Is it just me or is it hot in here? How to manage hot flushes in menopause
You’re about to do a big presentation, your outfit is awesome and you’re totally up for doing what you have to do to clinch the deal. Just before you step up a creeping feeling of heat rolls up your body and face, and whoosh, your confidence is floored.
Hot flushes are one of the most common menopause symptoms with 85% of women experiencing some form of temperature craziness in menopause. It varies from a warming up-drift to full-on sweats that require complete changes of clothes and/or bedclothes. Needless to say this can –
- Cause Insomnia
- Disrupt work
- Destroy confidence
Hot flushes are caused by the relative decrease in oestrogen and rising follicle stimulating hormone levels and while some women never experience them, some women are afflicted for as long as 11 years. A very long time.
Practical solutions to manage hot flushes
To manage the flushes in the moment, there are a few things you can do.
Wearing a number of thinner layers will allow you to shrug out of your jacket elegantly instead of being a sweaty heap of jumper.
Layers on your bed, likewise, will give you more temperature control than a winter duvet which have two settings; either roasting or freezing. Try this duvet which claims to have climate control. Not yet tried it myself, but I’ll let you know.
Remembering to breathe, slow, deep breathing will soothe your nervous system. Place one hand on your belly and as you breathe in, feel your hand move away. As you breathe out your belly will move back softly. Count down from 10 to 1 on each out-breath and it could count as your meditation practice. Alternate nostril breathing is also an excellent cooler.
Changing the way you regard hot flushes will not make them go away but can reduce the charge around them and you may even learn to love them. Menopause is a transition into becoming a powerful wise woman and to do this we have to let go of things that no longer serve us. Here are some strategies, each flush might be:
- An opportunity to let go of something in your life
- The cleansing heat releasing you from the layers of conditioning
- Your power-animal waking inside you
- One step closer to your second spring
- A reminder that something needs attention
Whatever takes your fancy and puts you in control.
Lifestyle solutions to manage hot flushes
If you would like to use a natural way of managing your flushes, the first step is to find out what triggers you. Everyone is unique and will respond differently so this is a case for listening to your body to see what’s going on. A note in your diary or journal should be enough to track what’s going on. Likely triggers include-
- Spicy food
- Social media
- Hunger or low blood sugar
- Toxins in the body, specifically xenoestrogens
- Particular emotions
- And the humdinger, stress
Once you’ve observed your patterns over a week or two, you’ll get clear on what triggers your flushes, but what next? If a future of bland food, horlicks and mung beans gives you the heeby-jeebies don’t freak out. Making small, sustainable changes is the way forward; one cup of coffee less or a small piece of quality chocolate instead of a kilo of dairy milk can make all the difference.
Charting your feelings and energy alongside the moon cycle can build a cyclical balance into your life. Just like when you were cycling, and had more energy around ovulation, you may notice you have more energy at the full moon. The dark moon/new moon can be a more introspective, low energy time. Charting the ebb and flow of your energy can be soothing during the storms of menopause. Even if there is no discernable rhythm, just noting down how you feel every day is a soothing practice. You can download a moon chart and see how you get on.
My flower essence of choice for menopause is the Australia Bush Flower ‘Woman Essence’ it’s a gentle way of learning to find and love the beauty of this new you as it emerges. Seven drops under the tongue as you flush seems to reduce the severity according to some women. You can buy them from most health food shops or online.
Stress is one of the major hormone disrupters. But life is not going to let up, the to-do list will just get longer and no one is going to offer you a menopausal gap year on a plate (my personal dream). So how to manage the demon stress?
Menopause is an inside job, it’s our psyches’ way of transforming us into no-holds-barred, kick-ass, powerful game-changers. This is not going to happen without a great deal of emotional and physical healing from the inside out. Medicine Circles are a magical way of accessing your power and seeing the subconscious patterns that are governing you. Homeopathy, Bodywork, abdominal Massage, and acupuncture are both great ways of managing the emotional and physical changes at this time.
Apply rigorous discernment to things that don’t serve you or your priorities. If your menopausal, this won’t be hard, no is your natural way of being at this point in your life.
A daily practice that gives you headspace and reduces tension like Yoga, self-care massage or meditation will give you vital unwinding time. If this isn’t your thing then do what gives you pleasure and a bit of headspace; walking in the country and dancing are great.
Having a good rhythm in your life is very soothing to the nervous system; regular bedtimes, regular meals (managing blood sugar) regular rest and exercise all help.
Nothing beats doing more of what you love. Menopause maven Christane Northrup wrote an entire book ‘Goddesses Never Age’ about the benefits of pleasure for women. She says
“Don’t hold back from pleasure. Know and ask for what you enjoy, want and deserve. Don’t settle for what you think should be enough to satisfy you… simple pleasures may seem obvious, but they actually do reduce stress and by extension, inflammation. You may even experience a burst of nitric oxide”.
(Nitric oxide is triggered in orgasm, laughter and after exercise).
Any health concerns that haven’t been dealt with are sure to come and bite you in the bum in menopause so good nutrition is essential. Reducing caffeine, sugar and processed carbohydrates and increasing leafy green veggies and high-quality protein is the way forward but for recipe inspiration here’s a list of the top 10 clean eating recipe books.
So what’s working for you? Leave a comment below to share your own top tips for managing hot flushes, or get the low-down on more ways to flourish in mid-life.