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Menopausal Hot Flashes – How to Keep Cool

Updated on September 7, 2018

How to Gracefully Handle Hot Flashes

It only takes one menopausal hot flash to give you a complete understanding of how truly uncomfortable and embarrassing they can be and how utterly out of control it can seem. Perimenopause can start as early as age 30 and can continue into regular menopause, which might not happen until mid 50s. All flashes are not equal because as individuals, we’re all different. One thing for certain is that worrying about sweating and being self-conscious only makes it worse. Here are some real-life tips to help you cope with your new reality.

Hot Flash, Not Flash Dance – UGH!

Is it hot in here, or is it just me?
Is it hot in here, or is it just me? | Source

When menopausal hot flashes happen, often there is no warning, no notice.

Menopausal Hot Flashes – How to Keep Cool

You spent the better part of last month prepping for this moment. Finally, you’re in front of the client with your presentation. The room is mostly men and a couple younger women. Your boss introduces you and all eyes converge in your direction.

Of course you are now completely off your game, but you do your best to maintain composure. You flash an easy smile as beads of sweat are running down your face. The tissue you grabbed is already soaked. You remove your blazer, which is unprofessional, but the sweating is only getting worse.

You try to calm yourself, thinking it’s nerves, but that’s not working. You grab the remote and hit the lights to begin your presentation. Thank goodness it’s electronic. The low lights hide the fact that you are profusely sweating. You fan yourself with a page from your printouts and keep going with that perfectly prepared presentation.

By the time you’re five slides in, the heatwave has subsided and you’re thanking your lucky stars. When the lights come back on, you look like a rockstar – one who’s just finished a two-hour performance for a sold-out crowd. How humiliating!

When menopausal hot flashes happen, often there is no warning, no notice. Like a tornado in your body – it touches down, wreaks havoc for a few minutes, then dissipates until next time. The problem is the devastation it inflicts on your self-esteem, your reputation and your clothing.

Worrying about sweating only makes those 1-5 minutes seem like hours of bad slow-mo video. Because it makes you nervous and self-conscious, those around you at work, in line at the grocery story, or at home sense that uncertainty and wonder what is wrong. Since it’s embarrassing and highly personal, it’s not like you’re sending out twitter posts about going through menopause, or even perimenopause, it can be difficult to deal with.

Perimenopause can start as early as age 30 and can continue into regular menopause, which might not happen until mid 50s. There’s a lot of living in that span of time. Most women raise families in those years, build solid careers and are active, vibrant, otherwise healthy individuals. And all flashes are not equal because as individuals, we’re all different.

“Some women experience the heat and flushing of hot flashes without sweating, while others sweat so much they need a change of clothes,” according to Marie Suszynski, author of a WebMD article.

Night sweats are when menopausal hot flashes happen in your sleep and have you waking up to wet bed linens. No fun at all. So what can we do to maintain a little dignity during these times? Well if you’re in the over 30 age range, chances are you’ve noticed a drop in metabolism. That only gets worse as we age, so we must combat it with diet and exercise.

What works for some doesn’t always work for everyone.

Coping with Hot Flashes

No. 1 – Fit is the word.

Staying healthy and fit is the best way to naturally combat the onset of hot flashes.

No. 2 – No smoking.

If you smoke, stop. There are studies that say it only increases your likelihood to experience menopausal hot flashes.

No. 3 – Oh joy, soy.

Alternative medicine experts will tell you to include soy in your diet. However, what works for some doesn’t always work for everyone. Try incorporating some edamame, tofu, miso or similar soy-based foods into your diet. If it works, great! Keep it up. If not, try something else.

No. 4 – Layer it up.

Dress in layers so you can always put on or take off something in order to adjust to your body’s temperature based on its mood.

No. 5 – Get a PCD (personal cooling device).

Keep a handheld fan with you at all times. Put a fan on your desk. Do the best you can to regulate your body’s temperature.

No. 6 – Cool down with water.

Drink more cold water. It lowers your internal temperature and can keep your temperature down. Plus, water is vital to your overall health.

No. 7 – Find your triggers.

Be on the lookout for potential triggers that could cause your menopausal hot flashes. Some people have trouble with alcohol. Sometimes one sip and you’re sweating profusely. Find out what triggers you may have and avoid them at all costs.

No. 8 – Breathe.

Yoga breathing and meditation may help reduce your stressors. Stress will oftentimes bring about menopausal hot flashes, so do what you can to reduce the stress in your life.

No. 9 – Get a good antiperspirant.

Find a reliable antiperspirant. The market is flooded with “clinical strength” OTC antiperspirants. Thankfully, there are a few products by a company called Certain Dri that has made the difference in many lives. There are three different strengths, so choose the right one for you.

Antiperspirant vs. Deodorant

It’s simple. One keeps you from sweating. The other makes you smell good. Keeping them straight is easy, when you break down the words. It’s only logical that de odor has something to do with not smelling bad, not having odor. Likewise, anti perspir screams don’t perspire or sweat. Therefore, it stands to reason that deodorant helps you smell

Antiperspirant or Deodorant

One keeps you from sweating. The other makes you smell good.

Sources

– “Menopause and Sweating,” by Marie Suszynski, WebMD, https://www.webmd.com/menopause/features/menopause-sweating-11#1

– “Understanding and Dealing With Hot Flashes,” by Debra Rose Wilson, PhD, MSN, RN, IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT, April 24, 2018, https://www.healthline.com/health/menopause/understanding-hot-flashes

– “Menopause-Related Hot Flashes and Night Sweats Can Last for Years,” Nancy Ferrari, Sr. Editor, Harvard Health, Feb. 23, 2015, https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/menopause-related-hot-flashes-night-sweats-can-last-years-201502237745

– “Excessive Sweating,” by Mayo Clinic Staff, https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/excessive-sweating/basics/causes/sym-20050780

© 2018 Sydney Barnes

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