When I started perimenopause “in earnest” I started having hot flashes. I had them mostly during my periods. My periods were still regular, but the hot flashes were an added treat. I also noticed something else. The day before my period, I would itch. I had no idea why and didn’t actually give it too much thought. I just knew, oh, weird itch, gonna start my period tomorrow. I think I was about 49 when both started which put me in the right time frame for big hormonal changes.
By the time I was 50 my mild perimenopausal symptoms turned into a full blown bout with histamine intolerance. The hot flashes came on with a vengeance. I had dozens of them a day and dozens more at night. I had insomnia, itching, and whatever else I’ve previously written about.
Once I identified the histamine intolerance as my issue, I used a pretty disciplined approach to eating to get it under control. I eliminated the foods that made me itch while eating foods that I knew were high in nutrients. I also used quite a lot of vitamins and supplements. It didn’t take long to see results. The itching stopped, I started to sleep through the nights, and the hot flashes stopped.
In a weird way, the first three months of my intolerance were blissfully calm. My mood was even and the hot flashes were gone. I even remember thinking that the intolerance was a great gift because I was so grateful to be able to sleep through the night without a dozen hot flashes.
It wasn’t until I started to add foods back into my diet that I started to get the flashes back. I was back up to ten a day and three a night.But now I knew that food played a large role and I began looking for the right mix of diet and supplements to finally vanquish them.
To make a long story short, I eventually figured it out. White potatoes make me flash. So does chocolate and wine. Processed foods bring them on. (It’s the chemicals and additives that do it.) But one of the biggest culprits and the thing I drank every day, even twice a day, that I had to give up was green tea. I finally figured it out because I did not ever touch green tea when I was in the restrictive phase of my diet, but it was one of the things I added back in early on.
So what’s my point? Well, the New York Times published a new report saying that women can expect to suffer from hot flashes for up to fourteen years. It says that if you start having hot flashes before menopause, you can suffer hot flashes well after you’ve reached menopause. (Defined here as a year from your last period)
Technically I fall into the group of women who could have hot flashes for fourteen years because mine started early in perimenopause when my periods were still regular. But I do not have them at all. Not unless I eat a food that triggers them.
My mother is one of the women who even now, at 79, still has them. Now it’s more occasional but she’s had them well into her seventies. My sister who is three years my senior still has them.
I really don’t think I’m special. And I don’t think I’m unique in any way other than I’ve figured out the foods that trigger the flashes and went on to eliminate them. (the foods and the flashes)
I truly believe women can manage the symptoms of menopause through food and nutrition. The additives alone in processed foods will keep women flashing away. The minute I eat something with some awful additive, there they are back again.
Let’s face it, it wasn’t easy figuring it all out. Every day I hear from women from all over the world trying to manage their histamine intolerance and all the symptoms of menopause that can go with it. But if you do the work, eat right, supplement (if you need to) you can eliminate the symptoms of menopause.
And notice what I just said: the symptoms of menopause. This was the epiphany I had on my run last night. Hot flashes are just another symptom. They are not special. If you eat a strawberry and break out into hives, the hives are the allergy-like response to the strawberry. When I drink green tea, I get a hot flash. The hot flash is the allergy-like response to the tea.
The article made me think about another thing I’d been wrestling with since I eliminated the symptoms of menopause and histamine intolerance. Did I heal the intolerance, or is it just under control?
I’ve always thought it’s that it’s more under control than healed. If I eat a processed food that has an additive in it, the hot flashes come back. If I started drinking green tea, the flashes would come back. This makes sense to me now to the time frame of the article. If it’s possible to have hot flashes fourteen years after they start, that would indicate to me I have to be vigilant with my diet for quite some time. This is why even now, hot flashes can still rear their ugly heads.
Until the medical community stops and listens to women, nothing will change. Many of the women who write me tell stories of how they’ve begged their doctors to understand they think there is a link between their hives and itching and menopause, and how their doctors are completely dismissive. They tell me they’ve heard it’s all in their heads. Or to just take anti-histamines. That no one knows why people get hives. Or they send them for biopsies and tests they don’t need and show nothing.
It’s out there though. You can do a search of the terms menopause and allergies and you’ll see the articles. There is a basic admission that changing hormones affect allergies. But the information is inaccurate. You do not suffer from new allergies. Your histamine is high and you are reacting to outside stimuli because of it. This is why many find that their allergists can’t help them; they are not technically allergic to anything.
I encourage women to take their lives back by taking control of their bodies. Do the work. Change your diet. Get the vitamins you need.Figure out what your triggers are. You can do this. What’s more, you have to do this. No doctor is going to tell you this.They want to put you on HRT or anti-histamines. You’ll never fix it that way.
Bring your body back into balance and get rid of all the symptoms of histamine intolerance, at the same time getting rid of all the symptoms of menopause. They are the same. We’ve been talking about the same thing all along.
I’ve wondered aloud if all women who have hot flashes and hives and all the other symptoms of menopause are histamine intolerant. I believe the answer could be yes. Why do some women suffer terribly and others sail through? What is the difference? Could it be that their fluctuating hormones triggered high histamine and the high histamine triggered everything else?
I think so. What do you think?