off cortisol, adrenaline and other brain chemicals and hormones there as well. So that fluctuation, that reducing estrogen, influences your temperature zone or thermostat and can trigger the hot flushes and then the sweats. 

Speaker 1: Now something important to consider here is that you might be having flushes or sweats because of the level of stress in your life. You totally knew I was going to mention stress in this podcast, didn't you? Because would it even be a podcast episode with me if I didn't talk about the biggest blocker to health, happiness and weight loss in your 40s? I don't think so. So yeah, stress, part of your normal stress response actually it's a more inappropriate stress response is sweating and heat And cortisol and adrenaline, when they're at consistently higher levels or that chronic higher level with chronic stress can bring, can raise your body temperature and leave you feeling hot and sweaty. So, as an example, when I was 19 kilos heavier than what I am now. 

Speaker 1: So before my own personalised nutrition journey, i had, and we'd had, experienced a whole lot of stress and trauma in our lives And I got around Melbourne in winter time. If you're not in Australia and you don't know how cold it is in Melbourne, it's very cold And where we were living like it would be in single digits, maybe four in the middle of the day with a T-shirt. So I was getting around with a T-shirt on because I was really hot and sweaty all the time. Also, we'd get some heart palpitations and that was anxiety and stress related there as well. So cortisol and adrenaline are very stimulating hormones and compounds in the body and can up-regulate all your metabolic processes and, you know, leave you feeling hot and sweaty. So that's something to think about. If you are experiencing flushes and sweats and you think maybe actually I'm not, i don't think I'm in perimenopause or I don't think I'm far enough into perimenopause that I might be getting them. You still could get them in the early phases. You might get me wrong, but it could be something to do with your stress levels Now, remembering that stress can also come from foods that we're eating or, yeah, food compounds and chemicals that we're being exposed to. 

Speaker 1: So briefly, in the Alcohol Intolerance podcast episode I mentioned histamine and I talked a bit about histamine. Now, histamine is a brain compound, a neurotransmitter. It's not a badie Like we do need it. It's an immune compound as well, but we just when it gets into high levels, it's not great for us And it can do things like create that flush and that redness in your face and racing heart and make you want to dash to the toilet super quick. 

Speaker 1: So if you're hot flushes, if you think that maybe they might be more related with your stress, or perhaps they're related with foods, like if it's a histamine style response that's giving you flushes, it might be. You might notice that closer to food and drinks wine and red wine particularly are real triggers for that histamine flushing. So, in particular, if you're interested in your lifestyle or protein放心 products, it can be estrogen. But just remember to have a look and think about those other causes and what might be going on as well. So just to summarize there, because I did go a little far and wide, that we're talking and thinking about the reasons for our flushes Yes, it could be hormone related, perimenopause, hormone change related. 

Speaker 1: It could also be stress hormone related, and it could be histamine, like food intolerance or sensitivity related. But, remembering from what I talked about in the alcohol intolerance episode as well, histamine and estrogen have a love-hate relationship or they trigger each other. So as histamine rises, your estrogen rises, which increases your histamine increases, your estrogen gets a bit cyclical there and troublesome. So, yes, not just always food is what I was going to say there. All right, so we've talked about what your flushes might feel like, why you get them, the temperature zone or your thermostat changed there. What are you going to do about it? That's what you want to know, right? Because, like I said, this can be common, but it doesn't have to be your normal. 

Speaker 1: So there's lots of studies showing various non-pharmacological and non-medication interventions for managing hot flushes. So things like stress reduction I just explained to you what cortisol and adrenaline can do, so it makes sense that I'm going to say that managing your boundaries and your stress and your busyness levels is something that's going to help. Of course, things like deep breathing, mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques really can help reduce the frequency and severity of hot flushes. Now, one thing I want you to do if you are getting flushes is keep a diary, keep a symptom diary and and make a note when you get a flush and you might notice a natural increase in them if you're feeling stressed or like maybe they happen more at work. So have a think about when they're happening and and look at, look for patterns Always. You know data is so useful for finding patterns to think and that helps you work out. 

Speaker 1: Well, is it stress? Next thing, food. I want you to eat a diet that's, you know, 80% nourishing and balanced and nutrient. So if you're not sure how to do that, remember I've also got the freebie around the chaos to calm balance meal formula. It's in the show notes, so head on over to wwwCailsToCarmPodcastcom to find those freebies there. So providing the nutrients and the balance there for your body, so that it's got the building blocks for the hormones and the compounds that it needs. 

Speaker 1: Now the flow on effect for eating a diet of 80% nourishing foods is that it's going to nourish your liver. The liver is a must for anything related to hormones, so something that you can do relatively easily I guess it depends on your caffeine Level. Of caffeine addiction, though, is switching out one or more of your coffees or teas for a dandelion root tea or Dandelion root chai or something like that. Dandelion root is really fantastic for liver support and it has a nice, similar, rich, bitter taste to coffee. I love dandelion chai and there's, you know, like the wet chai that you can get, you can get some wonderful dandelion chai as there as well. So a diet of 80% nourishing foods is going to provide the building blocks that your liver needs to package up the excess estrogen and histamine and things like that and remove them from your body so they can't make mischief. 

