Episode 200: Lisa Shares Her Lessons Learned in Perimenopause

While celebrating our 200th episode (!), Dr. Lisa reviews what worked for her, AND what hasn’t, in her perimeonpausal journey thus far. Dr. Toni shares the common symptoms of perimenopause, a transitional time of fluctuating hormones that can look different for every woman. Symptoms may include: hot flashes, irregular or heavy periods, sleep issues, aches/pains, depression, anxiety, brain fog, body composition changes and more.

In today’s episode, we cover:

  • What is perimenopause and menopause
    • Hear about Dr. Toni’s experience going into menopause:
  • What has been working for Dr. Lisa
    • Menstrual cycle awareness – for more info, see Episode 59
    • Slowing down, listening to your body, self love and acceptance
    • Increasing soy, supplements like magnesium, L-theanine, ashwagandha, using progesterone cream
  • Some changes that Dr. Lisa implemented that have reduced perimenopausal symptoms
    • Switching from intermittent fasting to a way of eating and fasting that supports her hormones
    • Going alcohol free
    • Ditching the weighted blanket (the reason may surprise you!)

See more info about research on perimenopause: 

See more info about sleep: Episode 73

See more info about hot flashes: Episode 32

Today’s Mama Must-Have:

Dr. Lisa loves her Costco membership for bulk shopping and chest freezer in the basement to store leftovers 

Toni – immune support for change of season – gummies, multi and electrolyte powders with elderberry and zinc, plus topping up with vitamin D drops

What’s Else is Happening?

Dr. Lisa has been nominated again for a Toronto Star’s Reader’s Choice Award (she won the Diamond Award for “Best Naturopathic Clinic/Services” last year in 2022). Please vote for her in the Health/Wellness/Fitness/Beauty category under “Naturopathic Clinic/Services” if you feel so inclined. She is third on the list (under another Naturopathic Doctor named Lisa). Thanks! You have until Oct 23rd to vote. 

You may need to create an account (it’s free) – just to ensure you are a real person.It only takes 2 minutes, and Dr. Lisa would be so grateful! 

Vote HERE

Dr. Toni’s next HypnoBirthing session for expecting parents looking to decrease fear and anxiety to support their natural instincts around labour and birth is happening this fall. Join her at https://www.hypnobirthingcalgary.com/register

Thanks for listening!

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Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Disclaimer: The information provided is not meant to replace treatment with a licensed health care practitioner. It is for informational purposes only. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor or other licensed health care professional to determine which treatments are safe for you.

Episode 133: Is It Hot in Here?! What You Need To Know About Hot Flashes

In this re-released episode from 2020, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni are talking about a hot topic: hot flashes! Whether you call it a hot flash or hot flush, they can be an annoying and uncomfortable symptom that you may start to experience in perimenopause. We discuss: what hot flashes are and why they happen; the potential causes and triggers for your hot flashes and night sweats; and what you can do about them so you don’t have to suffer.

According to research, anywhere from 35%–50% of perimenopausal women suffer sudden waves of body heat with sweating and flushing that last 5–10 minutes.

What is a hot flash?

A hot flash or vasomotor flush can vary from feeling slightly warm to more like a fire from the inside out. They can come on rapidly and last anywhere from 1-10 minutes. 

You may get them anywhere from a few times per week to more than 10 times during the day and night. They can be combined with visible flushing with your chest, neck and face turning red, with a little bit or a lot of sweat.

Hot flashes often continue for a year or two after menopause, but in up to 10% of women, they persist for years beyond that. They can disrupt your sleep, which can worsen: fatigue, irritability, anxiety, metabolism, weight control and immune system function.

Why do you get hot flashes?

Although hot flashes have been studied for more than 30 years, no one is absolutely certain why or how they occur. The Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research (CeMCOR) at UBC attributes hot flashes to “estrogen withdrawal”, as their research has found that hot flashes closely resemble an addict’s drug withdrawal due to the hormonal associations and brain effects seen.

