Hot flashes no more!

Deb posted this comment in response to the Smarter, Faster, Better post describing the transformations in her brother’s life and her own health minus wheat:

After watching my 52-year-old brother drop 53 pounds in 6 months, I knew he was onto something BIG! For years he had experienced severe digestive issues, was turning into a recluse, he complained constantly about aches and pains, and he was depressed. A friend turned him onto Wheat Belly and it changed his life. Thank you for giving me my brother back! After eliminating wheat, he no longer has any digestive-colitis issues, his depression is gone (without medications) and the weight is flying off. He also never feels hunger and feels completely satisfied by the amount of food he eats each day. He is dedicated to losing another 90 pounds. I truly believe this goal is in sight. His doctor is overjoyed with his results.

As I watched this happen, I thought, why not do this myself? After struggling with 30 extra pounds for years–taking it off, putting it back on, excessive exercise routines, Weight Watchers, reduced caloric intake–nothing ever stuck. I eliminated wheat 4 weeks ago and the changes have been dramatic: My thinking has cleared, my aches and pains are gone (thought I had arthritis – no), my sudden outbursts are gone, and much to my husband’s surprise (after 25 years of marriage) I have libido (not sure I ever had it to begin with, poor guy).

However, the absolute best thing that happened: my debilitating hot flashes are gone! I struggled most of my life as a hot person, but after menopause I was having severe hot flashes, soaking wet, at least 10 times an hour. When my doctor suggested HRT [hormone replacement therapy], I went along with her, as I was not living. When she said my time was up on HRT, I had to stop, I was terrified. For 8 months, I was back to the severe state of hot flashes again. She prescribed numerous medications that seemed to help, but I was in a state of stupor.

Oh, did I mention I have lost 8.5 pounds in four weeks as well? I am 55 years old and I truly believe I have never felt better.

I am spreading the word to whoever will listen and will ignore the raised eyebrows. After they see my transformation, they will come around! Thank you so much!

PS: The stomach pouch I have had since I was 18 is even gone!

Experiences like Deb and her brother’s illustrate what I mean when I say that there is a drug for every facet of wheat consumption:

Depression–antidepressants
Menopausal hot flashes–horse estrogens
Acid reflux–proton pump inhibitors and antacids
Colitis–Asacol, prednisone, and others
Joint pains–Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, prednisone, immune therapy agents

Just to name a few. Deb experienced a hormonal transformation with wheat elimination, evidenced by relief from hot flashes and heightened libido. Because we don’t have actual hormone levels to assess, we might surmise that she has experienced reductions in excessive estrogen levels, perhaps increased progesterone, increased DHEA and testosterone. In other words, consumption of modern wheat disrupts hormonal status, resulting in unnatural and perverse situations that we experience as hot flashes, reduced libido, and man breasts. (This is not to say that all menopausal hot flashes nor all man breasts are caused by consumption of modern wheat, but an important and substantial subset are. After all, what other foods can be eliminated and realize such benefits?)

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Comments & Feedback...

  1. Sandy

    Wow! I never gave a thought to my awful hot flashes and wheat being connected. I just thought I had finally gotten over the worst of them due to my age (63). I still get the occasional one, but not nearly like the “drenchers” I would get many times during the day and night. Between the hot flashes, acid reflux and 20+ pounds lost on my 5 foot frame, all gone, I am a very happy wheat free camper!

  2. I’ve been nearly two years wheat free but sad to say it has done nothing for my hot flashes. Reflux is better, weight has been lost (35 lbs) and blood sugar is normal.

    BUT hot flashes? Terrible. Never mind – I suspect we all experience something different.

    • Denise

      LInda, if you have not yet tried it, I suggest you try eating only organic meat, poultry and dairy WITHOUT hormones. It’s made a big difference in my hot flashes. If I eat “tainted” meat or chicken I cannot sleep at night due to the hot flashes.

