Is it you, or is it hot in here?
If you’re going through perimenopause, or if you’ve already reached menopause, you can probably blame your hormones for those hot and cold temperature fluctuations you’re feeling.
The hormonal changes associated with menopause can leave you sweating one minute and shivering the next.
This can be particularly annoying in the summertime, when outdoor temperatures go up and humidity can weigh you down.
If summer is causing your menopause symptoms to warm up, try these 10 heat-management tips from the team of experts at Associates in Women’s Health in Cincinnati, Ohio:
1. Dress in layers
Be ready for anything, from a blast of chilly air conditioning to a major hot flash, by wearing several layers. Start with a tank top, then add a light blouse or a button-down cotton sweater. Avoid pullovers, which can be difficult to remove in a hurry, while driving, or in the middle of an important meeting.
2. Keep chilled water by your side
A swig of ice water can cool you down when a hot flash strikes. Have a few wide-mouth refillable water bottles on hand. Fill them with lots of ice and water, and store a few in the freezer. When one starts to warm up, swap it with an icy replacement.
3. Watch for spicy foods
Some women find that eating spicy foods makes hot flashes worse. If sriracha sets off your hot flashes, for example, avoid it until fall. You may also want to cut back on caffeine if it revs up your hot flashes.
4. Cool down with cool foods
If warm foods turn up the volume on your hot flashes, stay away from them. Choose cool soups, refreshing salads, and room-temperature entrees instead. Now’s a great time to try gazpacho.
5. Be virginal
No, that’s not what we mean. We’re talking about cocktails. Some menopausal women find that alcohol heats them up in the summer. If that’s you, don’t worry—you don’t have to skip the deliciousness of mojitos, margaritas, and melon balls just because it’s hot outside. Order the virgin version, and you’ll get all the fun and flavor without the hot flashes.
6. Take a few mindful moments
Research shows that mind-body practices such as meditation, deep breathing, tai chi, and yoga can help reduce hot flashes. Look for classes that teach these practices at your gym, community ed department, or your local Y. Or check out meditation apps that guide you through deep breathing and meditation sessions.
7. Keep your bedroom cool
Run an air conditioner or fan and keep several choices of covering on your bed—a sheet, a thin cotton blanket, and a thicker comforter--in case you get cold.
8. Check with us before using supplements or herbal teas
You may see ads for various types of natural treatments for menopausal symptoms. Some are safe, but others aren’t. Check with us before you pop a supplement or sip an herbal tea that promises miracles.
9. Exercise smart
When the mercury soars, move your workout indoors. Work out in a room with plenty of cool air and ventilation. If you prefer to exercise outdoors, head out in the morning, when temperatures are lowest. Drink plenty of water, and cool off with a post-workout shower. To keep nighttime hot flashes to a minimum, schedule your workouts earlier in the day, especially if you notice that later-day exertion leaves you sweating in your sleep.
10. Don’t suffer in silence
Lifestyle changes can provide some symptom relief, but for some women who struggle with hot flashes and other menopause-related discomforts, medication or hormone therapy can offer welcome relief. Your care providers at Associates in Women’s Health can answer all of your questions about these treatments and can educate you about hormonal and non-hormonal solutions. Call for an appointment today.