Every single time I ask a perimenopausal or menopausal women if she’s having any hot flashes, I hear this reply,
“No, no hot flashes. But sometimes I’m just sitting, talking to friends and I get warm all over, for no reason! But nope. No hot flashes!”
HELLLLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Ladies! I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but THAT’S A HOT FLASH!!!
Yep, that’s YOUR version of a hot flash.
The typical hot flash is the one we saw at the 2006 Golden Globes, when S. Epatha Merkerson had stuffed her acceptance speech into her bra, but she couldn’t pull the sweaty paper out because it had gotten stuck to her skin, then she fanned herself, saying, “I feel like I’m 16! And if I wasn’t in the middle of a hot flash, I’d believe it!”
Well, your version of a hot flash might not be so obvious. It might be something like this:
“I have to have a fan by my desk at work now.”
“I used to be cold, now I’m hot all the time.”
“I’m not hot. Just very, very warm.”
“I wish they’d turn up the AC in here!”
“Is it hot in here?”
“I haven’t worn a sweater in months.”
“My face gets a little flushed.”
“I’m sweating all the time.”
“I sweat more than I used to.”
“It comes in waves.”
“I’m warmer, but hey it’s summer, right?”
“Yes, I’m hot, but it’s been a really warm summer, hasn’t it?”
And my next question, “Are you having any night sweats?”
“Oh yeah, but I’ve always had those a couple times a month, right around my period.”
“I’m throwing the sheets off at night.”
“I’m sweating, but I think it’s just my pillow case.”
“I’m hot, but I think I need a new mattress.”
“I wake up every night and have to change the sheets.”
“I wake up hot, but not sweating.”
“It’s worse if I have a glass of wine.”
“Only if I eat sugar.”
“My husband used to keep me warm at night. Now he has to move to the other side of the bed, because I’m burning up.”
“No night sweats. But I have to sleep with a fan on.”
“I wake up at 3:00 AM sweating.”
“Only right when I wake up in the morning.”
OK, do you get the picture? If you’re recognizing any of these responses, you’re having mild, moderate, or severe hot flashes and/or night sweats. These occur because of a hormonal imbalance that usually shows up in the PERIMENOPAUSAL years, i.e. 10 years before MENOPAUSE, usually in your 40’s, or maybe not until MENOPAUSE, after you’ve had your last period. Not every woman has them, but it is a very common symptom that does occur during this time.
Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about Hot Flashes:
1. I must not be menopausal, because I’m not having any hot flashes.
Not exactly. Although hot flashes are one of the hallmark signs of menopause, they don’t happen to every woman, and they are only one of a myriad of menopausal symptoms that might be occurring in your body.
2. Oh I had those years ago. So I’m not menopausal anymore, right?
Well, technically, if you had hot flashes during those last few months or years of menopause, and now it’s been over a year, then you’re POST-MENOPAUSAL. (We use this word interchangeably with MENOPAUSAL) Although most of the uncomfortable symptoms of that transitional time have stopped, your body may now begin showing signs of suffering from some longer term, hormonal deficiency symptoms, such as:
- bone loss (osteoporosis or osteopenia)
- vaginal dryness or atrophy
- heart palpitations
- memory loss
Each of these symptoms deserves attending to, and I will address them in other blogs. In the meantime, I want you to become aware of your body’s temperature regulation. Does it seem more brittle or sensitive? If so, your body is clearly experiencing some hormonal imbalance that occurs during PERIMENOPAUSE and MENOPAUSE.
3. Hot flashes? Oh, they’re not that big of a deal. The other symptoms are worse, but these I can put up with. They only happen a couple of times per day.
Wrong answer! I don’t want you to have ANY hot flashes! Or any other menopausal symptoms, for that matter! I don’t want you to settle for anything less than optimum health. If you’re having hot flashes, then your body is hormonally out of balance, and this could affect other systems of your body, like your brain, heart, bones, and skin. Remember, symptoms are the foreign language of your body. They represent your body trying to talk to you. Although it isn’t always easy to interpret or find the solution, it is a signal that you must pay attention. And get the help you need.
The important issue here, is that hot flashes can be stopped! That’s why I’ve started THE HOT FLASH MOVEMENT, because I don’t want you to suffer any longer. Women should not have to suffer through hot flashes or any other MENOPAUSAL symptom. I am here to educate you about your body so that you can go through this transition as seamlessly as possible.
Stay connected, please share and comment!