You’ve certainly heard friends share hot flash horror stories about sticking their heads in freezers to cool down, sweating through their sheets at night, and failed efforts to cover up sweat stains. Yes, hot flashes are an uncomfortable part of menopause, but dealing with hot flashes doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Knowing what may bring one on—and what you can do if a hot flash starts—can help you stay prepared for the worst. And if you’re having hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms, a conversation with your doctor about treatment options may help you feel like yourself again.
Hot Flash Essentials
As you probably already know, hot flashes are sudden feelings of intense warmth that usually radiate to your face, neck, and chest. Hot flashes can be unpredictable, and they may vary in intensity or frequency. Your skin may turn red, and you may sweat a lot.
Experts believe they’re caused by certain hormonal changes women experience during the menopausal transition. It’s impossible to predict just how long you’ll have to deal with hot flashes, but symptoms can last for seven years or longer, according to Mayo Clinic.
Hot Flash Triggers
Over time, you may realize certain environmental or dietary factors trigger your hot flashes. Taking steps to identify and avoid potential triggers may help lessen your hot flash symptoms. Cleveland Clinic identifies common hot flash triggers as:
- Hot weather
- Spicy foods
- Tight clothing
Additionally, taking steps to limit your exposure to heat, such as avoiding exercise in hot weather, may lower your risk of having a hot flash.
Dealing with Hot Flashes
Even your best efforts may not prevent hot flashes from occurring, and it can be embarrassing to have a hot flash in public, even if you know other women have been there. But you can plan ahead for hot flashes and take steps to keep as cool as possible.
Try to dress in layers you can easily remove so, if a hot flash starts, you can shed as much clothing as possible. Carrying a portable fan and a bottle of cold water can help you handle a hot flash like a pro. Also, avoiding those previously mentioned triggers can help reduce your likelihood of having a hot flash.
Other Menopause Symptoms
As if hot flashes weren’t bad enough, many women experience other symptoms that are downright unpleasant. For some, discomfort caused by menopause can make intimacy painful or even impossible. Fortunately, MonaLisa Touch® may help relieve some of the more troublesome symptoms of menopause. Your doctor will determine if this treatment is right for you based on your personal medical history and unique symptoms.
Hot flashes—and other menopause symptoms—may be a part of life, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer. If you’ve tried handling menopause symptoms on your own and you’re still experiencing discomfort, ask your doctor about other treatment options. With your doctor’s help, you can find the treatment that’s just right for you.