Menopause

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Hold That Pause

Red Wine Causes Hot Flashes

Yes, it's true.

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Up until a few months ago, I was a red wine aficionado.  Not white, or rose’, or blush, but red; the deep, dark, full-bodied red that explodes in your mouth with tannins, and warms your gullet all the way down to your toes.   

I especially loved curling up in front of my fireplace during the winter months reading a book with my red wine.  With the fire crackling and popping in the background, I would gaze with deep satisfaction at the legs sliding down the inside of the glass, savoring every drop of every sip. Oh, yes. I loved my red wine.  

But, not anymore – well, I do still love it.  I just don’t drink it anymore.  That’s because a number of months ago I made a very disheartening discovery.  Red wine caused me to have hot flashes and night sweats.  At first I didn’t want to believe it.  I was certain it had to be something else, like low estrogen levels. Maybe even estrogen dominance - anything.  Just not my red wine! 

I lived in iron-clad denial as I searched high and low for another culprit.  Could it be the coffee I was drinking?  How about spicy food?  Those cause hot flashes too, right? Or maybe I could just turn the thermostat down a little lower at night?

After a few weeks of trying to lay blame on every possibility I could think of, I decided to do a little armchair research.  I sat down at my computer and Googled the question “does red wine cause hot flashes.”   There it was.  Every stinking website and blog you could imagine had tackled the subject.  Women to Women, Drugs.com, Livestrong, my personal hero, Dr. Christiane Northrup; heck, even The Mayo Clinic had something to say about it. I couldn’t deny it any longer.

So I decided to conduct my own personal experiment and stop drinking red wine for a couple of weeks.  If the hot flashes stopped, then I would know that it was true. So I did, and guess what? My hot flashes went away.  I still didn’t want to believe it.  In fact, in one last desperate attempt at denial, I even upped my consumption.  It just couldn’t be true.  But it was, and I had a decision to make.

On January 10, 2012, I uncorked my last bottle of red zinfandel.  It was a bitter sweet night as I came to terms with the cold, hard reality that I would not be having another glass of red wine for a very, very long time - maybe never again.

It hasn’t been too bad, I must confess, though I do have moments of weakness every now and again.  But I can’t deny the complete cessation of hot flashes – not to mention, better sleep.  So there has been a definite benefit in my stopping.

If you drink red wine and have wondered if it might be connected to your hot flashes and night sweats, I hate to be the bearer of bad news.  It might be that it is.  In fact, some women report that even white wine causes hot flashes for them as well.

Of course, you don’t have to stop drinking red wine like I did.  Sometimes, when you love something enough, the pleasure of the experience over-rides all reasoning to the contrary.  For example, I know darn good and well that fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and gravy is not exactly healthy for me – I’m reminded of it each time that I step on those scales. 

But, I’m a girl from the South and you know what they say.  You can take the girl away from her fried chicken, but you can’t take fried chicken away from the girl – or something like that.  Besides, it doesn’t cause hot flashes and night sweats.  So, I’m good.  

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About the Author

Magnolia is dedicated to empowering women to take responsibility for their own health.

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