This article originally appeared on 60 and Me
Are you experiencing hot flashes/flushes?
Have you been through menopause, but still have the same symptoms?
This is a very common occurrence.
75% of women report experiencing hot flashes from approximate ages of 40 through to 80.
What is a Hot Flash/Flush?
A hot flush is a sudden wave of mild or intense body heat, sometimes followed by chills. This is believed to be due to decreased oestrogen levels and hormonal changes. Flushes last from a few seconds to a half-hour, due to blood vessels opening and constricting. These episodes often cause distress and affect psychological health.
What causes a hot flash/flush?
The source of hot flushes is unknown but appears to be connected to several factors. Every individual is different making it a difficult task to pinpoint exact causes. Investigation is ongoing.
Research findings regarding hot flushes to date.
- Lowered Estrogen
- Consumption of phytoestrogens (soy products)
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Biopsychosocial behaviours – what you think about menopause can be a trigger to how you cope with it
- Poor nutrition
Who is prone to hot flushes?
Women with a low tolerance to core (inner) temperatures or changing hormone levels. Women who suffer from disorders like stress, anxiety and depression. Women who’ve had chemotherapy/radiation and hysterectomies can also experience these symptoms.
A more in-depth look at what happens in the body
The Hypothalamus sits at the base of your brain. It controls the thermoregulation. Its job is to help manage your core internal temperature. Due to external effects, your temperature may drop too low or too high. An SOS is then sent to muscles, organs and the endocrine (hormonal) system. When the body receives these signals, it adapts to that change, i.e., like shivering or sweating. Women sensitive to temperature changes may experience hot flushes. This is due to the narrowing of the core body temperature set point. Changes in hormone levels also affect other hormones responsible for regulating your body temperature.
A recent study from the USA focused on the effects of menopause on women in the western world. Results found many women suffer from long-term hot flushes. The study noted stress and depression had a detrimental effect on the health of numerous women. Negative mindsets towards transitional changes from the effects of menopause can cause severe symptoms.
Science is making some great discoveries in the field of women’s health. Research continues into the origins of menopause and the accompanying side effects. And we do know the mind is a very powerful tool when it comes to the way we deal with life.
How can you help yourself?
By adopting a positive attitude towards menopause and the changes it’s made to your life. In doing so, your symptoms may not be as severe. And remember, you are not facing this alone.
Some women told me their doctor dismissed their concerns about menopausal transition. If this is your experience, please find a different doctor. One who treats you with respect as an individual and offers help and clarification around your menopausal symptoms.
Possible lifestyle triggers to cut down or avoid
- Spicy foods
- Stressful situations
- Stressful thoughts
- Sleeping in a hot or unventilated room
- Too many clothes
- Worrying about the next hot flash
- Rarely prioritising quiet and nurturing time for yourself
There are other simple and effective ways to help you through hot flashes/flushes. To this end, I have broken down the what, why and how of it all into a video tutorial which you can download https://meeactive.lpages.co/hot-flashes
About the Author:
Rachelle is a female health and performance coach, women’s holistic health coach and movement coach who helps you step off the sidelines of life, find your mind-body connection and live well.
She is a presenter and writer for various platforms and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org