Tips on how to manage those pesky hot flushes!
Menopause hit me like a freight train! Probably the most hideous part was the insomnia….but the second most annoying and embarrassing symptom was the hot flushes!
When I was out and about with friends and I would feel one coming on, I would usually make a bit of a joke about it. In reality, it was no damned joke! It was like I was going to burn up and I would stand there ripping my outer layer of clothes off and try to find a breeze of some kind to cool off. I even kept a small fan in by hand bag. When I was at home or in private, I would rip just about all my clothes off and stand in front of the aircon or fan to cool down!
Over the years, I learned few tricks to manage this symptom. So…here are 4 of them.
1. Track Them!
Learn what triggers them for you. We are all a bit different so this may vary.
Did you eat or drink something? Were you in a particular environment? Who were you with at the time? What were you wearing? Was it just you who was hot? Or were other people you were with hot too. It can become confusing in summer but I learned to ask others who were with me if they were hot or was it just me!
Record them on the ‘notes’ on your phone. ….or in a note pad. You may find that there is a pattern. Then you can put some strategies in place to manage them.
One strategy could be as simple as dressing in layers so you can remove clothing without becoming almost naked in public!
2. Avoid (as much as possible) Endocrine Disrupters.
Okay…what does this mean?
Unfortunately, there are many chemicals in our modern environment that are toxic. Some of these mimic oestrogen and interfere with our endocrine (hormonal) system. One of these chemicals is BPA and is in many soft plastics and has been shown to increase xenoestrogens in the body. This can trigger hot flushes in women who are already experiencing hormonal imbalances.
The best advice here is to ditch drinking out of plastic bottles and invest in a BPA free bottle. Better still, invest in an inert glass drinking bottle. This will help to avoid all the toxins that leech from plastic into the water.
3. Learn How To Be Calm
This is one thing that I struggled with the most!
Work pressures and lack of sleep really affected my stress levels. I was raging with high cortisol and adrenaline in my body as I went about my busy daily routine.
I probably would not have lasted as long as I did in full-time work if I had not meditated. I have practised Transcendental Meditation since 1991. This certainly did help.
There are other guided meditations online and even on YouTube. Just Google it!
Other strategies are taking time to have a calming cool bath, have a massage, or just sit and breathe for a couple of minutes and focus on your breath. These will help calm the nerves and allow the body to process some of the stress hormones. You just need to make the time. It is well worth it.
4. Increase Physical Activity
Increasing your daily activity will help to decrease the hot flushes.
Numerous studies have reported a link between physical activity and the easing of menopause symptoms.
The best physical activity in summer is of course to swim. This will help with a hot flush!
However, even if you don’t live near the beach or a swimming pool, there are many other activities you can do. It does not have to be intensive either. It can be incidental exercise, like taking the stairs, instead of the lift, or getting off the train early, or parking the car a bit further away from your destination to get those daily steps up. Just remember that all of this incidental activity needs to add up during the day. There are many tools out there to help you know how many steps you have done and the intensity of your activity.