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Hot Tips For Menopausal Women with Hot Flashes

lady.fanIf you’ve ever experienced sudden and profuse sweating, you’ve probably had a hot flash. If your family is wearing sweaters indoors mid-summer, you just might be experiencing “nature’s change.”  Can’t unload the dish washer without burning up?  Yep, hot flashes.

Hot flashes, often referred to as vasomotor symptoms, are a short but extreme sensation of heat.  They can last just a few minutes or up to an hour. They will leave you splotchy, red-faced and covered in sweat.  So much for today’s make-up and good luck finding an anti-hot flash antiperspirant! In most cases, hot flashes are associated with menopause and perimenopause.

Perimenopause, also called the menopause transition, is the period of time when a woman experiences noticeable shifts in her cycle and/or hormone levels.  Perimenopause is the precursor to menopause.  Menstrual cycles become longer or shorter.  Fertility decreases and mood swings are common.  LDL cholesterol may rise with the decline of estrogen.  Interest in sex and sexual function may drop off.  Night sweats may cause sleep disruption.

The normal menstrual cycle includes hormone surges and as such, a woman’s hormone levels change as she moves through her cycle.  In the later stages of life, the ovaries stop producing estrogen and progesterone.  The end result is a stable hormone level but in the interim, women experience difficulty with the body’s ability to regulate temperature, called thermoregulation. It is a thermoregulation disorder that is primarily responsible for the flinging off of clothes at potentially inappropriate times, marital arguments about the temperature of the bedroom and the temptation to cool down via the refrigerator.

Hot flashes are just one of several symptoms of menopause, but they will affect nearly 75% of all women. Menopause (and consequently, hot flashes) is unavoidable.  Nevertheless, there are things you can do to keep cool-headed and cool-bodied.

  • Dress in layers that you can peel off without offending anyone.
  • Keep fans at home and work.  Keep a personal fan in your purse for stuffy/warm places.
  • Note any specific triggers that precede your hot flashes (spicy food, caffeine, sugar, etc.).
  • Wear cotton nightclothes and keep breathable cotton sheets on the bed.
  • Sip iced beverages throughout the day.
  • Upgrade your bed to a king for less heat transfer from your bedmate.
  • Try a cool shower.
  • Keep fabric ice packs in freezer for a quick cool-down.
  • Exercise can ease the frequency and severity of hot flashes.
  • Reduce stress levels with massage, meditation or yoga.
  • Go for a swim.
  • Try supplementing with black cohosh.  There have been mixed opinions about its efficacy but it’s worth a try.
  • Increase your consumption of phytoestrogen-rich foods such as, lentils, soy, and chickpeas.

It’s important to remember that your hot flashes WILL end.  Perimenopause and menopause are simply stages of life.  You just have to keep your cool. Related Article: What Causes Hot Flashes? Ask Your Brain Hot Flashses CTA

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