MyMT™ Blog

Why that lockdown alcohol may be giving you hot flushes … especially if you’re in post-menopause.

She was laughing when she told me about how she and hubbie had gone through so much wine during lock-down. Every night they would pour themselves a glass or two or three of wine. They were working through the stocks in the cellar. But the dark rings under her eyes and the sweat on her brow told another story.

It’s hard to know exactly when I made the connection between alcohol and my own hot flushes and poor sleep. If you’ve been enjoying that glass of beautiful New Zealand Pinot Noir for years without feeling the effects of hot flushes, when it does happen, you know that ‘something’ is going on. But on reflection, it was when I moved from peri-menopause into post-menopause, that I really noticed it. So I wasn’t surprised when I saw that the research supports the effect that alcohol has on our hot flushes in post-menopause too.*

Peri-menopause typically begins around your mid-40’s. It’s the time of life when your reproductive hormones are starting to go into natural decline. Whilst peri-menopause is when symptoms are usually at their worst, as we move into post-menopause (when our periods have stopped for a year or more) some of the symptoms can hang around – for women who drink alcohol this can include hot flushes.

The good news for those of you in peri-menopause is that the effect of your biological ageing hasn’t quite hit your liver or blood vessels yet. You still have some way to go before structural changes begin in your liver. For women in post-menopause, it’s these structural changes that help to explain why that glass of wine starts to make you feel hot and sweaty when it hasn’t had this effect on you before.

Alcohol is associated with a higher risk of hot flushes when women are in post-menopause. It’s all to do with our post-menopause hormone, testosterone. Yes, even though we are females, our body still produces some testosterone, especially if women still have their ovaries as they move into post-menopause.

Add to this, our stressful lives at the moment, not sleeping properly and our ageing muscles and liver; alcohol consumption clashes with these other factors too. This combination causes many women to produce more testosterone, the hot flushes get worse, post-menopause weight increases and our gut health is affected too. This is also why I have designed a brand new Restore your Grateful Gut module for you – I tell you about it in the video below or you can read about it on the MyMT™ website HERE.

Numerous studies have shown that alcohol can mess up our hormones, especially testosterone and our blood sugar levels and liver too. This is especially so for women having more than 2-4 drinks a week – or having this many drinks all at once.

Testosterone is the hormone we can blame for our quick bursts of anger, frustration, weight-gain and even the growth of hairs on our chin as we move through menopause and into post-menopause. Too much testosterone production messes up our blood-sugar regulation hormone called insulin as well. It’s why women in post-menopause put on lots of body-fat and head down the slippery slope towards heart disease. Dianne in Brisbane was heading that way too.

For those of you who like a tipple or two, as you move into post-menopause it’s good to manage your alcohol intake. If you don’t, the belly fat goes on more rapidly, your fat cells becomes more inflamed and your hot flushes can increase too. When women in post-menopause drink more than 2-3 glasses of alcohol at once, DHEA-S (the sulphated form) increases in the bloodstream. When levels of DHEA-S are higher than normal, this causes more hot flushes. The effect, to researchers, is higher in post-menopausal women than peri-menopausal women. That’s why, if you are younger and only in peri-menopause, alcohol probably doesn’t come on your ‘hot-flush’ radar.… yet.

And I tell you about this in my ONLINE Masterclass on Menopause.

close up of measuring belly fat

I often tell women in my live event Masterclass on Menopause (which is now ONLINE for you) that as we move into menopause, this is the time to focus on our future years. When you listen to this webinar you will also hear me discuss the changes that go on around our body as we lose oestrogen. And I hope, that you take note of how much our liver changes too. The impact of this change alone, is that it’s harder for the liver to clear toxins … alcohol included.

Don’t forget too, that alcohol loves your liver, because it supplies a ready and steady source of glucose (sugar) and glycogen (stored glucose) reserves. At the same time however, while your liver is trying to take up the glucose from the alcohol, it is also trying to clear the toxins and preservatives in alcohol in order to protect your brain. The alcohol is therefore, preventing the liver from absorbing glucose and storing it, which is what the liver wants to do. Hence, many women have cravings for more and more alcohol as the need for glucose in the liver is so great.

When I came to better understand that with menopause being the biological gateway to our ageing, I also researched all the changes that are going on inside our cells and tissues as we lose oestrogen. Knowing what to do to change your lifestyle to adjust to these natural changes is important, it’s what I teach women in the 12 week MyMT™ programmes. I hope you can read about these programmes by clicking on the ‘More Info’ link below as they are ON SALE to the end of May, with savings of NZ$100. There’s only a few days to go. 

There is enough stress with lockdown without worrying about menopause symptoms, so this is my way of supporting you.

Alcohol consumption is well known to increase glucose levels in blood. So it makes sense that women who have elevated glucose levels may already have reached the threshold of glucose that their ageing (and shrinking) liver can deal with clearing. If you’re on that high-fat Keto diet and you are in post-menopause, your liver is also working hard to clear saturated fats from animal sources of fat, so it has to work harder to clear toxins from alcohol as well. This is why, in the MyMT™ programmes [choose between Circuit-Breaker or Transform Me depending on whether you need weight loss or not], I take you through an entire module called MyMT™ Liver-Lover and teach you how the liver changes as you go through menopause and of course, the strategies I’ve researched to turn the health of your liver around … especially, if you want to lose weight. And yes, you can still have the odd glass of wine too.

Wherever you are in the world, I hope you are going well.

Wendy Sweet, [PhD/ Member: Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine/ MyMT Health Coach]

* Schilling, C. et. al (2008). Current Alcohol Use, Hormone Levels, and Hot Flashes in Midlife Women. Fertil Steril., 87(6): 1483–1486. National Institute of Health.

 

Numerous studies have shown that alcohol can mess up our hormones, especially testosterone and our blood sugar levels and liver too. This is especially so for women having more than 2-4 drinks a week – or having this many drinks all at once.

Testosterone is the hormone we can blame for our quick bursts of anger, frustration, weight-gain and even the growth of hairs on our chin as we move through menopause and into post-menopause. Too much testosterone production messes up our blood-sugar regulation hormone called insulin as well. It’s why women in post-menopause put on lots of body-fat and head down the slippery slope towards heart disease. Dianne in Brisbane was heading that way too.

“If you have ever wondered if there was a clear easy plan to follow to sleep all night, reduce hot flushes and prevent or reduce your weight gain during menopause, then ‘welcome’ – you’re in the right place now.”

Discover how either of my two Menopause Transformation programmes might help you too or take my Symptoms Quiz below… 

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