Hot Flushes – Turn Down The Heat!
Hot flush is a sudden wave of mild or intense body heat caused by changes in the hormones. Estrogen level plunge and give rise to a whole host of problems. It is the most frequent symptom of menopause and perimenopause (the transitional stage before the complete cessation of the menstrual period). It can also affect women who are going through breast cancer treatment as the body’s estrogen level is lower due to the hormone therapies and chemotherapy.
Hot flushes can occur at any time and may last for 30 seconds or as long as 30 minutes. The frequency of hot flushes varies among individuals. One woman can have it on an hourly basis whereas another would have it only once a week. When it happens at night, it is more commonly known as night sweats. Some night sweats are so intense they can wake you up from a sound sleep.
Symptoms Of Hot Flushes
With hot flushes, you might experience the following symptoms:
- Mild or intense heat spreading through the upper body to your face.
- Face, neck and upper chest appear flushed and blotchy.
- Rapid heartbeat.
- Profuse sweating.
- Shivering as the hot flush subsides.
Do’s And Don’ts For Hot Flushes
- Do – Try more to identify the sources of trigger. Keep a record of when it occurs and what you were doing and feeling at that time. Be reminded that stress is a common trigger.
- Do – Dress more in cotton, which allow the skin to breathe.
- Do – Keep ice water at hand so you can sip to cool down.
- Do – Keep packs of ice by your bed that you can use in case of a night sweat.
- Do – Take a cool shower before bed.
- Do – Invest in a good air conditioner or a ceiling fan.
- Do – Get a hand held battery operated fan or at least a paper fan that you can blow directly at your face.
- Do – Get a bigger bed so your partner’s body heat would not aggravate yours any further.
- Do – Chill your pillows. Cooler pillows at night might be helpful.
- Do – Try deep, slow abdominal breathing (6 to 8 breaths per minute – inhale deeply through the nose, hold it, and exhale through the mouth). Practice deep breathing for 15 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes in the evening and at the onset of hot flashes.
- Do – Avoid heat.
- Don’t – Indulge in spicy food, alcohol and caffeine.
- Don’t – Smoke.
- Don’t – Wear synthetics and silk. Avoid turtlenecks. Stick to open neck shirts.
- Don’t – Wear tight clothing.
How To Minimize The Effect Of Hot Flushes
Prevention is better than cure is definitely the most used phrase in medical terms. Try the following and hot flushes might elude you (or at least be alleviated):
- Exercise regularly. It helps reduce the onset of hot flushes and it also increases the endorphin levels, which makes a person happy and increases the threshold for pain.
- Try relaxation therapies such as hypnosis, visualization, meditation, yoga, tai chi and Qigong which will bring down some stress level.
- Have a healthy diet. A low fat diet with lots of vegetables and fruits help. Herbal remedies and soy products work too because they contain plant estrogens.
- Try dietary supplements such as evening primrose oil, vitamin E, black cohosh and red clover.
- Get sufficient sleep and rest.