Your level of estrogen while in perimenopause is fluctuating and can be unpredictable. When your estrogen level drops from normal to low or high to normal, it can trigger a hot flash in your body.

Estrogen drops can trigger the release of your stress hormone norepinephrine, as well as other stress hormones and brain neurotransmitters. Norepinephrine narrows the range of body temperature where you feel comfortable (also called your thermoneutral zone) so you’re more sensitive to both heat and cold. 

A hot flash is a vasomotor symptom where your blood vessels dilate to release more heat because of the narrowing of your thermoneutral zone.

Causes of hot flashes can include:

  • Blood sugar imbalances that can trigger your stress hormones, resulting in you feeling hot and wired
  • High stress and cortisol levels that can worsen night sweats
  • Inadequate detoxification through your organs of elimination or emunctories. Things that can make your hot flashes worse by negatively affecting your body’s ability to detox include:
    • smoking, constipation, being overweight, not exercising and not sweating (via exercise and sauan usage)
  • Triggers are different for each women. It is useful to keep a hot flash journal, tracking your potential triggers such as:
    • Hot drinks, caffeine, alcohol
    • Sugar, spicy foods, garlic
    • Nightshades like tomatoes, eggplant, peppers
    • Perceived stress or stressful situations

What can you do about your hot flashes?

  • Avoid your known triggers
  • Manage your temperature
    • Turn your thermostat down, put on a fan or A/C 
    • Sleep naked or in loose-fitting breathable cotton
    • Under-dress during the day and wear layers
    • Use a breathable weighted blanket like ZonLi, Chilipad or gel pillow
    • Drink cool or ice water
    • Use an essential oil spray with peppermint, clary sage, geranium
  • Manage your stress
    • Have stress-releasing time EVERY DAY! Be proactive to improve your response to stress
      • Meditation, yoga, deep breathing, singing, humming
  • Get a sweat going during the day with exercise, sauna or a hot bath
  • Eat nutritious food to:
    • Balance blood sugar levels – see Episode 10: What to Eat? Nutrition Tips for Hormone Balance
    • Include liver-detoxifyng and phyto-estrogenic foods
      • Ground flaxseeds (can add to chia pudding, smoothies, cereal, yogurt)
      • Organic fermented soy like miso soup or tempeh
      • Brassica vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts
  • See a Naturopathic Doctor for hormone testing and individualized treatment including:
    • Herbs like maca, vitex, black cohosh, sage, red clover, pueraria (Thai kudzu), hops, milk thistle, dandelion, artichoke
    • Nutrients like berberine, plant sterols, N-acetyl cysteine, magnesium, vitamin E, L-glycine
    • Acupuncture
    • Homeopathy
    • Bio-identical hormone creams
      • Natural progesterone has been shown in recent research to be safe and effective for hot flashes and night sweats, avoiding some of the adverse effects of classic estrogen therapy or synthetic estrogen with synthetic progesterone (progestin)

Today’s Mama Must Have:

Dr. Toni has a favourite oat and fruit bar recipe for a quick and easy breakfast or snack that Frankie loves:

Dr. Toni’s Banana and Fruit Breakfast Bars

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1 cup chopped apricots, cranberries, dates and/or prunes
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup milled flax seed
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Mash bananas and combine with fruit and oil. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Spread onto a pan or cookie sheet and flattened with a fork. Bake at 375oF for 10-15 minutes until slightly browned.

Dr. Lisa found a tasty gluten-free beer called Glutenberg to enjoy in moderation on hot summer days.

Thank you for joining us today! 

Email us or connect with us on Facebook and Instagram. We’d love you to subscribe, leave us a review and a 5-star rating if you enjoyed this episode.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

You can also support us by visiting our Patreon page.

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Disclaimer: The information provided in this presentation is not meant to replace treatment with a licensed health care practitioner. It is for informational purposes only. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor or other licensed health care professional to determine which treatments are safe for you.