      • Hi – I am from New Zealand and our meat is not pumped with hormones. I also buy from a known farm source. I don’t eat much chicken and when I do I buy organic so can’t blame that :) . I am simply a normal post menopausal woman and this too shall pass :)

      • Jeani Mertens

        That makes total sense. Good thing to remember. I try to buy organic as much as possible. But it’s not always easy to find organic meats…I shop on base but they are getting better.

      • Dr Davis – everything else is great so I’m certainly not complaining!! My life was totally transformed when I said good-bye to wheat and I can’t see anything changing that.

  3. Jan B

    Soy causes hot flashes for me, in the long-term. I’ve noticed that since cutting back on wheat and sugar for two months (I just started totally cutting wheat out three days ago, but had cut it drastically as of May) the pain where they removed my gallbladder (post cholecystectomy syndrome) has stopped. That pain – think runners stitch that just hangs on for days – was with me all the time. You can build up new gallstones, even without a gallbladder! They’re just more dangerous, because they get in the ducts.

    Dr. Davis, can you think of a reason for this cessation of pain?

    • Dr. Davis

      I can only speculate, Jan.

      But I would first suspect that some sort of inflammatory response in the skin itself was the cause, alleviated with wheat elimination.

      Another possibility: regression of liver inflammation. This is actually common, though uncommon to sense it.

    • Susan

      Jan,

      I, too, had suffered with post-cholecystectomy syndrome since my gallbladder was removed eight years ago. It got significantly worse over the last year. Even tiny bits of fat would aggravate gallbladder attack-like pain, accompanied with other gasto unpleasantries. Sometimes, eating anything at all would aggravate it. The doc thought Sphincter of Oddi and/or bile dumping at one point Then, I went off wheat and all other grains a little over 3 weeks ago and almost immediately, the post-cholecycstectomy symptoms disappeared. The difference in the way I feel is night and day. And all because of wheat!. I do have 2 of the celiac markers, so maybe celiac or a gluten intolerance was to blame in the first place, although I tested negative for celiac in the past. I know there is a connection between gallbladder issues and celiac. Whatever the reason, I’ll never go back to wheat. I’m glad you have found relief too. Post-chole can be miserable.

      • Jan B

        Susan, that gives me hope. I have not had those “dumping” symptoms since I stopped eating wheat.

        Dr. Davis, it’s actually pain right at the stump site. But I guess it doesn’t matter because its gone, along with my IBS and a significant amount of cravings.

  4. Deanna

    I’ve been on a minute dose of estrogen (Femhrt 1/3 mg) for years. Recently I stopped it to see if I still have symptoms. Within about a week and a half I was having hot flashes again. I got back on. However, I’m wondering if I stopped it again and stayed off they would diminish or go away completely?

  5. Jeani Mertens

    Congratulations to you and your brother!

    I’ve been wheat free now for 2 weeks. And honestly, I feel as if I’m taking
    a pill or something. The results have been AMAZING. I turned to Wheat
    Belly because my Doctor advised me to take statin drugs due to my high
    cholesterol. (I have high good cholesterol (70) and the bad is (155) total:
    245). Anyway, they also told me to have my liver checked in 2 months
    after starting the medication. This was my reaction: :O. I started the
    wheat belly way immediately. That was 2 weeks ago. I am a healthy
    55 year old female (am 20lbs overweight) and I was feeling like a 10.
    After 2 weeks of saying no to wheat I feel like a 12.
    No heart disease in my family so I am stunned as to why the Doc
    wants to medicate me. I felt better after reading Wheat Belly and feel
    empowered that I can change my health for the better, the safe way.

    I love to cook so this has been really fun. Everything I’ve made from your book
    has tasted so good and my family and friends love it. Although I am getting
    the rolled eyes look from some people I am convinced this is the way I want
    to continue to live with NO WHEAT.
    Thank you, Dr Davis for providing this information to those of us, who have struggled
    with weight all these years and not understanding why low fat was not working.
    And the misinformation of all these “healthy whole grains” that is crammed down
    our throats practically when going to the grocery store…NO MORE! :)
    I am hoping to get a red bikini by the end of this summer like Helen Mirren
    wore a few years ago. I think I can actually do this now. I don’t have to settle
    for middle age belly and booby fat.
    Oh yeah and hot flashes? What hot flashes?! :D
    Thank you thank you thank you, Dr Davis for your book. I feel like I’ve broken the sound barrier or something, in understanding what is going on and why I could not lose weight. Well, it’s happening now finally. Not only do I look better, I feel better, my mood and I feel like I can breathe better too. Dr. Davis, you rock!

