This post is from one of our best-loved guest bloggers, Anne Miano.
A few months ago, I wrote about my experience with menopause hot flashes and what I was doing to deal with them. I’d recently had my ovaries removed and found myself suddenly tossed into menopause and the wicked, unpredictable, thoroughly miserable world of hot flashes.
I got a lot of responses from readers who offered hot flash survival tips of their own, including my friend M who said she requested a box fan for her office. (My giant Hunter fan by my bed continues to be my most prized possession. I love that thing.) Several friends told me funny stories about rushing to the neighborhood market to stand in one of the freezers.
The best new thing I’ve found for hot flashes, though, is a simple paper fan. So simple that I can’t believe I didn’t think of this myself. Instead, I got the idea from my friend Susan, who told me, “Always carry an old fashioned folding fan in your purse. If I’m having a flash then I just admit it and whip out my fan because bite me. I tend to flash when I get hot — especially in the summer — because what could be better than a hot flash when you’re already burning up hot, right?”
Susan recommends the fans at World Market, which, as she says, “are cute.” They’re also inexpensive (four for $4) and fairly sturdy. But because I was in a hurry to try out Susan’s suggestion, I used my speedy Prime benefits and ordered fans from Amazon – the four-dozen mini-fan assortment for around $9. You get what you pay for, and the mini-fans won’t last a lifetime, but they fit easily in your purse, so you can always have one on hand.
With friend Susan as my role model, I shamelessly pull out one of those fans from my purse whenever a hot flash hits. You’ll find me fanning at the symphony, in client meetings, and in movie theaters. Just recently, when I was out to dinner with a friend and his mother, I started fanning myself in the restaurant and noticed her looking longingly at my little paper fan. Since I always keep a few in my purse, I pulled out another one and handed it to her. No words were needed. The two of us sat at the table, happily fanning.
As it says in my short bio below, I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect cooling bedsheet. I knew it would be expensive, and I hesitated buying anything because I didn’t want to be disappointed. After reading Gennev's “Traveler’s Guide to Menopause” in which they recommended bamboo sheets, I decided to make the investment. Luckily, just as I was going online to search for a set, Houzz.com put them on sale. I was able to grab bamboo sheets for quite a bit less than I had expected.
I’ve become a believer. After sleeping in bamboo sheets for a month, I ordered a second set and packed up all my cotton sheets for Goodwill. Bamboo sheets really work. They’re silky and cool, and they don’t trap moisture. I never feel as though I’m lying in a puddle of my own sweat.
Keep an eye out for sales. And don’t be cheap and buy a bamboo/cotton blend. It’s not the same. Treat yourself to 100% bamboo viscose sheets. They will make a huge difference in your life.
I did try again to get my doctor to prescribe the antidepressant Effexor, which can help reduce hot flashes. But again she refused. “Keep exercising,“ she said. “Let’s see what happens.” Her approach has turned out to be the right one. For me, anyway. As my body has continued to heal from the surgery, I’ve been exercising more and am now back to my old routine of going to the gym every day. I also take short walks with my dog throughout the day. Being upright and moving, not letting myself sit for too long, seems to help. The hot flashes strike less often.
I still keep a journal, marking down when the hot flashes come, what I was doing before, what I’d recently eaten, if I was standing, sitting or lying down. I understand that no one really knows the cause, but I’m convinced that if I can decode my body, figure out the triggers that are distinctly mine, I can keep making hot flashes a smaller and smaller part of my day.
In the meantime, I’ve bought another Hunter fan.
The information on the Gennev site is never meant to replace the care of a qualified medical professional. Hormonal shifts throughout menopause can prompt a lot of changes in your body, and simply assuming something is “just menopause” can leave you vulnerable to other possible causes. Always consult with your physician or schedule an appointment with one of Gennev's telemedicine doctors before beginning any new treatment or therapy.