Summer is a time to celebrate warm weather, sunny skies and road trips to the great outdoors. Unfortunately, soaring temperatures can trigger uncomfortable hot flashes for many women. In fact, more than two-thirds of North American women heading into menopause suffer from hot flashes. That is why we want to share some simple tips to help you stay cool and hopefully manage your hot flashes so you can have more fun in the sun.
What is a hot flash?
According to Dr. Melynda Barnes, clinical director for Rory, an online health clinic for women, “Hot flashes are short, sudden episodes of the feeling of intense heat of the head, neck and chest. When a hot flash occurs with a red face, neck and/or chest, it is called a hot flush.”
We still don’t know what exactly causes hot flashes, but they may be connected to changes in circulation or fluctuating hormones, both of which are typical for women going through menopause. They start when blood vessels near the skin’s surface widen to cool off, making you break out in a sweat.
Managing your hot flashes
While hot flashes can’t be avoided completely, there are a few things you can do to manage them. Here are a few ways to cool down if you’re having a hot flash:
Carry a fan.
Yes, we want you to throw it back to the ‘90s when everyone carried around little portable fans. When the sun is shining, you will be surprised at how many people ask you for a breeze. There are also options for getting portable fans that have misters for those extra hot occasions.
Have a glass of warm water.
This may sound counterintuitive, but there is science behind it! According to Billi, “When you drink a hot drink, there is often a big increase in the amount you sweat. Sweat may seem like a pain – but it’s actually the body’s primary method of cooling you down.”
Avoid spicy foods, alcohol and caffeinated beverages.
Trying skipping your morning coffee or that afternoon ice-cold beer here and there. Along with caffeine and alcohol, spicy foods can sometimes trigger hot flashes.
Go for a swim.
Take advantage of the summer heat by going for a nice swim. If you do not have a pool in your backyard and your local one is closed due to COVID-19, consider buying a blow-up one. It may look funny, but your body will be thanking you when you are able to cool off in the refreshing water all summer long!
Dress in layers.
One of the oldest tricks in the book is to dress in layers while you are going through menopause. As you may not know when a hot flash will come on, this could help you in a surprise attack. Wear light, breathable fabrics like linens and types of cotton so that when you have a hot flash, you can easily remove layers to cool down.
Apply a cool washcloth to your neck.
This tip may be easiest when you are at home or visiting family. It is a simple way to avoid the discomfort you are feeling.
Take a deep breath.
Breathing a powerful tool. Often times when we were growing up we were told to try deep breathing to help us focus or calm nerves. For your hot flashes, try slow, deep abdominal breathing (six to eight breaths per minute). Practice deep breathing in the morning, evening and when a hot flash begins.
Helping with hot flashes and helping you stay fit, we see this tip as a win-win! A study published by the Journal of Physiology suggests that “exercise during menopause, especially if it makes you hot, sweaty and fitter, can reduce the number and intensity of hot flashes.” Some ways you can get moving today:
- Pickle Ball
Invest in moisture-wicking sheets.
Sometimes you are not able to escape hot flashes even when you sleep. That is why setting the environment in your bedroom is important. Use a fan, moisture-wicking sheets and wear pajamas made of materials that dry quickly to help you stay comfortable and sound asleep at night.
How we could help
If your hot flashes are more than you want to put up with, we would like to tell you about bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT). This therapy uses customized hormone treatments for women who have entered menopause or are post-menopausal. This therapy is different from others because it’s made from natural components, using the same hormones that were in your body but have decreased through aging and the onset of menopause. Since this treatment is comprised of the identical chemical and molecular structures that your body naturally produced, it has numerous benefits over synthetic hormones.
How does BHRT relieve the symptoms of menopause?
BHRT uses hormones that are identical to the ones you lost with the onset of menopause. Although your body is no longer producing them, BHRT will re-introduce these hormones, safely and effectively. Unlike women who take synthetic hormones, patients using this treatment experience few side effects. Your symptoms will begin to disappear soon after you begin your customized treatment. Once your original hormone levels have been restored, you’ll begin to look and feel like you did years — even decades — earlier. Any issues you had during menopause or post-menopause will often reverse themselves.
If you would like to learn more about how we could help you with your menopause symptoms, visit our website to learn how bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can help. Feel free to ask any questions and schedule a free consultation today by calling us at 816-214-5276!