    • Jeani Mertens

      I wish there was an edit button, I typed this waaay to fast (due to my excitement) but I could have edited my post a bit better….

    • Dr. Davis

      That’s great, Jeani!

      I guess you could say that the Wheat Belly concepts are all about understand truth: truth in diet, truth in cholesterol testing, truth in hormonal status.

  6. Donna

    Not sure going wheat free has done anything for my hot flashes since I was wheat-free before menopause. My hot flashes do seem to go through cycles where they make me toss and turn, throwing the blankets off at night and then they don’t bother me as much for awhile. Wish I knew why. I have tried drinking Oolong tea before bed because I read somewhere that it can help, and it does seem to minimize them. In any event, they have never been severe like some women report, just a momentary flash of heat, so perhaps they would have been much more severe if I had been eating wheat when I went in to menopause (which just became official a month ago at age 55 1/2).

    I can tell you that all of my previous body aches that I had daily have disappeared since banning wheat from my diet! I used to pop Advil several times a day!

    I would like to replace some of the estrogen I have lost due to menopause (bioidenticals) but am still leary of any type drugs. I take no drugs at the moment!

    • Dr. Davis

      I believe the ideal way to do this, Donna, is to 1) eliminate wheat and follow an otherwise healthy diet, then 2) undergo a hormonal evaluation that evaluates estrogens, progesterone, DHEA, and testosterone.

      Every woman is different and may require different quantities of the various hormones. If not done properly, annoying symptoms can develop; when done properly, you can feel wonderful!

      • Donna

        So, Dr. D, do you think the bioidentical hormones are safe? Would you let your wife take them? I know mine are a bit out of whack due to a test I had a year ago, and I was given a RX for bioidenticals, but was hesitant with the whole compounding pharmacy idea (and later the scandal didn’t do anything to allay my fears) . I trust you, so if you think they are okay, I would give it a try. I am very spacey lately and my memory which was previously great, is now terrible!

        Otherwise, I continue to eat wheat/grain/dairy (for the most part)/sugar free and am very healthy! This wheat free life is the best thing ever! My daughter who will turn 20 next month has been giving it a go since she got home from college, May 15th, and her skin looks great. My 21-year-old daughter is also giving it a try while living away from home this summer. Not easy for girls those ages to comply, but they are doing great! Now, to get my husband on the band wagon!

  7. Jeani Mertens

    I forgot to mention (and the benefits of going wheat free go on and on…:) )
    but I have NO joint pain. I am amazed.

  8. Deb

    I, too, have these HORRIBLE hot moments throughout the day. I sit with a fan at my desk and it could be 60 degrees in our department and I still need the fan. Then at night, blankets on, blankets off, blankets on….plus my skin feels weird. Almost like prickles all over it. Then it passes and back on come the covers. Geez. I have eliminated wheat on and off for the last year and a half. I just seem to slip back into old habits. I do feel better without wheat in my diet, so I know this is the way to go for me. Between non-existant sleep issues from tossing and turning all night, recently diagnosed bone spurs between the achilles tendon and the heel which is putting a damper on my morning walking on the treadmill….I’m so frustrated. Then throw in the hot flashes throughout the day and night, I feel like a walking (or limping) zombie. I refuse to take any type of HRT because of breast cancer running in my family on my maternal side. I hope and pray that these end soon and some sound sleep can return.

    • Chris

      Deb,
      Although I had already gotten through the worst of menopause before I gave up wheat, I do think eliminating wheat has helped my sleep. I found that taking melatonin and magnesium right before bed has also made a difference. If you try melatonin you may have to experiment with the dosage. I take 3 mg. I take 400 mg of magnesium.

