First, the good news, according to a report in the ‘Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin’ * up to 70 per cent 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 per 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 ads in print and on the telly box, that say in miniscule text ‘70% of 38 women tested, agreed…’ I just say if it works for you, keep on doing it and then 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 it doesn’t stop me 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 and I sleep with the windows open, I’d rather wake at 4am 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 a joke when I feel a flush coming on, we all chime in with, ‘I’m melting, I’m melting!’ But it’s not so funny during the day.
I tried to figure out what triggers these ‘melting moments’ that burn up my face and body – someone saw me during a flush in the summer and thought I was badly sunburned, I just went with it. Certain odours, yes; a smoker walking by me, a strong perfume; hot drinks, cold or hot air, or simply, nothing at all.
I appreciate that 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 a small bottle of water. Even better if it’s ice-cold, you can wrap your hands around it.
- Get a ‘tower fan’ for night-time coolness.
- Go with it, the more self-conscious you feel, the worse and longer the flush will last.
- Try and ‘ride’ the storm. Bear in mind that it WILL usually vanish as suddenly as it appears.
- Don’t slap on more make-up, it will do the opposite of what you want and emphasize the flush.