Extra Hot Flash Relief
During your menopause years, hot flashes can suddenly come out of nowhere. Everything from your clothes to how you breathe can help you weather those flashes. Don't be at the mercy of your unpredictable hormones. Learn how to manage the temperature surges and "flash floods" of menopause. The main goal is to keep a constant body temperature, so as not to turn your sensitive inner thermostat to high.
Here are some great methods for handling the heat.
If hot flashes tend sneak up on you, dress in layers. A light tank top, with a blouse over it allows you to remove the blouse if you suddenly start to flare up. There are many newer fabrics that will wick the perspiration away from your skin. Try shopping in outdoor supply stores or travel catalogs for easy care fabrics that can take the heat. A sleeveless top under a jacket looks professional and you can always remove the jacket. Another option is a sleeveless dress with a jacket.
Capri pants, no stockings and loose fitting clothes are also helpful in letting air circulate to keep you on the cooler side.
Find a comfy style that will allow you to shed the outer layers when you are in a warm room, or in a high stress meeting. A little planning can make your wardrobe work with you during the flashy years.
Be careful with your neckline. Wear a v-neck or other semi-low neckline. Put away turtlenecks for a few years and never wear anything around your neck like a scarf unless you are outside in the cold.
Water, water everywhere
Always carry a bottle of cold water with you to help you stay hydrated.
It's always important to get plenty of water during the day, but if you are prone to hot flashes, it is paramount. Your body's internal cooling system is working within a thin margin of error during menopause, and a critical component of managing that system is providing enough water to keep the system cool. Keep water near you all day. Try to get 48 ounces a day, to keep you from overheating and to replenish after a flash moment.
Your body needs water to function well anytime, so menopause is a great time to get into the water glass habit.
Avoid caffeine and don't eat any spicy food within 24 hours of a big presentation or meeting. Both can trigger hot flashes in some women.
When you are in menopause and your internal cooling system is finicky, you need to go easy on the hot foods. Anything that can raise your body temperature even a little can trigger a hot flash. So hot and spicy foods may be flash makers, so might hot drinks and even alcohol.
Pay attention to your own food triggers, and avoid eating or drinking anything that trips your flash button. Once your hormones even out, you will probably be able to eat those things again. But for now, leave the spicy dishes for others.
Deep breathing techniques can shorten hot flashes and make them milder. Teach yourself to start slow, deep breaths as soon as you feel a flash coming on. Take as deep a breath as you can, and hold it a moment before letting it out slowly. Expanding your rib cage can help trigger the parasympathetic nervous system, which calms you down and helps regulate temperature.
If you practice deep breathing techniques, like yoga breathing or Pilates breathing, before you actually need them, they will come more naturally during the stress and embarrassment of a hot flash episode. Train yourself ahead of time, and then breathe through the heat. Relax, and let your breath shorten the flash.
Keep your environment as cool as possible. If you have any control over the temperature in the room, ask for it to be on low. Turn down the thermostat, open the windows, or use the air conditioner or fan. Keeping your indoor temperature below 70 during the day, and about 65 degrees at night will help your body temperature stay on the low side. Try sleeping with several light covers so you can choose how many you need, and keep one leg outside the bed clothes.
Stay away from hot outdoor places if possible. Don't sunbathe, avoid hot tubs, and do your best to stay off hot asphalt. Again, the goal is to find cool spots with a relatively constant temperature so that you don't cue the internal floodgates that are waiting to cool you down.
There are several medications that have proven helpful for hot flashes during menopause. There are blood pressure medications, antidepressants, anti-seizure medications and others that are effective for some women in reducing flashes. If you are already being treated for any of these conditions, ask your doctor about a medication that could do double duty and treat the hot flashes.
Get adequate sleep to reduce stress. Relax. You may feel like you are on fire, but the chances are no one else will suspect that anything is wrong.
Menopause and the symptoms associated with it can severely disrupt your quality of life.
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