I know more now about my hot flashes than I did back in 2015. They still come from nowhere when I just sit still at my desk, working. But, I also know when I have been active, chances are much bigger one will rush through my body. Also, every morning after a shower and getting dressed, my body overheats and it takes at least fifteen minutes to cool down again, sometimes longer.
I still hate that feeling when my ankles get warm, and I know the heat will rise up and spread through my entire body. I have noticed how my heartbeat seems to increase, and I’m breathing faster during hot flashes.
The best lesson I have learned over the years is to just let them happen, to surrender to the feeling the same way I do with those night sweats. Sometimes I will help myself a bit to cool down, like taking off a cardigan — I mostly wear layers — or with working from home, kicking off my slippers. Fighting the hot flashes just means I feel even hotter.
Cold flashes are a bit more difficult to ‘just let happen’. When once I am cold, I am COLD. Nothing, absolutely nothing I do, helps to make me feel warmer. When one of those shivers hit me while sitting on the couch, I pull a fleece blanket (folded double) over me, but still shiver. If it hits me while working, I either turn up the heat or put on a cardigan, if I wasn’t wearing one already. If it hits me in bed, I sleep with pajamas and socks, and lay not only under my duvet, but I also add a fleece blanket on top of that.
When I’m cold, I am cold to the bone. I have never really been a person to easily be cold. In fact, I normally felt hot much quicker than cold. But in these past years, with my personal thermostat malfunctioning, the cold seems to be here to stay. Just like hot flashes feel worse in summer, cold flashes are worse in winter.
Sometimes they both hit
This is the strangest sensation, when both hot and cold flashes hit at the same time. Seriously, this is a thing, or rather, it is in my body. Sometimes my lower body can be cold, and it seems I will never get my legs and feet to warm up again, while my upper body seems to be creating its own sauna. It can also happen the other way around, that my legs and feet feel warm, while my arms are cold, despite wearing a cardigan.
The feeling of being hot and cold at the same time is an odd one. What should you do? Take off layers where you’re hot and cover those where you are cold? The only thing I always do is just sit and wait for it to pass. I try to control my breathing, to not get upset because my body can’t decide whether it wants to be hot or cold, and I just… wait. Eventually, it passes. It always does.
What can you do about hot and cold flashes?
One of the things you can do to soften all menopause symptoms is to take hormone replacement therapy. This can be anything from getting a prescription from the doctor, to using anything homeopathic, whether from an actual homeopath or over the counter ‘natural’ medicine. The meds you get from doctors work well, but there are dangers to them, one of it being an increased risk to get breast cancer. The natural stuff work too, but not always, and nowhere as well as real meds do.
There are other things you can do though, which help to reduce both hot and cold flushes. Those are:
- Reducing stress and anxiety;
- Avoiding triggers like sugar, caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods and nicotine;
- Like I mentioned already: wearing layers of clothing
When in midst of a cold flash you can try to move around to get the blood flowing and get warmer, and for a warm flash… well, I’m afraid you will just have to ride that one out!
Advice on hot and cold flashes
There’s a lot of advice to be found about how to handle hot and cold flashes and how to prevent them, but I think in the end it’s quite an individual thing. We all find our own way to get through it, but it doesn’t hurt to learn from each other. So, if you have advice, please share it below, or write your own post and share it for The Menopause Diaries!
© Rebel’s Notes
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