      • Barbara Williams

        Be careful! Last week I picked up some melatonin off the shelf at Sam’s Club to read the ingredients and I was astounded to see “wheat” listed, put it back on the shelf like it was a hot potato!!

        • Chris

          Yes, labeling reading is a must. I buy a lot of my supplements at GNC. Not sure if they are the best, but they do label their products well. So no wheat in the melatonin I take.

    • Lo

      Thanks for sharing your experience of feeling prickly skin which comes then goes. I, too, wake up to that feeling sometimes, though I have characterized it as every cell in body vibrating. I have been wheat free for almost a year, but still experience that feeling sometimes. I would be interested to know what is going on in the body that creates the feeling, if anyone could shed light on it. I am of menopausal age, but am taking low dose bio-identical hormones.

    • > I refuse to take any type of HRT because of
      > breast cancer running in my family on my maternal side.

      It may be that a very low carb / borderline ketogenic diet like WB is sufficiently protective against cancers, of all causes, that HRT need not be avoided (and horrors like pre-emptive mastectomies also may be tragically unnecessary).

      Keep in mind that the current risk data is almost certainly based on outcomes on the consensus diet; i.e. a diet that includes inflammatory toxins (like wheat, that probably can cause cancer), and is excessively glycemic (which feeds cancer). Shut down triggers and/or cancer food, and: no cancer.

      During the wheat dial to zero is obvious. The problem for anyone facing cancer risk choices is that on the sliding scale from:
      . ketogenic diet, calorie-restricted (KD-CR),
      . fully ketogenic, not calorie-restricted,
      . borderline KD,
      . WB is probably here
      . very-low carb, and
      . low-carb,
      I suspect almost nothing is known about the relative levels of protection each provide in a wheat-free context.

      KD-CR is being advanced for remissing and managing advanced metastatic cancers, and is presumably highly protective, but it may be a needlessly extreme regime for merely avoiding cancer.

      It strikes me as fairly urgent that we learn where to set the carb dial for cancer avoidance. It may be a different setting than for diabetes and CVD avoidance.

    • Sheila

      I get the weird skin feeling too right before a flash hits. It’s almost painful. I had never heard of that before.

  9. lyra

    Wow! I have been on the WB diet for almost 6 weeks. Now that you mention it, my periodic night sweats episodes have disappeared. I did have episodes of awakening to sopping wet night clothes and sheets about every other night but didn’t really think much about it. Guess those are gone…Much of my hand-joint pain is gone too, at least to the extent that I don’t feel the need to take any Motrin or Aspirin for it. I have not lost any weight, but, then, I am thin already. I am 64 years old. I just gave my copy of WB to my ex-husband, and I hope he reads it! I tried not to be over-enthusiastic, since most folks don’t want to hear much from their ex-wives!

  10. Nancy W

    I am looking forward to experiencing hot flash relief as I have only been doing WB since last Friday. I was wondering how normal is it to feel horrible about 5 to 6 days into this and then this morning, feeling as if I took a major cleanse or laxative before bed!! I felt almost nauseated and lots of time spent in the bathroom so far today! Is this a common effect of eating wheat free for just five days? And here I thought I wasn’t really eating much wheat with my daily Ezekial Bread! And at what point can I expect to feel increased energy b/c so far I am almost more exhausted!?

    • Dr. Davis

      You are likely in the throes of withdrawal from the gliadin-derived opiates in wheat, Nancy. In other words, you are withdrawing from an opiate.

      It generally lasts around 5 days, then you feel wonderful!

