Dealing with Hot Flashes
If you’re nearing or in menopause, you have far more experience with hot flashes than you would like. Hot flashes happen in around 70 percent of North American women during perimenopause and almost all women with menopause. Still, if you’re a bit younger and wondering what your future holds, or if you want ways to better manage your hot flashes, here’s some hopefully helpful information.
First off, what is a hot flash?
This is like a car going zero to 100 in a split second, only that it’s your body. A hot flash is an instant feeling of heat that can be accompanied by a flushed face and sweating. While they are not fully understood, it’s believed hot flashes are a byproduct of changes in circulation.
A hot flash happens when the blood vessels near the surface of the skin dilate to cool the person down. Sweating, of course, also does this. Some women also have a rapid heart rate or chills. If your hot flashes in bed involve sweating, they’re called night sweats and they will wake you up.
How long will I have to deal with these stupid things?
Every woman’s experience with hot flashes is different. When you’re going through menopause, you’re going to have hot flashes. For the lucky few, they have a very short period of hot flashes early in menopause. Other women, once they begin, continue to have them forevermore, although their severity will lessen with the passage of time.
Are there triggers for hot flashes?
During menopause, you’re going to have hot flashes. But you may not realize that there are things you’re doing that may bring hot flashes on more frequently or that cause them to be more severe.
These things can trigger hot flashes:
- Spicy foods
- Tight clothing
- Cigarette smoke
These are some things you can try to minimize your hot flashes:
- Keep cool — Keep your bedroom cool at night, use fans during the day, wear light layers of clothes.
- Exercise daily — Swimming, dancing, bicycling, and walking are all good. You want to get your heart up.
- Try deep abdominal breathing — Try taking just six to eight breaths per minute for 15 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes in the evening, and when a hot flash begins.
Talk to us at Women’s Medical Health Group about going on hormone replacement therapy for a short time. HRT prevents hot flashes for many women, plus it can help with other menopause symptoms such as moodiness and vaginal dryness.
This is just a primer on hot flashes. If you have more questions, call us at Women’s Medical Health Group, 817-346-5336.