Hot flashes after eating or drinking: Causes and treatment tips

By: Bel Marra Health | Women's Health | Friday, March 10, 2017 - 07:30 AM

hot flashes after eatingIf you have ever had hot flashes after eating or drinking, you are not alone. This is something that many people experience yet may not fully understand, especially when it comes to the cause. Here we take a look at what getting hot flashes after eating could mean and how to get rid of them.

Hot flashes are usually caused by a hormonal imbalance and are common when a woman goes through menopause. In fact, studies show that three out of four menopausal women experience hot flashes. Some people have menopause hot flashes after eating while others have hot flashes related to endocrinal disorders. The most common condition associated with this is diabetes.

The problem with hot flashes is that they can be uncomfortable and in some cases, embarrassing. The embarrassment is usually a result of the sweating that a person just can’t control.

What does a hot flash feel like?

For those who have not experienced sweating after eating or hot flashes during menopause, it can be hard to imagine. While the symptoms do vary from person to person, they typically include a sudden sensation of heat and flushing followed by perspiration. Other signs include trembling, confusion, and general weakness.

What causes hot flashes after eating?

Sweating after eating a meal has been the subject of much research, yet the exact cause is still a mystery. We do know that hot flashes occur when estrogen decreases in the female body. You could say that this disrupts a woman’s internal thermostat. This is a phenomenon associated with menopause.

Certain foods and drink or even eating a large meal can also bring on hot flashes. For instance, hot flashes after eating spicy food are not unusual. Caffeine and alcohol are also known to cause hot flashes. The heat sensation normally occurs in healthy adults only if their blood sugar level drops below 60mg/dl. It is important to know that although there are common triggers when it comes to eating, foods that cause hot flashes can vary drastically from one person to another.

Research indicates that anytime body temperature is elevated, it’s possible for a person to experience a hot flash. Hot foods, for example, can dilate blood vessels and stimulate nerve endings. As a result, the body feels warmer. Diabetics can be hypoglycemic after eating, which can cause hot flashes. We can’t blame everything on a meal though. In other words, hot flashes after eating and drinking are only part of the possible culprits. Some people experience hot flashes when they are stressed out or are having an allergic reaction. Andropause is another possible cause, but in men. Similar to menopause, andropause is a hormonal change in men that can trigger hot flashes after eating.

Foods to avoid hot flashes

A lot of people want to know how to get rid of hot flashes. There is no quick answer, especially since not everyone has the same triggers. Still, the following list can act as a guideline for those who want to avoid foods that cause hot flashes.

  • Spicy foods
  • Caffeinated drinks
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Beef brisket
  • Sugary foods
  • White bread
  • Pasta
  • Potatoes
  • Corn
  • Raw or non-homogenized dairy products

It may be obvious why spicy foods and alcohol are on the list, but high carb foods like white bread and pasta are particularly hard on women who are going through menopause. It can make their symptoms worse and, of course, those symptoms include the hot flashes and moodiness. Too much sugar can also further aggravate menopause.

Foods to help reduce hot flashes

So if there are foods that can cause or aggravate hot flashes, then there must be foods that can help reduce hot flashes. If this is your thinking then you are correct. For instance, studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in vegetables and fresh fruit, can result in a 20 percent less likelihood of getting hot flashes and night sweats.

The following list includes foods that help reduce hot flashes, including some food items that you would find in the Mediterranean diet.

  • Melon, pineapple, mango and strawberries
  • Nuts
  • Brown rice
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Squash
  • Legumes
  • Lean chicken breast
  • Non-fat skim milk
  • Whole grains
  • Cold water fish
  • Flaxseed

Scientists believe that fruits, vegetables, and whole grains provide a good amount of fiber, which is a nutrient that has been linked to estrogen fluctuations. The theory is that by stabilizing blood levels of the hormones insulin and cortisol, you won’t get variability in estrogen and therefore you won’t get symptoms like hot flashes. The Mediterranean diet, which features fruits, veggies, and whole grains, is considered lower on the glycemic index. That is how it can control blood sugar spikes and menopause–like symptoms.

How to get rid of hot flashes after eating

Treating hot flashes depends largely on what is causing them. In many cases, it’s a matter of regulating blood sugar levels. Normal lifestyle modifications, which include diet, exercise, avoiding tobacco, and wearing loose cotton clothing, are included.

One of the best things you can do is make sure that you have a balanced diet that includes essential nutrients and vitamins. Avoiding processed foods and triggers like spicy and oily foods will go a long way in curbing symptoms. Many people also find that drinking plenty of water helps keep the body cool. Studies show that a regular exercise routine is helpful in addressing body temperature issues.

There are medications and supplements that can help reduce hot flashes. For example, hormone replacement therapy is an option, but it is controversial and is something that requires discussion with a doctor. Some women have reported relief from symptoms after taking gabapentin and pregabalin. These are medications that are designed to relieve nerve-mediated pain. Antidepressants have also been used to alleviate hot flashes but again, any medication requires careful consideration. For those who want to avoid drugs acupuncture could be an option. Research reveals that it can be helpful in reducing hot flashes, as well as other symptoms associated with menopause.

Hot flashes after eating, drinking, or simply due to menopause can be at the least annoying and at most, terribly uncomfortable. Some people experience severe hot flashes that lead to headaches and dizziness. In these cases, a doctor should be consulted just to rule out any underlying medical problems. For the most part, people have little to be concerned about and come to realize that small lifestyle adjustments can be very helpful in relieving the heat sensations and sweats that are characteristic of hot flashes.

Related: Shortness of breath seen as a symptom of menopause


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Sources:

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/menopause/Pages/hot-flushes.aspx
https://www.reference.com/health/causes-hot-flashes-after-consuming-food-65cd74c43dc89812
http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/eat-ease-menopause-symptoms

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