Hot Flash or Hot Flush
(Originally posted on April 15, 2022 on reedshorepress.com) You’re in the middle of a presentation at work. It builds in your face, creeping towards your chest. The increased pounding of your heart beats like you’re sprinting. You grab a folder and begin to fan yourself nonchalantly with a smile, hoping no one notices the beads of sweat appearing on your upper lip. Then it’s too late. You’re drenched like someone turned a hose on you. Your clothes are soaked, creating an unforgettable moment of extreme embarrassment. Imagine this happening 20 to 30 times a day!
A hot flash or feeling flushed is usually brought on by changing and fluctuating hormones during perimenopause and menopause. They can be as short as two minutes or last as long as thirty. Usually starting in the chest or face, the hot flash may spread throughout your entire body. The face can turn red and feel hot to the touch. Some women even feel they might faint.
Hot flushes can begin years before menopause begins and last for years following it’s start. Some women experience intense hot flushes all day long, some only mild and few. Others don’t experience them at all. They tend to be triggered by hot weather or overheated rooms, becoming more severe under these circumstances. (Photo by Vino Li on Unsplash.)
The worst of the hot flashes come at night. When hot flashes happen during sleep, they’re called night sweats. This is when you’re estrogen is the lowest, but the research says the night sweats are related to our temperature regulation by the hypothalamus. I didn’t have severe hot flashes during the day, so I was one of the lucky ones. If I layered my clothes, I was fine. I’d take off my hoodie or sweater if I felt a little warm. Like most women, I had a few embarrassing moments and suffered through a year or two of awful night sweats. And that was problematic, having a history of epilepsy.
Women develop insomnia with sleep disruption. It can affect your mood and concentration. Also, sleep deprivation could cause a whole list of other physical problems. This was my biggest worry with the history of epilepsy despite years of being seizure-free. After many sleepless nights, I figured out I can’t sleep with flannel sheets past a certain month. March it is! And I just washed our flannel sheets and stored them in the closet. I don’t have many symptoms now, but why take the chance?
What’s a Menopausal Woman To Do?
Treatments for hot flashes include hormone replacement therapy, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, clonidine, isoflavones, increased consumption of phytoestrogens, and acupuncture.
I am not a health professional. I’m an author and retired teacher. There are so many websites you can search for treatments. You don’t need my opinion on them. Every treatment choice must be determined by your doctor and you, weighing all the side effects of medicines and alternative therapies, according the symptoms you have.
I will tell you, as a rule, I avoid pharmaceuticals. Years of seizure medication affected my bone density, so I avoid anything that has severe side effects, and unfortunately, most of them do. I do take a vitamin once a day. I’m a vegetarian and work out regularly, including weightlifting three times a week. This past week, I didn’t lift weights but got some cycling in. I had to get my editing completed. Right?