You’re at work, being productive, when a sensation of heat comes out of nowhere. Before you know it your heart is pounding, your skin is flushed, and you’re starting to sweat. This scenario is all too familiar to women going through menopause. Roughly 75% of women experience hot flashes at the end of their childbearing years. If you notice hot flashes are striking with regularity while at work, arm yourself with some simple ways to cool down.
1. Sip ice water
Have ice water handy at your desk during the workday. Sipping on ice water is an excellent way to bring your temperature down and help you feel more comfortable when hot flashes strike. Use a thermos to keep the water cold, otherwise the ice will melt, and the water will go down to room temperature. Most thermoses keep beverages cold for up to 12 hours.
2. Bring a small fan
In the ideal work situation you’d have control of the temperature and simply turn down the thermostat. However, many women aren’t so lucky. The next best thing is to bring a small fan to place on your desk. Turn it on when you feel the first signs of a hot flash coming on.
3. Dress in layers
Not only are hot flashes annoying, but they’re also often followed by the chills. For this reason, it’s a good idea to dress in layers. That way you can remove a layer when you feel uncomfortably warm and put it back on if you start to feel chilly.
4. Avoid clothing that traps heat
Materials like wool and silk trap heat, which only makes your situation worse if you’re battling hot flashes. Opt for breathable materials such as cotton to keep you cool when in the throes of a hot flash.
5. Cut back on caffeine
Your morning cup of Joe may do more than give you a boost of energy. The caffeine in coffee can also trigger hot flashes. If hot flashes become a problem, cutting back can help to avoid triggering them.
6. Avoid smoking
There are countless reasons why you should avoid smoking, and the fact that cigarettes can contribute to hot flashes is just another one. Women who smoke get more hot flashes than those who don’t. Talk to your health care provider about resources to help kick your habit.
7. Practice deep breathing
Cooling down during a hot flash may be as simple as taking a few deep breaths. Slowing down and pacing your breathing can help ease hot flashes by reducing stress-related chemicals that increase body temperature. Lowering those chemicals will help you stop hot flashes in their tracks.
8. Reduce work-related stress
Because stress can trigger body temperature-increasing chemicals, lowering your stress while at work can also help manage hot flashes. Whether it’s deadlines or a heavy workload, work stress can wreak havoc in various ways. Look for ways to make your time at work less stressful.
9. Avoid spices
If you notice that you get hot flashes after lunch, you may be eating something that is triggering them. Spices are a common trigger for hot flashes. Think twice next time you’re tempted to try that spicy curry and opt for a non-spicy option instead.
10. Incorporate soy into your diet
While you’re considering what to avoid in your diet, you may want to consider what to add. Soy foods are rich in plant compounds called isoflavones that have been linked to decreasing hot flashes. Adding a serving or two of soy foods each day can help reduce how often hot flashes occur and how intense they are.
The end of your childbearing years doesn’t have to mean dealing with a constant barrage of uncomfortable symptoms. The Associates in Women’s Health Cincinnati team helps women find relief from symptoms that come along with menopause. Call today to schedule an appointment with one of our staff members or use our convenient online booking tool.