Perimenopause Can SUCK IT #15: Keeping Your Cool

Perimenopause is a beast: a hot, sweaty, cranky, beast.

Let’s talk taming hot flashes.

~to the fire extinguisher!~

* Disclaimer: All information in this series is based on my personal experience and is not intended to take the place of your doctor’s advice.

Perimenopause Can SUCK IT #15

Typically, hot flashes are a by-product of reduced estrogen in a woman’s system.

A group of brain cells called KNDy (“candy”) neurons are probably the control switch for hot flashes. KNDy neurons respond to estrogen. When estrogen gets too low, these brain cells make more of a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that signals the body that it is too hot. The body then releases heat by opening blood vessels to the skin that cause flushing and sweating as a cooling method.

While hot flashes are predominately a menopausal symptom, perimenopausal women are known to suffer them as well. As women get older, estrogen levels drop. When estrogen levels drop, your body fires up the hot flash machine.

DAMNIT, UNIVERSE!

What Can We Do?

Many of the helps below are simply that and not solutions. Try one; try all. Do what makes you feel comfortable.

The key to remember during this season o’fun is that this physiological shift brings with it gains and losses and sometimes the best we can do is shift our perspective and ride out the dragon.

~ Go neekid! Not really! Wait, kinda really. I’ll add this caveat: not in public.

Everywhere else, feel free to strip down to the bare nothings. Lots of folks sleep naked and this is actually a helpful idea as it help the body regulate temperature.

~ If you must dress, wear breathable fabric. Cotton is good, as is athletic gear. I’d advise against silk, though. Silk + hot flash = who tagged you with a water balloon?

~ If it’s freezing out and you must wear more clothes than you’d like, do so in easy to remove layers. Put on. Take off. Put on. Take off. It’s the latest dance move, doncha know.

~ Turn on a fan. Or all the fans. Even in the dead of winter. It helps. Trust me.

~ Turn down the AC. A few degrees. Or into the Arctic range. Whatever floats your iceberg. Garry is the hot-natured half of our union and it wasn’t until I slipped into full perimenopause that I would ask: Is it hot in here to you? He was happy to welcome me to the “turn down the AC” club.

~ Drink iced every things. Tea, coffee, water, vodka. Or, you could skip the coffee.

~ A gentle reminder: OMT! uses Amazon referral links. When you do your shopping through the Amazon links on this page, you support the blog at no cost to yourself. It’s much appreciated!~

~ Invest in a cooling devise for your bed. I’ve been considering this one: ChiliPad Cube Cooling and Warming Mattress Pad

ChiliPad Cube Cooling and Warming Mattress Pad

(Source: AMAZON)

Product Deets:

Your best night’s sleep is a few degrees away! ChiliPad is a mattress pad with a cooling and heating temperature control system. It regulates the surface temperature of your mattress so that you sleep comfortably all night long.

Control the temperature at the touch of a button either directly on the control unit or conveniently in bed with the wireless remote control. Set the temperature in 1 degree increments from 46 degrees to 118 degrees F. The control unit heats or cools regular water to your set temperature and circulates it through the pad, generally achieving temperatures between 60 degrees to 110 degrees F on the bed surface. A thermostat maintains the set temperature, letting you sleep at your ideal temperature throughout the night.

Has anyone tried it? I am THISCLOSE to purchasing one!

~ Try acupuncture. From a 2011 study: Acupuncture was effective in reducing menopausal complaints when compared to sham acupuncture and can be considered as an alternative therapy in the treatment of menopausal symptoms.

~ Control stress. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAaaaaaa! stress is a known trigger for hot flashes, but it’s stressful to try and control a thing that can trigger the fire within when all you’re thinking about is: Don’t stress. Stop stressing. You’re gonna cause a hot flash. STOP IT. ~full on lava~ Dang it – there’s no winning this one.

~ Exercise regularly. This one I can speak to from experience. My hot flashes increase when I skip a workout. ~ So. Hawt.~ This one is a no-brainer, like eating well and ridding your life of stress (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAAAAaaaa!): accomplish these ideals and you naturally feel better, perimenopause or not. To include them in this list is simply a reminder of what you already know that works.

~ Add ground flax seed to your diet.  Memorial Sloan Kettering weighs in (once you’ve clicked into link, then hit the “how it works” tab): A study showed flaxseed to be as effective as hormone replacement therapy in the management of menopausal symptoms.

Post breast cancer (with the blessing of my oncologist), I have added ground flax seed to my diet, and believe I feel better for it

I know many of you are looking for the magic ice-pack to extinguish your hot flashes. My research and experience has been this: there’s not much proven that rids our lives of them completely, other than moving through this stage and on to the next. We can ease our way through this experience with some of the helps above, but other than that, HANG ON!

Sucks, but there it is.

Onward, warriors.

* Disclaimer: All information in this series is based on my personal experience and is not intended to take the place of your doctor’s advice.

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Comments

  1. My mom was stationed in Greenland when she first started having hot flashes. In the dead of winter, -40ish degrees, she determinedly chiseled out her painted-shut window and welcomed in the frigid air. Everybody else in her dorm was less than pleased, but for once she just didn’t give a crap what they wanted.

  2. All good ideas Patti. I was surprised by the exercise regularly, I would think that would make it worse. Saw your link at the GRAND Social No. 246. Shared on social media.

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