Hot Flashes 101: What, When, Why, and how to Manage them
Wow! I have been getting a lot of questions about hot flashes, and night sweats. Hot flashes can be so frustrating as they disrupt our sleep, which then makes us grumpy, right.
I remember having hot flash, when I was out with my husband for dinner. I could feel my face starting to get hot, and I started to feel annoyed. I was like oh, no I’m not going to have a hot flash now, I hope.
I can remember fanning myself and how uncomfortable and embarrassing I felt. Thank god I did not start sweating 🙂 and it was a very short hot flash that felt like forever though.
It was the hot flashes in the night, and night sweats that made me want to pull my hair out. I would be comfortably asleep, and be woken up by this intense feeling of being HOT. I would be driving poor Joe crazy with throwing off the covers, and then feeling freezing and having to put them back on.
I have been right there with you ladies, Joe would always think I was crazy if we went somewhere and I would ask him, do you feel hot? I got this strange look from him.
Even this past summer I got a hot flash a couple of times, I thought to myself no it can’t be a hot flash, because I thought I was way told to be getting a hot flash. I was wrong, I was reading a new book recently and actually heard this from more than one doctor you can get hot flashes from 7 years to 20 years. I was like what, Really! I read this recently.
Some women will breeze through menopause with not to many symptoms at all and then other women will suffer with terrible hot flashes and night sweats. I did not get the night sweats that you can soak through your cloths and your sheets, thank god.
Hot flashes originate in the hypothalamus, and this is the part of the brain that regulates the bodies temperature. It is linked often times to menopause because estrogen and testosterone can influence the hypothalamus, and during menopause when levels of estrogen drop. The hypothalamus will think that the body is over heated and go into over drive. There is more science about blood vessels dilated etc… basically we get a hot flashes then we get chills as the body is cooling. Hormones are very complicated and I’m not doctor, this is my understanding or take.
I read a new book where Dr Tara Allman “ Says that some women seem to have more sensitive thermostats than others, meaning that you feel more comfortable only within a small range of temperatures” meaning we have a goldilocks range and when we go higher a hot flash can occur.
Around 80% of women in the United States will get hot flashes. Wow! That is a lot of women. There is a great website with good information the North American www.menopause.org with the newest science, also www.sleepfoundation.org
There are also other reasons you could experience a hot flash such as thyroid disease, estrogen blocking drugs, infection, some antidepressants, medications for the treatment of osteoporosis, etc..
I wrote to other blogs on hot flashes with diet strategy you may want to check out on my website www.crystalpecora.com
Strategies to help prevent hot flashes, these things are not ideal
- Watch the alcohol (even one glass for some Triggers hot flashes)
- Spicy foods
- Sugar ( can worsen Hot Flashes)
- Hot food ( when I eat a hot dish I feel hot)
- Also smoking, being overweight, can increase you having symptoms.
- Plus if you had really bad symptoms, when you got your menstrual cycle when you were young, you may experience more symptoms at menopause.
- Estrogen therapy does help prevent hot flashes, helps bone density as well, my doctor has me on for that reason, and cognitive function, and more.
- Where a loose nightgown, to change fast
- Air conditioner was so helpful, haha! we had only a fan when I was having hot flashes
Ask your mother how her transition was, if hers was easy yours maybe too. She may not have had a lot of hot flashes so you may be lucky to.
My mom had a hysterectomy in her 30’s, as was common to have for her generation, so I don’t know about her.
But I had an easy time with my periods when I was a teen and onward, no bad PMS, cramps etc.. my menopause seemed good, compared to some women’s symptoms. I think having an optimal, diet, not really drinking much, and exercising really helped me.
Other strategies some doctor’s say don’t work some say they do, they may work better for hormone balance than hot flashes.
If you try a strategy and you don’t find you feel any different after a few months then its probably not going to work for you
- Black Cohosh: a short time, might work for some
- Flax seeds: to optimize hormones, and help with hot flashes
- Maca: Can help to balance hormones, it is an adaptogen
- Ashwagandha: is an adaptogen, it helps the adrenals and balance estrogen
- Stress lower it, I have written on this and it is in my Blast Your Belly Fat Resource
Guide, on my website www.crystalpecora.com/freebies tons of great info, in that guide.
- walk, walk, and walk, slowly, helps to lower stress.
Some of these things may help to balance your hormones, but might not directly help hot flashes like the first strategies.
Lastly eat more of the things you know are good for you and less of the things we know are not good for you, we all know what they are.
Eating an optimal diet at menopause, can really help with your symptoms, and not gaining weight. I treat treats as treats, because I just cannot tolerate, or eat the exact way I did when I was younger.
As our hormones change what worked for us before like we could just go along, and coast, and eat what ever we wanted may not work now at menopause with the drop in hormones.
We can eat a ton of greens and fibrous veggies, moderate protein, some fruits and colorful berries, watch the starchy carbs, alcohol, sweets and treats.
Really nothing is totally off limits it is finding how much your body will tolerate, that you feel, strong, vibrant with lots of energy, and of course you want to sleep well.
So many women are turning to wine and alcohol to feel more relaxed, happy and better, but is it really relaxing you? Do you wake up in the night from a blood sugar crash? And more hot flashes?
I hope you found this helpful, ask me a question on my Facebook page, at www.facebook.com/crystal.pecora I love to help 🙂
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