Jamie, 51, checked in with us this week:
“My hot flashes in menopause feel like they’ve gone from “bake at 350” to “broil at 500”. They’re hotter. Flaming hot… Lava-hot… Sweat-trickling hot. Been experiencing what I thought of as 'hot' for 2 years now. And lately, something inside has really cranked up the internal temperatures… or, so it feels.
“I’m awake 2-3 times each night, thrashing in sweaty clothes and sheets. It’s disgusting. And then I get chilled just a few minutes later, so I’m looking for the blankets I’ve thrown off, which wakes me up even more… cue the irritability.
“With all this heat, I’d hoped that at least some calories would get burned and I’d be losing some weight. Mmmmm… no. Definitely not the case.” I need help beating hot flashes...
What Jamie mentioned about her temperatures rising... ahem, sparked… a curiosity about heat that led us to research do hot flashes raise your temperature.
In the National Library of Medicine, body temperatures were measured before, during, and after hot flashes in a menopausal woman. It was surprising to us that the findings shared that internal body temperatures actually fell after each hot flash.
“Where sweating occurred, the skin temperature fell during the flash and rose after it. Finger and toe temperatures always showed a sharp rise at the onset of a flash with a slower fall after the flash. Only the cheeks showed additional temperature rises; maximum, 0.7 degrees C.”
Another element that was measured was the heartbeat. Is anyone going to be surprised at its acceleration during a hot flash
“The heart accelerated 13% at the onset of the flash but slowed immediately thereafter. The flash interval was sharply demarcated by undulations in the ECG baseline.”
Another study shared that core body temperature is lower in post-menopausal women than pre-menopausal women. It went on to note that this finding has potential implications for energy metabolism and midlife weight gain.
Despite all the heat and sweating we may be experiencing during menopause, our core body temperatures are decreasing as we age. Fascinating!... And it sure doesn’t feel like that mid-flash, does it?
Stress may indeed be an instigator for more and hotter flashes in some women. It’s also what we do with increased, complex, or compounded stressors that may amp up hot flash temperatures and/or the number of hot flashes that happen in a day (or night). Namely, consumables such as caffeine, alcohol, and sugar… all known to affect hot flashes.
Smoking is a behavior that increases the risk for hot flashes. And, a sedentary lifestyle without much movement.
We will go into what helps in managing hot flashes a little further down in this post, but let’s address and acknowledge the latest, intense stressor that has affected the planet in myriad ways: Coronavirus and COVID19.
What else is going on lately in your life? This pandemic is probably not the only thing you have going on right now… chances are good that stress was happening — both good and bad — on some level prior to the virus breakout. Whatever the stressors, they may be impacting your menopause journey, not to mention your immune system. What are those other pre-existing stressors you’ve been experiencing, specifically?
Take a deep breath, you’ve been going through a lot.
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What helps? According to the same study noted above, dabbing areas of the face with cold water can provide prompt relief. It seems an easy one, as long as you’ve got cold water close at hand. Could it feel different or better than a handheld mister or handheld fan? Test drive it and see what works best, feels best, for you.
Additional areas that help decrease menopause symptoms, especially hot flashes, are:
Want to try HRT for hot flashes? It is an effective alternative. A Gennev menopause-certified gynecologist can give you a trusted opinion, determine if medication is right for you, and they can provide prescription support. Book an appointment with a doctor here.
Finding out what works for you, your body, your life is what really matters most here. Hot flashes, and other symptoms of menopause, can be managed with care and attention… and of course, you’re worth the excellent care you need during this transformative journey.
Join and jam on several menopause topics, including hot flashes, sleep (and how to reclaim it and enjoy it), weight gain, and more. You’re invited… Gennev Community Forums. See you inside.
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