First, the good news, according to a report in the ‘Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin’ * up to 70% of menopausal women will experience symptoms such as hot flushes and night sweats which will last, on average, for around four years. The bad news is that in up to 10% of women, these symptoms can last more than twelve years. Twelve years. I’ll get the gun now, shall I?
Various studies have also shown that there’s no conclusive evidence that popular herbal remedies for hot flushes and night sweats such as sage, red clover, or black cohosh have been proven to be particularly effective, and in the case of black cohosh, there may even be a liver toxicity problem. Great.
Then again, I’m not entirely convinced by any studies; what about those hair and wrinkle cream adverts in print and on TV, that say in minuscule text, ‘70% of 38 women tested, agreed…’ I just say if it works for you, keep on doing it, but share it with the rest of the class.
Night sweats I can cope with. Unpleasant yes, but you’re in your own home and you have a degree of control, plus no one can see you. Although this doesn’t stop me from waking my husband up to moan and groan about how hot I am.
I get through 3 x 500ml bottles of water each night as my mouth is so dry I feel like I’m going to smother. I sleep with the windows open, I’d rather wake at 4 am freezing than drenched in sweat.
When I get hot at home – I’m expecting lower than average heating bills this winter, I’ve told the rest of the family to wear jumpers. We have an ‘in’ joke when I feel a flush coming on. They all chime in with, ‘I’m melting, I’m melting!’ But it’s not quite so funny during the day.
I have tried to figure out what triggers these ‘melting moments’ that burn up my face and body. I bumped into a friend during a particularly unpleasant hot flush in the summer and she thought I had been badly sunburned, I just went with it.
My personal triggers include certain odours: A smoker walking by me, someone wearing a strong perfume, having hot drinks, cold or hot air, or simply, and sadly nothing at all. No trigger, no warning.
I do appreciate and understand why a lot of women swear by HRT ‘Hormone Replacement Therapy’ and trials show it IS effective, but it’s not a route I want to go down until I’ve researched it thoroughly, which I am doing.
- Always carry at least one small bottle of water. Even better if it’s chilled. Place your wrists either side of the bottle and it will immediately bring your body temperature down. A chilled bottle at the side of your next works as well.
- Loose comfortable clothing, preferably layered and made of natural fibres.
- Use a fan at night, but double the benefit by placing a cold wet cloth (I use a clean tea towel) over legs, arms, or forehead. The air from the fan meets the wet cloth to instantly cool you down.
- Go with it, the more self-conscious you feel about the rising redness, the worse and longer, the flush will last.
- Try to ‘ride’ the storm. It’s hard, but keep in mind that these flushes will usually vanish as suddenly as they appeared. Hold onto that thought and try to trick your brain.
- Don’t apply more make-up, it will do the opposite of what you want and emphasize the flush and make skin look cakey.
- However, if the flush just won’t go away – and this is something it took me a long time to figure out. Apply more blusher. It’s as if you were meant to look like this!