On the website Etsy you can buy a pin with the saying, “I’m still hot; it just comes in waves now”. Would I pin something like that to my T-shirt? Probably not; it would also be completely unnecessary since everyone can see what’s wrong with you when the first heat waves come.
Hot flashes are one of the five most common menopausal symptoms and can occur anywhere from three to 20 times a day. Up to 90 percent of menopausal women experience them. It is still unclear why the blood vessels suddenly dilate, and blood flow increases in the outer regions of the body until sweat breaks out. Some experts suspect that during the drop in estrogen levels, stress hormones such as adrenaline are increasingly released, causing the thermoregulation in the brain to be repeatedly misdirected.
In the beginning, my first hot flashes always came in the morning after my first coffee. Exactly when I wanted to put on makeup and leave the house. So I tried to blow dry my face and wet my scalp again so that the color didn’t run like a badly painted clown. Then came the nights when I had to change the sheets every now and then. And came the depressions. I knew when the heat started at the roots of my hair, the red rising up my décolletage, I would feel worse than I ever had in my life, and for no reason at all.
Girlfriends felt the same way. “I can feel a gray wall rolling right toward me, and I know right now the heat will follow,” one of them told me. Another described feeling as if she were trapped in a swamp, barely able to move out of a diffuse fear, then drowning in minutes of sweating. Weakness, nausea, and heaving attacks are other symptoms that accompanied the onset of heat in some. Another friend, who was still reading “Harry Potter” to her son at the time, felt as if Lord Voldemort was flying at her in all his ugliness: Escape futile, the disaster unstoppable, nothing to stop the descent into the heat. An acquaintance had such severe heart palpitations during a heatstroke that she drove to the emergency room.
Are there external factors that additionally trigger the heat? For some, the sight of a warm meal, the brief breeze of a summer breeze, and just the sound of a hair dryer are enough. Stress can be a trigger. Strongly spiced or scorching food. It can happen anytime, anywhere. You are talking to the savings bank employee on the subway in yoga class. How should you deal with it? Here are a few voices from women with heat exhaustion:
“When I’m alone, I tear open the refrigerator and stand in front of it.”
“I always have a hand fan and pull it out of my purse if I can’t help it. That’s what my fellow humans have to go through.”
“Cotton jersey is my go-to. It helps at night, but also during the day.”
“I dash into the nearest supermarket, rip open the door of the refrigerated counter, and squeeze in real close to the chicken legs or mixed ground beef.”
“At night, I go out in the backyard and lay in my hammock until it’s over.”
Do I need to see a doctor for hot flashes if I have no other menopausal symptoms? Yes, if they are highly disruptive to your life. Also, to clarify whether other diseases such as hypothyroidism, diabetes, allergies, or tumors are behind it.
And you should try out natural remedies to see if they help. Among others, black cohosh, nettle, soy, rosehip, St. John’s wort, and isoflavones are recommended. Many reports from women say that natural remedies have at least lessened the severity of their hot flashes, as well as jogging or other sports that make you sweat to the hilt.
The topic of hot flashes is often avoided in the professional world. Rarely do women dare ask a male colleague to leave the window open during a meeting. What do you do when it happens to you as a female teacher in front of a class? Broach the subject, says a friend who is a teacher. “I then pull my fan, and my students have gotten used to it by now.” But it’s not that simple for many women, as we’ll point out in the blog post on menopause and society.
The following post is about what can happen to our bodies during menopause. It’s about morning stiffness, eggs, upper lip beards, sweaty underwear, and perpetual 39th birthdays.