  11. Cindy

    I am 64 y/o and have been wheat free since March 20, 2013. I feel better than I have in a long, long time and have lost 19 lb. The cycle of constant hunger and eating has been broken. I don’t crave eating some of my junk favorites – potato chips, chocolate. I don’t eat extra helpings of anything. I feel like I’m in control instead of the incessant hunger I always felt, no matter how much I ate. I have depression issues and have experienced low libido for several years now. I stopped taking antidepressants several years ago as I didn’t think they were helping. As great as I feel emotionally, time will tell whether this is a passing thing or just one more reason not to eat wheat. This lifestyle change has been relatively easy. I did not experience any withdrawal symptoms. I don’t enjoy cooking so it’s been hard for me to plan my meals. Unfortunately my husband is not interested in this lifestyle change. I believe he would benefit from it. He has acid reflux, digestive issues, joint pain, and skin problems, although he does not have cholesterol, BP, or blood sugar issues as I do, despite him being 50-60 lb overweight. High cholesterol & BP, and diabetes are prevalent on both sides of my family. As I continue to state, it’s not about losing more weight, it’s about decreasing those numbers and not going on drugs. This blog is a great motivator so I encourage everyone, wherever you are in this wheat-free journey, to stay the course. There is too much overwhelming evidence to ignore the health benefits of this lifestyle!

    • Dr. Davis

      Terrific, Cindy! Keep up the good work.

      Inevitably, your reluctant husband will be unable to not see just how far your life and health have been transformed by rejecting conventional dietary wisdom!

    • Dr. Davis

      Made the baker’s and wheat farmers cringe, at least!

      Just like travel agents, many people are having to shift careers to accommodate new trends.

  12. ckgould

    I have been wheat free for nearly 6 months. Wheat free has certainly helped my hot flashes, but i wouldn’t say they have stopped entirely. It seems to me (personal observation) that almost any significant change in diet temporarily stops the hot flashes. But they come back. They are not as bad as they used to be. But I still get them. But it’s good. In December of last year my hot flashes were nearly unlivable. Constant. Awful! They returned about a month ago…..not nearly so constant. They don’t last as long. And i don’t get the heart palpitations. All in all, i’m happy! I think wheat free helps. But just to be clear, it may not be the end!

  13. Sheila

    Thanks for posting this. I have been totally wheat free since May ’12 without any cheating (except for the pint of Guinness in Ireland) and the only thing it didn’t fix was my hot flashes. After reading all these posts I think my hot flashes would probably be a lot worse if I hadn’t had the wheatectomy! Life is so much better this way, even with the “heat”.
    Thanks again, Dr. D

    • Dr. Davis

      Yes, it doesn’t work for everyone’s hot flashes, so I am grateful for the ones who do obtain benefit!

  14. Mary

    Hi, Dr. Davis. I’m wondering if you or any of your blog readers can help me out or at least shed some light on my problem! I have been loosely following WB since last Monday… I did cheat and have some wheat on this past Saturday since it was my mom’s birthday, but every other day has been wheat-free for me. I find, though, that even being wheat-free does not cut down on my hunger during the day. I am so hungry all the time when I’m at work. Today, I had my usual coffee with 1/3 cup of 2% milk at around 7, a three egg omelet cooked in butter with 1 oz of sheep & goat’s milk feta for breakfast at 8:30, sunflower seeds at around 11:30, and a can of tuna with 1 T of olive oil mayo & 14g (so half an ounce) of walnuts for lunch at 1. It’s now almost 3 pm and I have been hungry all day. Even on Monday morning when I had the hot coconut flax breakfast that’s listed in the WB book, I was incredibly hungry at 11 am (and that day, my fat intake was well over 50%). I feel like I’m at my wit’s end because I’m SO frustrated with this constant hunger. I don’t know if I’m not eating enough calories or what (I probably eat around 1800-1900 a day). I’m a 25-year-old female and I work at a sedentary desk job, but I’ve been doing this new exercise program 6 days a week so I think that might have something to do with it. I’m not as low-carb as the book says you should be, but I’m definitely eating fewer carbs than I have in the past. It’s weird, though. I’m not hungry for any particular food… I’m not craving wheaty treats, but I’m just HUNGRY. ahhh!

    Any insight would be very appreciated!

    • Mary

      I also forgot to mention that I drink a minimum of 2 liters of water a day, more now since it’s been hot, so my water intake is pretty good.

    • Dr. Davis

      Gee, Mary, it sure sounds like you are still in the grips of the appetite stimulation from your prior wheat consumption. All you can do is wait it out another few days.

