Conquering Hot Flashes: A Summer Survival Guide

 In this article, we’ll share lifestyle tips and tricks to stay cool and comfortable all summer long so that hot flashes don’t ruin your summer fun.

Hot flashes – those sudden surges of heat that can leave you feeling flushed and sweaty – are a common symptom for women going through perimenopause and menopause. Hot flashes are more than just a passing annoyance – they can disrupt your sleep, leave you feeling self-conscious, and put a damper on your summer fun. But don’t despair! By understanding the cause of hot flashes and making some simple lifestyle changes, you can take control and stay cool even during the hottest months.

The culprit behind hot flashes is a fluctuating estrogen level. Estrogen helps regulate your internal thermostat and keeps your body temperature in a comfortable range. During perimenopause and menopause, estrogen levels can dip, causing your body to struggle to maintain a stable temperature. This leads to the uncomfortable sensation of sudden bursts of heat, followed by chills and sweating.

While hot flashes are difficult to eliminate entirely, there are several lifestyle changes you can adopt to help find some relief. Let’s dive into some simple yet effective ways to keep you cool and comfortable all summer long.

Dress for Success: Ditch the clingy clothes! By opting for loose-fitting, breathable clothing made from natural fibers like cotton or linen, your skin can breathe better which in turn will keep you cooler. Make sure to also avoid synthetic fabrics, like nylon or polyester, which can trap heat against your skin and worsen hot flashes. Consider layering or keeping a lightweight scarf or cardigan handy for environments with air conditioning or in the evening when temperatures drop slightly. For example, wear a lightweight tank top with a flowy kimono or a breathable cardigan you can easily remove when needed.

Hydration is Key: Drinking plenty of cool water throughout the day is essential for regulating your body temperature and preventing dehydration. Dehydration can worsen hot flashes, so aim for eight glasses of water or more daily, especially on hot days. Adding a few slices of cucumber, lemon, or watermelon is a simple way to add a refreshing twist and provide extra hydration with a “spa-like” feel. For more inspiration, check out Taste of Home’s list of 23 Infused Water Ideas for some fancy recipes that will help you hit your water quota each day. For a cool and satisfying refreshment, you can also try beverages like unsweetened iced tea or flavored sparkling water or treats like frozen yogurt. It’s best to steer clear of sugary drinks and excessive caffeine, which can dehydrate you and potentially worsen hot flashes.

Create a Cool Sleep Oasis: A comfortable sleep environment is crucial for managing hot flashes, especially during the summer. Lower your thermostat at night to a comfortable temperature (around 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit) and consider using a fan to circulate cool air to beat the night sweats. You can also invest in breathable bed sheets made from fabrics like bamboo or linen, which are naturally cooling and moisture-wicking, helping you stay comfortable throughout the night. A cooling pillow which uses water or gel technology to keep your head and neck cool can also be a great investment.

Say No to Spicy Foods: Spicy foods can trigger hot flashes in some women. Capsaicin, the compound that gives chili peppers their kick, can also raise your body temperature. If you notice a connection between spicy meals and hot flashes, limit or eliminate spicy foods from your diet. You can consider using milder herbs and spices to add flavor to your dishes, like turmeric, cumin, or smoked paprika that can add complexity to your dishes, but without the heat.

Embrace Relaxation Techniques: To help manage stress and potentially reduce hot flash frequency, incorporate relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises into your daily routine. Meditation can help calm your mind and body, while yoga can increase mind-body awareness and help regulate your internal thermostat. Deep breathing exercises are a convenient solution that can be done anywhere, anytime. Deep breathing is also a quick and effective way to reduce stress and bring your body temperature down during a hot flash. Simply find a quiet place, close your eyes, and take slow, deep breaths through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth. If you’d like to practice something more structured, check out specific deep breathing exercises like the 4-7-8 technique or box-breathing.

Seek Expert Advice: Your Axia Women’s Health provider is a valuable resource when it comes to managing hot flashes. If lifestyle adjustments simply aren’t cutting it, it may be worth exploring other herbal supplements or prescription treatments such as:

Schedule a consultation with your Axia Women’s Health provider to explore your options – they can partner with you to find the best solution tailored to your individual needs and medical history.

Remember, you’re not alone! Hot flashes can be a frustrating part of perimenopause and menopause, and even though many women experience them, they don’t have to rule your life. By making some simple lifestyle changes and talking to your doctor about your options, you can find a personalized treatment plan to find relief and stay cool during the summer and beyond.

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