Dealing with Hot Flashes

by Emily McBride
(last updated November 5, 2011)

It's inevitable—every woman will age and go through menopause. During menopause, your reproductive system makes some drastic changes, which understandably may cause some discomfort and many different symptoms. Many women experience the discomfort of hot flashes, which is probably the most well-known symptom of menopause. What happens is that your fluctuating hormone levels mess up the part of your body that controls your temperature. The result—you feel like you are burning up, even though you really aren't. You may feel like you're trapped in an oven, even if you have your air conditioning on full blast. Although hot flashes are uncomfortable, you should still be able to go on with your day and be able to sleep at night.

  • Dress wisely. Don't wear heavy sweaters or bundle up if you don't need to! Wearing light, breathable clothing will not make your hot flashes go away, but it won't be quite as uncomfortable. Wear loose clothing (try to stay away from nylons and spandex because they trap the heat in close to your body). At night, make sure you have sheets that breathe as well (stay away from polyester and satin).
  • Relax. Stress will most likely aggravate your hot flashes. However, this does not mean to stay in bed all day or quit your job; instead, try to not get as worked up about things and keep life in perspective. Give yourself time to relax and meditate each day, and try yoga. Learn to breathe slower—often hot flashes get worse when we take in more oxygen than we need, which causes the warmth to spread more quickly throughout our bodies.
  • Be healthy. Although it may seem contradictory to common sense and to the last tip, make sure you get enough exercise. Yes, you will probably get hot and sweaty while you are running, but studies have shown that many women who exercise throughout menopause experience milder hot flashes, both shorter in length and fewer in number. Studies have also shown that women who smoke cigarettes experience worse hot flashes, so quit smoking for both your health and your comfort.

If you are still experiencing severe hot flashes after following these tips, go to the doctor. There are a few different medicines that your doctor may be able to prescribe to help you be more comfortable. Make sure you research the different medications though, because some have shown studies of doing more harm than good.

Author Bio

Emily McBride

A senior majoring in English and editing at BYU, Emily hopes to enter the field of professional editing upon graduation. Emily has done humanitarian work in Africa and studied in London. She enjoys blogging, foreign films, and playing the piano. ...

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