Speaker 1: Now another thing that eating a beautiful, 80% at least nourishing, balanced diet is going to do is help you address underlying insulin resistance. Now, this is a really common reason why flushes might start but not finish after menopause is insulin resistance. So, and that can you know, the flushes and that can come from fluctuating blood glucose levels. So eating sufficient protein, a lovely, nourishing diet, is going to help keep your blood glucose levels in a healthier range, and the same with insulin there as well. Bonus side effect is that if you have abdominal weight, you will shift some of that by eating in that way. 

Speaker 1: Now something else to note. I said before you know, take a diary or keep a diary, a symptom diary and tracking when these flushes come. That will help you understand if stimulants and other foods are triggering them. So when I say stimulants, i'm talking alcohol, coffee, sugar. I know I am the death eater from Harry Potter sucking the life out of the room. I'm not saying you have to avoid them all forever, but you'll. You know, you'll notice if they're causing trouble and it might be the quantity or the frequency. So, always collecting the data, then we can make informed decisions around what is going on and what we need to change up. So you need to know the food and drinks that are going to trigger you. It could be spicy food, coffee, alcohol They're the most common ones there. But keep a food and symptom diary and look for the patterns there. 

Speaker 1: So I want to just touch on a bit more about supporting the liver for your hormone balance, because it has a really crucial role in hormone metabolism and detoxification. Your liver is responsible for metabolizing those hormones, aka packaging them up and getting them ready to be eliminated from the body by either the kidneys and your urine, or your gut and your bow, or your bowel motions. So it's really essential for hormone balance and when we increase stimulants like coffee and alcohol and things like that, we're putting a load onto the liver and taking its attention away from your hormones, and that's why part of the reason why those foods and drinks can trigger flushes and feeling rubbish. So switch out some of your coffee servings A. Your sleep will benefit from it and the more better rested and better sleep you have, the less likely you are to have flushes during the day because you've got less stress on your body there. 

Speaker 1: Bitter tasting foods, bitter and sour taste, really helps stimulate your digestion and helps support your liver and stimulate your liver function there as well. So you want to. You know things like dandelion root that I mentioned, but don't forget vinegars and bitter greens like rocket and endive. Researchers show and ask that the dandelion root extract can help enhance the metabolism of hormones and liver function there as well. So incorporating those liver supportive foods and herbs can really help with your hormone regulation there as well. So bitter and sour taste and humans were designed to avoid them and you know, naturally we desire sweet, but the bitter and sour is what you need. So try and incorporate some of those into each meal. 

Speaker 1: So, wonderful woman, we have made it to the end of another episode and I hope you've found this discussion on hot flushes and sweats during Perimenopause Informative but also empowering, to help you understand what's going on for you and make some changes to take back control and help let that not happen so much, because you don't have to let those pesky symptoms ruin your days or your nights. You sleep If you understand the cause and we and collect the data on what that so that you can make that informed decision around what might be causing it, or take the data to a health professional who can help you understand and diagnose it. From there you really get to take charge of your journey through to Perimenopause and beyond. You get to decide how you feel. You know those common symptoms do not have to be your normal and that's why I you know we've delved into the science behind hot flushes. I've helped you, hopefully under cover the role of the hypothalamus, and understand how the hormone changes of Perimenopause change that thermostat in your brain and contribute to things like hot flushes. Because with that knowledge you get to start to try and identify and address the underlying factors contributing to your hot moments there as well. 

Speaker 1: I hope you found the practical tips useful to reduce your flushes. We've talked about managing stress, of course, to nourishing your body with foods. And don't forget the power of supporting your liver and addressing any underlying insulin resistance absolutely essential steps on your path to hormone balance. I think insulin, along with cortisol, in my opinion, are the master hormones. They really set the tone in your body and that important to keep them in balance because the flow on effect is real and they will influence your sex hormones there as well. 

Speaker 1: Final reminder Perimenopause does not have to be horrific. You can, you know, embracing a holistic approach and taking charge of your well-being, you get to navigate this phase with energy, enthusiasm and without it wrecking your life or your relationships there. So once more, thank you for joining me today and I really encourage you to share this episode with other incredible women in your life who would benefit from the information and the knowing about hot flushes. Together we can really create an empowered community of women who thrive in perimenopause, like let's keep talking about it and how it doesn't have to be horrific. Let's change that narrative. It's my one passion and goal in life is to show people there's a different way. We don't have to accept that current common narrative that perimenopause is horrific. So thank you again. 

Speaker 1: I hope you enjoy the rest of your day. Stay tuned for the next episode where I'll be giving you my perimenopause update. Until then, please remember, perimenopause does not have to be horrific. It's really common for women over 40 to experience the chaos of changing hormones, mood, metabolism and energy, but I hope you know now that common doesn't have to equal normal for you or them. You can help others understand they aren't alone in feeling this way and that perimenopause doesn't have to be horrific by subscribing, leaving a review and sharing this podcast with other women in their 40s and beyond. Thanks so much for listening and sharing your time with me today in this chaos to calm conversation. 

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