I’m the queen of hot flashes! Since the age of 44 or so, I started having these dreaded things! Hot flashes usually start in menopausal women near the early 50’s. Yes, for me it was early, and I didn’t know any way to manage them . However, over the years, I’ve found a number of ways that work and I’d like to share with you.
I remember one day laughing at a cousin who ran and jumped in a pool when she had a hot flash. One minute I was talking to her and the next minute she was gone and in the pool leaving me a little stunned ‘cause I had no clue what happened. Years later I totally understood how she felt!
In my early 40’s, I joined a ‘medical study’ to try a new procedure that would regulate my periods and the intense bleeding I had each month due to fibroids. Over the years, I’d had multiple surgeries to eliminate fibroids and I didn’t want to have another surgery because the fibroids kept coming back.
One of the side effects determined by this medical study was that women went into premature menopause! The procedure worked perfectly in regards to my heavy monthly cycles disappearing and the fibroids never grew back, but to be replaced with intense, incredibly often, hot flashes. I found out much later that one of the results of this clinical trial was it threw women into early menopause!
OMG! Hot flashes! They were intense, knockdown, drag out, take my breath away hot flashes! There were days where I would lay my head against a cool wall to cool down and get relief. At work, there were no pools of water to jump into like my cousin did and they were intense and uncontrollable. 😉
Finally, I went to the doctor. While waiting for my appointment I picked up an article that talked about how most women had about 5-6 hot flashes a day! Whaaat??? What drove me to the doctor was that one day I counted 30 hot flashes between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m.! Hot flashes were interrupting my sleep, my work and my personal life. That day I started on a journey to get out of Hot Flash Hell!
I didn’t want to take the regular cremes and pills given to relieve hot flashes. So just knowing where those drugs came from caused me to not want them in my body. So I started investigating. Here’s what I found.
A few things that are pretty well known to bring *on* a hot flash are hot drinks, like caffeine – tea, alcohol, eating spicy foods, or smoking. But what about some of the unknown causes?
Here are some things that can bring on hot flashes and some common sense things you can do to help you feel better almost instantly!
- Eliminate caffeine, hot or hot tea, spicy foods?
I know most people like that cup of Joe in the morning. Me, I’m a hot tea drinker and can’t pass up my cup of tea in the morning.
Resolution 1: I generally keep a desk fan near me to quickly cool down when a hot flash comes on and inevitably, one comes on full force when I drink a hot cup of tea or if I eat something spicy.
That little fan is my life saver. You can even get the 3“ kind that plugs into our computer so you can turn it on at your desk to quickly cool down. You can get those little fans at Best Buy for about $12-$19.
Resolution 2: Cut out Caffeine (coffee and tea in particular). I know that may be hard for some who drink daily cups of coffee. Some people drink 4, 5, or 6 cups a day. Eliminating the cup of hot drinks will help manage hot flashes.
2. Do Not Over-Dress
Summer, spring, winter or fall – try to dress in layers (even in the summer) so that you can take off items of clothing when you have a hot flash. Sweaters in office buildings can easily be removed.
Make sure during the winter that you don’t overdress. I know you’re not thinking about it now, but believe me it will come in hand in the winter time.
Being able to take off layers (even in the summer in an office building) will help you cool down quickly and the hot flash will go away a little faster if your body is not holding in the heat by a sweater or blanket.
Make sure you dress lightly and carry additional coverings or sweaters for when you get a chill after that flash.
3. Use Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans are my friend. 🙂 I have come to learn to use my ceiling fans all year round. Ceiling fans can quickly eliminate a hot flash. There’s one in every room in my house except the bathroom. Make sure you get one with a remote so you can just ‘beep’ that baby and the fan will turn on and off without you getting up or moving a muscle.
4. Keep water or a cool drink by your side.
Keep a glass of water, or your favorite cool drink near your bed or sitting area. That cool drink (even a luke-warm one) will help get that hot flash under control quickly. I also kept a glass of water or something by my bed at night. It helps to get cool in the middle of the night.
5. Ice Pops
Remember the old days as a kid! 🙂 Well nice pops (I usually get them from Cosco or BJ’s) also help quickly eliminate a hot flash – believe it or not! 🙂 Make sure they’re sugar-free and low calorie. The idea is to help that hot flash go away quickly. Ice pops work like a charm.
6. Eliminate Heated Items – gloves and blankets
For the winter, heating blankets, gloves or heating hand muffins – heavily used during the winter are a problem and make a hot flash worse.
As winter will be sooner than we want, some things to prepare for: exchange heavier blankets for lighter ones with extra covering to the side in case you get cold.
Use regular gloves. Leave the heated items that go in the gloves or shoes alone. I sleep with a light blanket, and another on the side in case I get the chills after a hot flash.
7) Heated seats in your car?
How about those heated seats in your car? I loved them when I bought my new car! I found out quickly that turning on my heated seat in the winter time will quickly bring on a hot flash.
Resolution: Turn off the seat or turn on the air conditioner (yes in the middle of winter!) which will quickly bring the flush down.
Right now I’m hot flash free. I occasionally may have one, but not for a while. That’s because I’ve found some other methods that work and I’ll share them with you very soon.
My next article will tell you about medical options to eliminate hot flashes. There are many medical ways to totally eliminate hot flashes. Yep, that’s the truth! I currently have no hot flashes! Yessssss!
Hope this little bit of information helps. So do you have hot flashes? Are they intense? What’s been your experience with hot flashes? What do you do to eliminate or manage your hot flashes.
Please leave a comment, share your experiences to help others get some ‘cool’ relief.