Coping with Hot Flashes

Coping with Hot Flashes

Is your spouse pulling up the covers while you’re kicking them off? If you’re a woman between the ages of 40 and 50 (and in some cases even younger) you may be experiencing the onset of menopause. In menopause the levels of estrogen in your body drop. This decrease is thought to cause hot flashes (also known as night sweats). When you have a hot flash, it feels as if part or all of your body is suddenly warm. A temperature that felt fine just moments ago can quickly become uncomfortable once a hot flash begins.

Insomnia is another symptom of menopause, so when you get a hot flash at night, it can make your insomnia worse. Since hot flashes can last for many years, it is important to find ways to cope.

Wearing one thick layer of clothing in cool weather may feel comfortable for a while, but it can be unbearably warm once a hot flash starts. If you dress in layers, you can adjust your clothing to match how warm you feel. Another trick is to use a bedside fan at night. A small fan can be directed your way without freezing out your partner. Diet can also make a difference. Try to avoid caffeine, spicy foods and alcohol, especially before bedtime, as these can trigger hot flashes.