I just read an article this morning about a new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology that states that women who gain weight as they approach menopause have a harder time with menopause hot flashes. According to the article, it used to be believed that excess weight helped protect against this common effect of menopause because fat contains hormones that are converted into estrogen. But this research confirms that the opposite is true, and that higher body fat and body mass index make hot flashes more pronounced.
Similarly, I wrote recently in my newsletter, Women’s Wellness Today, that researchers used to think that exercise worsened menopause hot flashes. But what they determined was that the key was the strenuousness of the workouts. Menopausal women don’t need to be working out at an extremely strenuous level, but rather on a moderate level for 35 to 45 minutes at least four days a week to get relief from this menopause symptom.
So what is the take home message from all of this? Simply put, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight throughout life–and especially once you hit menopause–can make the transition into this phase of life much easier. If you are overweight and suffering from menopause hot flashes, your natural weight loss plan should include exercises like yoga and moderately-paced walking or biking.
As far as supplements go, I’ve given you many recommendations for night sweat and hot flash relief in this blog, but here are some of the newest that I discussed recently in my newsletter, all of which you can find at health food stores and vitamin retailers:
- Genistein is a phytoestrogen that provides significant help for menopause hot flashes, night sweats, and other menopause symptoms. If your hot flashes occur four or more times per day, taking geinstein in divided doses should help.
- Hops is best known as a flavoring agent in beer, but it also contains a potent phytoestrogen known as 8-prenylnaringenin (8-PN). Studies show that 8-PN brings significant relief from hot flashes and other menopause symptoms within just six weeks of taking 100 mcg per day.
- Kudzu is a prolific vine that contains the phytoestrogen puerarin. It has been used extensively in Traditional Chinese Medicine to relieve menopause symptoms.