Surviving hot flashes has become sort of a hobby for me. Having experienced hot flashes for the past 10 years, they have become like old friend! My first experience with a hot flash had me literally drenched in sweat. What was happening I thought? Was I coming down with a cold? I was a little confused and bewildered to what was happening. As the feelings of intense heat took over my body, I started putting two and two together and realizing that this was the beginning of my life with hot flashes.
In surviving hot flashes, you should first know a little physiology behind them. While they are a completely normal part of the menopause process, they still can be disturbing and disruptive. During a hot flash you feel an intense rush of heat that begins at your torso and spreads to your face and head. In my case, the back of my neck becomes extremely drenched in sweat. Sometimes hot flashes can occur all day and other times can be worse at night.
In surviving hot flashes it is important to note that they usually subside in a few minutes, but can often persist longer. While it is not known exactly what happens during a hot flash or what precipitates them, new studies are beginning to emerge on their cause.
It is assumed that the fluctuation of the hormone estrogen plays an important role in hot flashes. This is why hormone replace therapy is often prescribed to reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes.
If you get frequent hot flashes, always dress in layers. You can remove the layers of clothing as you need to. I find it better to under dress to help with my hot flashes.
Another tip in surviving hot flashes, is try to stay relaxed. Stress and anxiety will not serve you well in your quest to quell hot flashes.
My hot flashes are much worse at night. Try lowering the temperature at night. If you have a ceiling fan, put it on. You might also want to invest in a small window air conditioner to add to your relief from hot flashes.
Excess weight can increase estrogen stores in the body causing more frequent and intense hot flashes. Also, the extra weight acts as a form of insulation. Losing weight can help in reducing hot flashes.
My hot flashes were particularly intense because I was put into a surgically induced menopause due to a hysterectomy. My ovaries were removed as well, thereby abruptly cutting off my supply of estrogen. Lack of estrogen increases hot flashes. As a rule, women go through menopause gradually over time, allowing the hot flashes to gradually come. However, when you undergo removal of the ovaries, menopause is sudden and comes at you like gangbusters. When this occurs doctors will sometime suggest the use of hormone replacement therapy in easing the hot flashes, however they are not without side effect. In light that I had already completely my family, a hysterectomy was my choice to end the extremely anemic producing heavy bleeding that accompanied my peri-menopause.
If you do not want to use hormone replacement therapy, you might want to talk to your doctor about the use of antidepressant medication that has been shown to show promise, not only in the treatment of depression, but also in the treatment of hot flashes.
Another tip in surviving hot flashes would be the use of some herbal remedies. Certain herbs have shown promise in reducing the frequency and severity of hot flashes. Again talk to your doctor before you take any herbal supplements. Again, just because they are herbal or “natural” does not mean they are without side effects.
Avoiding hot and spicy foods can also put a damper on hot flashes. This is a hard one for me to follow because I love my spicy foods, but I do notice that when I curtail my consumption of them, the hot flashes subside.
An important thing to note while you are trying to survive hot flashes is know that they will get better. As time goes by, they should decrease in frequency and intensity. In the meantime, by following these tips you can survive hot flashes.
Source – Authors Pat Wingert and Barbara Kantrowitz from the book “Is is hot in here? Or is it me?”