Is the hot flash, or hot flush really a thing? Yes, it is really a thing. An uncomfortable thing. It is something that menopausal women become familiar with and learn to cope with. Here is some information on what helps with hot flashes, and what it is.
What is a hot flash and what causes it?
A hot flash is a normal symptom of menopause which is believed to be caused by fluctuating hormones. It is due to the decline of the female hormone estrogen. It presents as a sudden onset of warmth flooding mainly the upper region of your body, so much as to make you uncomfortable. You may feel like dispensing with your clothing and stripping off completely! Please don’t, it is temporary (maximum about 5 minutes), although uncomfortable.
You may become very red in the face, and sweat profusely. Some women experience the symptoms more acutely than others.
Some women only experience a few episodes per year, whilst others may experience multiple episodes daily. Much like some women who experience morning sickness in pregnancy whilst others don’t. It all depends on your particular hormonal design. Either way, it is one of the more noticeable symptoms of menopause, and can make you feel quite uncomfortable…if you’ve ever, or still do experience this symptom, you will know exactly what I mean!
Right, so apart from stripping all your clothes off, what can you do?
- You can dress in layers so that you have something to take off. Just taking off your jersey or jumper may help a little. As you get into this stage, you will be able to recognize other women who are also going through menopause – they tend to take off and put on items of clothing on a regular basis!
- Keep the underarms free, if possible. I live in a warm climate for about 9 months of the year in Africa, so during the summer months (and even Autumn and Spring), I tend to wear tops which leave my underarms open. That helps me a lot, but I know it’s not practical for those who live in colder regions. If you do expose your armpits,make sure that they are waxed or neat…oh the joys of womanhood:)
- Drink plenty of cold water. Sip on it when you feel hot. A cold water bottle can even be pressed to a hot cheek or neck when you are in the midst of a flash, so it’s a good idea to carry cold water with you. Something I do on a regular basis. It also helps to get in your daily water allotment. You are going to need a great quality water bottle in any case, for any exercise program you do, even if you start with walking – you need to keep well hydrated. There are some beautiful, stylish, leak-proof water bottles on the market currently, so even style-conscious ladies with grim memories of leaky, plastic, ugly bottles can enjoy carrying one. I absolutely love these – you can have one in all your favorite colors! If you prefer a more traditional-looking sports bottle with a flip-up lid, here is an excellent option which carries a 100% refund if it’s not the best water bottle you’ve ever used! Can’t beat that:)
- Lifestyle adjustment #1: Cut down on caffeine – coffee or other caffeine-containing items seem to exaggerate symptoms in some women.
- Lifestyle adjustment #2: Stop smoking. Once again, symptoms seem to be more severe in smokers. It is difficult for most people to do this alone. If this is something you may be considering, check out this non-intrusive way of doing so. It is one of the best things you could ever do for your health, but only you can make that decision.
- Lifestyle adjustment #3: Limit intake of alcohol and spicy foods. Ditto to above – it also aggravates your symptoms.
- Lifestyle adjustment#4: Exercise regularly – this lessens symptoms.
The above may seem to make life not worth living – cutting out the good stuff and undertaking regular exercise if you do not already do it. However, it is the path to a much healthier life altogether, and you will benefit in many ways, least of all suffering through those annoying periods of heat infusion!
Feel free to comment about any other ways you keep cool and cope with the hot flashes.