Hot Flashes: Aging Gracefully During The Summer

“Hot Town.” That what I refer to as menopause. But I wonder why they don’t just call it “menomaniacal.”

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Truth be known, I’m a man. But I’m old enough to have seen my share of what women go through as they “drive” through Hot Town. The “car” is hot, and the windows are up. And if it happens to be a particularly hot summer day I advise all males to not dare turn on the seat warmer.

Just about all women get in the slow lane and head on over to Hot Flash Avenue. It’s a long street. Really long. Think of it as the Route 66 of menopause.

When you finally get a good way down Hot Flash Avenue, most women then turn right to go down Disrupt Your Sleep Blvd. Others head to Low Energy Street or to Anxiety Road.  Some even go down Just Give Me a Reason to Chew Your Head Off Way.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “[m]enopause is defined as occurring 12 months after your last menstrual period and marks the end of menstrual cycles. Menopause can happen in your 40s or 50s, but the average age is 51 in the United States.”

As far as what’s been described to me, I would say that most women dread the day menopause comes into their lives, but I’m also keenly aware that many women love the fact that their child-bearing years are behind them.

Menopause is going to happen to you sooner or later, but there are ways to face it with dignity and grace this summer.

Always keep a cold drink handy. It’ll help keep the body’s temperature in check during hot flashes.

Wear clothing in layers. That way you can just simply peel them off in case your temperature spikes.

Pay attention to what you eat and drink. Hot and spicy foods, caffeinated drinks, and alcohol can all be triggers.

Breathe. Anxiety over the hot flash can actually worsen it. Work on steadying your breathing; practice yoga, meditation or other helpful relaxation techniques.

Don’t smoke. Tobacco use is linked to an increase in hot flashes.

Keep a cold cloth or towel nearby when you need it. I know some women who even freeze face towels to quickly throw around their neck when having hot flashes or other menopause symptoms.

Consider complementary or alternative treatments. We all know the jury is out on hormonal or bioidentical hormone treatments. And I’m in no way endorsing using any of these, but many women successfully manage their hot flashes with soy, flaxseed, herbal remedies, acupuncture, vitamins, mild sedatives, or medications that are used to treat depression or high blood pressure.

Lose weight. Losing excess pounds can significantly alleviate—or even eliminate—hot flashes. Researchers found that each 11-pound decrease in weight yielded 33 percent greater odds of improvement in hot flashes. It’s not entirely clear why overweight women suffer more; some theorize that excess fat traps heat, leading to more sweating and flushing to cool the body; or that obese women’s blood vessels react differently to heat or stress.

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Yes, menopause sucks. But with the tips listed above, you too can handle the hot summer weather with dignity and grace.