When Will The Hot Flashes End?

by NanciArvizu

Hot flashes, a symptom of menopausal hormonal changes, plague millions of women, lasting anywhere from a few months to years. Where does a woman find relief?

It starts in my chest, like a sparkler has been lit and it's burning fast, right out my limbs like lightning. My body has gone from perfectly comfortable to on fire and covered in sweat. Not a fine, dainty layer of mist, but rivers of water pouring down my legs into my slippers.

Then it's over and the water on my body is now making me cold. It doesn't help that less than 10 seconds ago I took my shirt off, so more of my skin is exposed. I struggle to get my cold wet arms back into my shirt.

Just as I get the shirt untangled and attempt to catch my breath, the sparkler is lit again.

This is how breakfast goes. While incredibly entertaining for my husband, it's exhausting and frustrating for me. I'm already tired and I haven't been up for an hour.

The Things I've Tried To Stop Hot Flashes

The options vary depending on your preferences.

Deciding what to do about menopausal hormone changes depends on many factors.

With the advent of pharmaceutical hormones it is possible to prolong a woman's' cycle of fertility, keeping menopause at bay. The reasons a woman would choose to continue menstruating range from vanity, wanting to "stay young", to actual medical reasons. I say "actual" because there should be a real medical, life and death reason for keeping a woman's body from moving into its next phase, naturally.

Women who chose Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) face possible consequences down the road. But when the symptoms of menopause are happening "right now", possible consequences down the road don't mean very much.

For women who go the natural route, there is help. It just takes a little more effort than taking a pill, rubbing cream on your wrists or having a "pellet" inserted into your body.

Work Out Daily

Getting and staying fit first place to start

If your overall health is not good, trying to fix your hormones will not work. Your body is made to work together as a whole; if one part isn't doing it's job, the other parts can't do theirs.

Being overweight and out of shape makes it harder for your body to do it's jobs: Breathing, pumping blood, nerves, bones, ligaments. That's a lot to do! Having excess fat hanging around pushes the bones, nerves and ligaments out of the places they're supposed to be, causing pain. 

Think about it like this: Your body is a skyscraper, with a frame. Your bones are the frame. They need to touch in certain places and be held together in other places by ligaments, tendons and muscles. When those muscles are strong, they support the ligaments and tendons (and visa versa), keeping the bones (frame) where they need to be.

Adding 30 pounds of fat is going to take the space originally held by the worker fibers (muscles, tendon and ligaments). Fat is not a worker fiber, it is just fat. It hangs on the worker fibers like a drunk friend at the end of a night of partying, making it hard to work. The worker fibers become irritated (inflammation) and fatigued from having to their job AND drag around the fat. Hips, knees and feet give up and suddenly you find yourself limping. 

Taking care of your body is the first place to start. Just 20 minutes a day, everyday, will make a big difference in any body's health. Take the dog for a walk or lace up your running shoes and go for a run. Start slow, but start now. Within weeks not only will be pounds be melting away, but the hot flashes could also be toning down.

Personally, I found I needed a 40 minute workout that included 20 minutes on the elliptical and 20 minutes of using the universal lifting equipment, 4 - 6 times a week. After a few weeks the intensity and frequency of my hot flashes had diminished enough I could at least sleep through most nights. Which was a much needed improvement.

 

Books About Menopause

No shortage of information and stories about menopause

Reading Up On Menopause

So much information and dis-information

There are a lot of good books out there about menopause. Most of them are written by women and tell their story of how they navigated "the change" in their own lives. These are the stories I enjoy reading - a woman's perspective and experience. To walk in the shoes, or at least along side, of women who have made it through the craziness of menopause, let's me know I'm not alone. 

And there are books by doctors who study the subject and practice what they study on their patients. Remember, being a doctor means practicing medicine. Many of these books are good. But in my world, it is very difficult for me to read anything about menopause written by a male doctor. But that's just me.

The interesting thing about all this research is that no two women experience exactly the same thing when going through menopause. The symptoms - hot flashes, mood swings, sex issues, body changes, memory, attitude - every woman is different. Which makes it hard to pinpoint exactly what every woman needs. This makes it even harder to find what will work for each woman. 

**Funny - men complain they can never figure a woman out. Turns out, neither can women. No matter what I try, I'm constantly "tweaking" it to work for me!**

Supplements

Take at your own risk

READ LABELS

Do your research!

