If you find yourself rushing for the nearest fan to calm a sudden surge of heat, you’re likely experiencing hot flashes. An estimated 75-80% of perimenopausal women experience these sudden rushes of heat. Though it’s common for hot flashes to last up to a year, some women report having them for a decade or longer.
You may notice hot flashes come in waves, which happens because menopause isn’t a static state. Even if your period completely stops for years, your hormones are still in flux. So let’s take a look at why we experience hot flashes, what makes them worse, and how we can alleviate symptoms.
Women’s Intimate Wellness During Menopause: Why Do I Get Hot Flashes?
Hot flashes are sudden bursts of hot skin that last anywhere from 30 seconds to five minutes. Night sweats are hot flashes that occur during sleep. During a hot flash, your face and neck may flush, your heart rate may increase, and you’ll likely start dripping sweat.
When it comes to women’s menopausal health, as previously mentioned, up to 80% of perimenopausal women will experience hot flashes to some degree. A percentage of those women experience hot flashes severe enough to disrupt daily life. If you find hot flashes impairing everyday activities, it’s essential to speak with your healthcare provider. Medical experts haven’t pinpointed the exact cause of why our bodies boil over, but research suggests it may be a mix of hormone changes and circulation issues.
What Makes My Hot Flashes Worse?
Though your changing hormones may be the only cause of hot flashes, several lifestyle factors come into play. Things like increased stress and anxiety, excess weight gain, and underlying health issues can increase the length and intensity of hot flashes.
But you can adopt several healthy habits to help control and even prevent hot flashes. Here’s what we suggest:
Maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight increases your likelihood of experiencing hot flashes and night sweats during perimenopause and menopause. Talk with your healthcare provider if you feel you carry excess weight.
Stay cool in bed. When you sleep, your body temperature drops. The heat you lose gets trapped inside your bedding. Switch to breathable bedding and lightweight pajamas. Also, keep your room temperature around 67-degrees.
Dump bad habits. Smoking, excess alcohol consumption and processed foods can cause an increase in hot flashes. Increase your produce intake, swap out alcohol for hot tea and water, and talk with your doctor about smoking cessation if you need to quit smoking.
Move daily. Staying active during the day helps you regulate your body temperature. Daily exercise looks different for everyone, so choose an activity that suits you best.
Joylux offers a variety of resources for maintaining menopausal wellness in women - check out our blog to find more educational articles & tips for easing into a new stage of life, or take our menopause quiz to find out what stage of menopause you may be in.