      In the meantime, do not restrict fats, but eat MORE: more coconut oil, more of the fat on meats, more olive oil, more full-fat dairy, etc. to induce satiety.

      • Mary

        Thanks, Dr. Davis … I remember in the book it said some people have “wheat withdrawal” symptoms but I didn’t think constant hunger was one of them! Wow! I feel lucky that I’m not tempted by all the processed candies and food-like products (I don’t really consider Oreos or Cheez-Its to be food!) that are hanging around at my office. Even doughnuts, which used to torture me, do not have power over me anymore. I did feel better yesterday afternoon after I had a few strawberries, so maybe my body just wanted some carbs. What is your recommended carb intake per day, or does it depend on the person? I think I’m somewhere around 75-125g net carbs per day (looking at my food diary from last summer, I was grossing between 225-275g carbs a day, so this is a major improvement from a year ago). I do not really need to lose weight, but I want to keep my body as healthy as possible for any future children as well as avoid the typical obesity that comes with age and a desk job. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us.

        • Dr. Davis

          Carb tolerance is a highly individual issue and depends on a number of factors.

          In the absence of high levels of physical activity, most people do best with around 15 grams “net” carbohydrates (net = total carbs – fiber) per meal. Greater intakes are tolerated to a point in people with high activity levels, though not as much as often perceived.

          • Mary

            I will definitely keep that in mind as a reference point and a good rule of thumb. Thanks again!

  15. Karin

    I started WB last Monday. By Thursday I was through the withdrawls and also the hot flashes are gone. They actually got severely worse during the first 3 days but now they are completely gone! I am in this to lose weight as well as the wheat so I will be going by the 15 carbs per meal rule to the best of my ability. I am amazed at how much better I am sleeping and how much more energy I have in such a short time! I can’t wait to see what the long run brings!

  16. carol singleton

    Have been on seriously wheat-free eating for about 1 month; (inconsistent the previous 5 months); have gone off hormones and statin (I am 69, overall pretty healthy, but struggle with the weight gain insulin-resistance problem explained in Dr. Davis’ book so got serious about it recently. Saw a new internal med doctor who is monitoring me and supporting me on getting off these meds and high carbs. He seems very interested in seeing the results in a 6 week blood test. I had been on a very low HRT for 40 years (I know, gasp) but had horrible hot flashes and insomnia when off. Also my mother had many fractures as she got older. This time it has been almost 95% better….I do also take a tab of Estroven a day, a natural herbal pill so maybe that helps also. I had never thought about wheat being a culprit in the hot flashes but I sure do now! Dr. says if I can get off these two meds with these lifestyle changes, we will then see about getting me off blood pressure meds… I had started reducing carbs back in April and have lost 10.5 pounds. Not sure why it’s not coming off faster than that but at least it’s coming off!!! I need to lose about 25 more. Will report on tests and Doctors input when tested. I am so pleased to have found a doctor who is open/somewhat knowledgeable to nutrition changing our needing drugs!

  17. carol

    When I say “carbs”, I mean mainly wheat and grain-free….but also aware of carbs in other foods as well. Dr. is aware it is a gluten-free diet.

  18. Laura Sprague

    What an amazing book! Thanks, Dr. Davis. I am a 56 year old female. I have tried EVERYTHING for the hot flashes and menopausal symptoms I was experiencing. I did BHRT, supplements, pellets, injections, you name it. They would all work for about three weeks, then I was right back where I started. Until…Wheat Belly. Who knew that wheat was interfering with my hormones; enough to cause the menopausal symptoms I was experiencing. Last night, don’t ask me why, I decided to bake some brownies. It had been months since I had had brownies, cake, pie, etc. Last night was the worst night of sleeping I have had in a long time. Constant hot flashes, sweating, tossing and turning, and a migraine. I will NOT do that again. Lesson finally learned.

    • Dr. Davis

      Excellent, Laura!

      You have found your answer–but you’ve got to stick to it! Seems like you learned it quite effectively on your own.