Visit the isles of any health, vitamin or drug store and you'll find an entire section dedicated to the hormonal change women experience. But the fact that there is a shelf or two full of bottled up "help" should be a warning: This stuff might not work, for you or at all.

Remember! What works for one woman probably won't work for another. And one pill, ointment or cream usually won't be the one silver bullet to solve the problem. Women will have to "experiment" year to year as their hormones adjust, sometimes having to change the doses, medications or methods several times a year to find and keep finding what works as hormones continue to change. Yes, that's right - you might find something that works for a while then stops working and you're back at square one.

Another fun fact: Menopause affects memory! So good luck remembering to take the supplements you've research, purchased and promised yourself you'd remember to take. (HAhahahaha!! Wait... what was I laughing about? Yes, it happens that quickly. Reminds me, I need to go take my supplements.)

But seriously, read the labels. So-called natural remedies can have all kinds of non-natural ingredients  and/or ingredients menopausal women should not have. DO YOUR RESEARCH!

Think About Your Thyroid

The mother-gland is not happy

The Thyroid gland is the most important - and the most poisoned - gland in our bodies. Once you start to learn about the Thyroid gland, how daily life is destroying it and how to care for it, you will be shocked. It is so easy to kill it. It is so easy to get and keep it healthy.

Well, maybe it's not so easy. If you brush your teeth with Fluoride toothpaste using "city" water, you're poisoning your thyroid. First thing in the morning, last thing at night, day after day. 

If you've been "warned" to stay off of salt and you don't put the shaker on the table but you still eat canned food, you're poisoning your thyroid. 

STOP POISONING YOUR THYROID!

The Hormone Zone, by Dr. Robinson is an intimidating looking book. It's thick and it's about the Thyroid. But I promise you, once you start reading it, you won't be able to put it down. And if you follow its advice, it will change your life. And your hormones. 

Cold Towels For Hot Flashes

I found these to be a life saver

Cooling towels have been my number one go to for hot flashes at night. 

I keep mine by my bed, in its handy keeper tube and when the sparkler goes off I lay the towel down the length of my body. It stays cool without being too cold, and it wicks away the sweat. 

I keep one in my purse. It makes sense during the heat of the Arizona summers, especially if you have to be outside. Having access to something cold for the body makes it a little easier to endure.

I wish I could have sheets made out of this stuff. What ever it is, it's wonderful and I thank the person who came up with the Cool Towel from the bottom of my hot and sweaty heart.

Your Journey Is Your Journey

Don't let a doctor stuff you into a box

If you're experiencing the symptoms of menopause and not finding relief - DO NOT GIVE UP! Do not allow a doctor to tell you "you'll get over it." (Especially if you are seeing a male doctor. FIRST - Go See A Female Doctor!!) Yes, in many women the effects of menopause will eventually pass. But there are just as many women who will experience hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause for decades, if not the rest of their lives. 

My journey continues. I've been experiencing this change for over four years. I spent almost 3 of those years on HRT's, not realizing the other things I was experiencing were being caused by the HRT's. 

Then I had a moment where all the lines crossed: I'd cleaned up my diet and had been "fixing" my thyroid. I needed to lose weight which meant being committed to a consistent exercise program. I'd run out of my HRT cream during a trip and hadn't reordered it. I stopped using the HRT and got on the elliptical machine. 

Within 2 months I lost 10 pounds. Seven months later I'd lost 50 pounds and dropped from a size 14 to a size 6 jean. The hot flashes - the worst symptom of menopause I was experiencing - subsided dramatically. They were still happening, just not as frequently or ferociously. Another upside to having lost all the weight is the decrease in daily aches and pains that have also plagued me for years. Less pressure on the frame.

It is, however, a day by day program. Every day I have the choice of working out or not - knowing if I don't, the hot flashes will return and I might not sleep through the night. I understand the consequences and do my best to do the right thing for my health.

When will it end for me? Who knows? It could be over today (wouldn't that be wonderful....) or it could last until I'm 90. I can't imagine me, at 90, still taking my shirt off at breakfast. Now there's something to look forward to!

Articles By Nanci Arvizu

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Updated: 07/22/2015, NanciArvizu
 
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