Tips for Staying Comfortable During Hot Flashes
Keep the room as cool as reasonable since it is easier for others to layer on than for women to
Hi, I am Dr. Amy Rosenman, a urogynecologist and menopause expert with Rosenmanmd.com and today I am here on behalf of About.com to share with you my tips for staying comfortable during hot flashes.First, understanding the hot flash and possible prevention is key. When I was in training (just a few years ago) we were told that hot flashes were "in your head." The core temperature when taken with a thermometer remained unchanged, but when a skin thermometer was applied there were noted to be vast waves of heat to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, followed by sweating and immediate cooling back to normal, all within a couple of minutes. When women were administered estrogen, this did not happen. This was the first demonstration that hot flashes were real. They are a result of less estrogen to the temperature regulation center of the brain, resulting in less regulation and temperature swings. So what stimulates hot flashes? Ironically, anything that makes you warm or hot will trigger a hot flash such as being in a hot room, vigorous exercise, drinking alcohol, sleeping under heavy blankets, dressing too warmly. Tips for staying comfortable come directly from this list:1) Dress loosely and in layers. Natural fibers are more comfortable as they are absorbent and wick moisture. 2) Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages, if a hot flash would be upsetting.3) Keep the room as cool as is reasonable, it is easier for others to layer on than for us to cool off.4) Stay cool. If you must go outdoors, find a cool shady spot, avoid direct sun, avoid very hot tubs, consider pool aerobics.5) There are simple physical cooling systems, at camping stores you can find a neckerchief with water absorbing, that’s hydrophilic, beads that you can soak and then allow to evaporate around your neck to keep you cool for hours.6) Meditate and breathe deeply and slowly to shorten flashes.7) Ultimately estrogen can halt hot flashes in their tracks and eliminate them. If yours are impacting your life and affecting the quality of your life, it is time to consider estrogen therapy, balanced by progesterone when appropriate.8) There are also some medications you might be on that may be making the situation worse. If you take Niacin, thyroid medication or Reloxifen or Tamoxifen, these may be making the hot flashes worse. Speak to your doctor to see if there are alternatives.Hot flashes usually last from 2-5 years. In fewer than 12% of women are they problematic longer than that. Hang in there. It gets better.Thanks for watching and for more information visit us online at About.com.