A.Vogel’s Menopause Flash: What to do if you’ve overindulged

Hi and welcome to another edition of A.Vogel’s Menopause Flash. Given that the holiday season is upon us, I thought I’d talk about overindulgence.

Menopause | Digestion


Mackie Vadacchino
@AVogel_ca


21 November 2018

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably overdone it already and are likely suffering the consequences. I love food, and if anybody ever said to me, “You can never have a glass of wine, cup of coffee or piece of really gooey chocolate cake ever again,” I would very, very seriously cry.
Over the holidays, when there’s lots of food and drink and other temptations around us, it’s very hard to say no. So today I’m going to talk about how indulging in all those extra foods can affect your menopause symptoms and what you can do to remedy the situation as quickly as possible.

Let’s start by having a look at some of main culprits.

High-sugar foods
These include things like biscuits, cakes, sugar or pecan pie, Christmas pudding and the countless boxes of chocolates you’ve received as gifts. As you may already know, too much sugar very quickly messes with your blood sugar levels, making them go up and down like a yo-yo.
Once that starts happening, it can trigger hot flashes and dizziness and give you stress-induced heart palpitations. And that doesn’t even take into account all the extra calories that’ll go straight to your hips… and beyond!

High-salt foods
These include things like potato chips, salted nuts, and crackers and cheese. For starters, too much salt will dehydrate you, and if you’re already having hot flashes or night sweats, you’re going to get even more dehydrated. We know that dehydration stresses the nervous system and that a stressed nervous system will trigger more hot flashes and night sweats—a vicious cycle to avoid at all costs. Excessive salt in your diet can also give you palpitations and cause dizziness. The solutions: try to avoid salty foods and drink plenty of water.

Carbohydrates
If you’re not used to eating a lot of carbohydrate-rich foods, suddenly bingeing on them can be a real issue because once you start, you’ll crave more—you’ll just keep eating and won’t be able to stop. Too many carbohydrate-rich foods will cause bloating, make you really gassy and can cause constipation.


Carbohydrate-rich foods include:

  • Stuffing
  • Wheat products (bread, pasta) and rice
  • Roasted potatoes
  • Roasted parsnips
  • Puddings
  • Snacks

 

Alcohol
Because alcohol dehydrates you very quickly, hot flashes and night sweats can get a lot worse if you drink more than you should. Alcohol will spike your blood sugar levels too, which can give you the munchies. Combine that with the self-control you’ll lose as the alcohol kicks in and you’ll end up over-eating in between all the drinks. Possible results: palpitations from the blood sugar fluctuations and dizziness from the alcohol if you’d had too much.
Another thing it’ll do is disrupt your sleep. When you drink alcohol, especially if you’ve had a few drinks too many, you’ll probably fall asleep really, really quickly, which is great, right? Well, not so great. While having a lot of alcohol will put you into a very deep sleep for roughly five hours, you’ll then wake with a start and find that you can’t get back to sleep. You’ll end up having a really long and restless night with lots of tossing and turning. Excessive drinking also flushes magnesium out of your body, which is bad news because magnesium is a very important mineral. As a result, you might feel particularly down and more anxious than usual for a few days.

Meat
Vegetarians and vegans aside, people tend to eat a lot of meat over the holidays. If you don’t usually eat much meat, suddenly doing so can really stress your digestive system, leading to constipation and bloating.

Know that you‘re going to be overindulging?

Going to a party or celebration or on vacation where you know you’ll be eating and/or drinking more?

Why not prepare for it and give your liver some extra TLC? A week before going away or the day before the event, start taking Digestive Aid Complex – Boldocynara and remember to drink extra water to avoid getting dehydrated from all that alcohol and constipated from all that extra food!

And the result is – a stressed liver

If all the problems I’ve mentioned above weren’t already annoying enough on their own, lumped together they’ll put a ton of stress on your liver. We know that menopause-related hormonal changes can really stress the liver, so imagine what happens when you pile on the additional food- and drink-related stress: your liver can really suffer and it can take four or five days for it to recover from a single day or night of indulgences. And when that happens, you might find some of your menopause symptoms getting worse.

Other symptoms

Blood sugar symptoms, hot flashes and digestive problems are just the tip of the iceberg: you might find yourself with more muscle pains and joint aches, headaches, itchier skin and the inability to think straight.

What can you do about it?

Drink plenty of water
The first thing to do is drink plenty of water to prevent or ease dehydration. You’ll notice a big difference in about half an hour and will likely feel a little better.

Diet
Try and get back to your usual diet as soon as you can. Allow yourself to enjoy the holidays—I know I do!—but just try to get back to eating right again as quickly as possible afterwards. Take a little bit of extra magnesium, which will help with just about everything. Eat a lot of vegetables. At lunch or dinner, have more vegetables than usual, because doing so will give you a few extra vitamins and minerals, not to mention fibre, which will really help your digestive system.

Get outside
Try and get outside a bit. Of course, if you’re suffering after that third helping of dessert—I’m getting flashbacks as I write this—getting up, putting your coat on and going out for a walk is not the least bit appealing. But going for a stroll is great for several reasons. First of all, it’ll take you away from all the temptation, and sometimes just having a little break like that can make a huge difference, giving you a chance to regain your common sense. Fresh air is great—it wakes you up and energizes you—and that little bit of walking will massage your digestive system and help it cope with all the extra food that you’ve been packing away.

Enjoy yourself
Above all, enjoy! If you do go too far and overindulge, don’t beat yourself up about it. After all, the holidays are a time to have fun and enjoy the moment. You can always go back to doing all the right things right after the holidays… or sooner if you can!

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