About this post: I’ve had more public hot flashes than I can shake a stick at! If this is you, and you’re wondering what to do to combat the next meltdown…read on! This post offers five tips that I’ve used to help me through the discomfort of hot flashes and night sweats…and that advice from my naturopath, that seems to work best of all!
Over the last few years, I’ve had hot flashes at the most awful moments…a slight increase in temperature, a spicy food, a wee bit of nervousness…all can bring on a hot flash with a pure vengeance…usually in a public place where the wave takes over and there’s simply no escaping it.
It’s happened so many times that I’ve given up uncomfortably slipping away to hide in a bathroom or sneaking out to catch a little fresh air outside. Instead, I full-on acknowledge and announce my awkwardness as the fact is…EVERYONE CAN SEE ME MELTING…so there’s no point in pretending it isn’t happening!
I remember my first big one…it was during an “influencer” event at Indigo as we were being presented with their new holiday line. I was the oldest in a crowd of perfectly coiffed and put-together women who were gathered to take photos and Instagram the moment when something overtook me! Initially, I thought it was a panic attack, or possibly an illness…I feared I’d pass out and imagined myself hurling my holiday cookies across the room in the most un-Instagram worthy moment that would surely go viral!! I had little understanding of what was happening as my body rebelled against me while standing there with all of these young women! I tried to maintain my composure…wondering if anyone else could see my distress and thrilled when it finally passed.
It wasn’t until the next flash (ironically at the next influencer event during the opening of a shop at the mall), that I clued-in to what was going on.
From that point forward, I limited the public events I was attending as the slight increase in anxiety I’d experience under normal circumstances, now would release the hot flash demons and besides, “Hashtag Menopause” wasn’t exactly trending!
When I look back at photos of these events I see a disheveled and uncomfortable me. Bangs were my nemesis…the flash would start and the next thing you know…I’m trying to maintain a semblance of normality with a bright red face suddenly freed from any makeup as my pores seemed to have opened up and sucked it all in…and to make matters worse…a soaking wet fringe lined my forehead!
I grew out my hair.
And stopped wearing makeup.
At home, things were manageable…but in public, things got NUTTY! Panic, fear, and embarrassment are just a few of the feelings I’ve felt during a hot flash…but feelings aside, there’s an overwhelming desire to rip off your clothes and run screaming from the room naked while praying for a massive lake to suddenly appear so you can hurl your body into the cool, refreshing water…drowing out the flames from within!
There’ve been a few things that have worked for me…
God Bless air conditioners, open windows, and breezy days!
Prior to moving into my apartment, I purchased a “window” air conditioner for my bedroom. It was ugly, obnoxious, and stuck out of the front of my house like a sore thumb but it was EVERYTHING! My power bill from running it constantly was astronomical but what it did for my hot flashes was immeasurable. The night sweats were easier to handle in a cool room.
In my apartment, I’m lucky enough to have air conditioning in my living room but it doesn’t quite cool the bedroom the way I’d like. But on those nights, I grab my pillow and a sheet…then flake on the couch for the night…the crisp air allowing me to sleep.
Layers, layers and more layers
Dressing is interesting…loose clothing and layers work the best. I require the ability to strip down to barely anything at a moment’s notice. Turtle necks are out…tank tops are in! Bras with underwire find themselves thrown to the floor the moment I step in my house…sports bras are “ish” ok…if I have to. Spanx…well, let’s just say there was a Spanx-induced combination panic attack / hot flash last year…and it truly wasn’t my finest moment!
Everyone loves a Magic Bag
When the wave hits…there’s nothing better than heading to the freezer to grab that frozen bag of magic and placing it on your shoulders to allow some sort of blockage before the heat leaves your chest and finds it’s way to the top of your head! Better yet, grab a popsicle while you’re at it to double down on the heat but be careful of the rookie mistake of forgetting to put the bag BACK in the freezer for the next flash!
Load your purse with water and fans!
Water…water…and more water! Keep the water flowing and if needed, pour it on yourself when all else fails! Warm showers rather than hot ones…cooler ones on the humid days while allowing yourself to rest before getting dressed to go out, or the shower is basically pointless! I rarely leave the house without ice water in a bottle that keeps it cold and typically have a fancy “lady’s fan” to fan myself in public. Hey…why do you think the ladies did it back in the “corset” days…they had hot flashes AND tight clothes on their bodies…and, I’ll never forget the spanx-attack!
Healthy eating, less drinking, more relaxing…
Definitely, things eased up a LITTLE when I started on a healthier path to eating. A glass of wine, though I still enjoy them, can bring on a flash! More weight on my body made it worse and losing weight, definitely helped. So…being a little more cognizant of what you put in your body during menopause can surely make a difference…it doesn’t stop it…but it helps. Regular sleep is a MUST but if on the night’s I can’t sleep for the life of me, taking care of myself and relaxing during the day, really helps.
Breezy days, dressing in layers, ice, water, and healthy living…all have gone a long way to helping me push through the symptoms of menopause. Also…knowing it’s a “natural” part of aging despite it feeling FAR from natural…and knowing that several friends are going through it at the same time so we can commiserate and laugh together…helps.
OK…not at all!
BONUS…Ask for HELP if things get bad!
My bonus tip, while the above things worked to some degree to help combat the hot flashes…when things got super bad, I chatted with my naturopath and started taking Estrovera…a plant-based supplement that’s been around for 20 years.
It doesn’t work for everyone and it’s not taken the flashes away completely…but it’s definitely reduced them from 8-10 a day…to more like 2…and the night sweats have reduced dramatically!
There are many medications and supplements available to help you through menopause…a little research and a chat with your naturopath could make a HUGE difference as you work through the symptoms.
For all of your “female” health concerns…whether you’re trying to have a baby, dealing with menstrual pain, fighting hot flashes, and more…I highly recommend you follow Dr. Ashley and listen to her SuperWoman Code Podcast.
Ashley has helped me tremendously as I’ve manoeuvered my way through this journey…mostly…letting me know that I’m not in this alone!
Disclosure: My health and wellness journey is sponsored by the amazing folks at Cornerstone Naturopathic. The entire team at the clinic is working with me to get my life back on track! We’ve approached everything from a health perspective…with the weight loss being a massive bonus. I feel good. Better than I have felt in years. Cornerstone is truly in my corner…they want me to succeed and are giving me the tools I need to get there. The Doctors and staff have been a wealth of knowledge and even greater cheerleaders through this journey. My success…is their success as well. If you’re looking for a lifestyle change…check them out. While I’m partnering with them on the blog…all opinions are my own.