What does a menopausal hot flush feel like?
If you don’t know, Google it…well read this first and then Google it!
Here’s a snippet from the UK NHS website …
…”women often describe a hot flush as a creeping feeling of intense warmth that quickly spreads across your whole body and face ‘right up to your brow’ and which lasts for several minutes.”
If you’ve actually had one, that little description is NOT cutting it for me either, my lovely! “Creeping feeling of intense warmth”, yeah right!
I’d like to throw in my own experience at almost 50 and I’d love for YOU to share yours.
My Menopausal Hot Flushes
Anyone who reads my stuff regularly will know my hot flushes have been erratic.
I had a few mild ones a day from October 2014 to January 2015.
I had a few a day from October 2015 to January 2016 – sometimes mild, occasionally fiery furnace. My worst nightmare was a full on almost literal melt-down in Multiyork talking to a very nice lady about replacement covers whilst stripping of more and more layers of clothes. She must have been relieved I stopped at my long vest top and leggings! In December.
From late Spring until now they have ranged from easily manageable to full-on, call the Fire Brigade. I one or two a day on average, maybe one overnight at the moment.
They are worse on hot days (I’m glad in a way when summer is gone!), when eating hot food, after alcohol and rich foods or sugar. Spices don’t seem to make that much difference.
I have a theory that they’re changeable to test my own knowledge and determination as well as my patience. Because every time they seem to get worse, I try new strategies to manage them back down with super self-care and natural therapies.
I almost used other words…words like “squash them down” and “winning the battle against hot flushes”, but that’s not really how I feel.
They are part of me. It’s menopause. They are part of growing (b)older. Part of a natural transition. In traditional cultures, they’d be seen as part of becoming a Wise Woman, an elder.
I wouldn’t exactly say I embrace them – nah, that’s taking it just TOO far. But I don’t want to “fight” part of myself. Life’s tough enough, as it is. And I’m a lover not a fighter.
What Do MY Hot Flushes Feel Like?
A hot flush always start the same way. I can feel them “brewing”. I start to feel a little heat in my face and neck, like the schoolgirl blushes of my youth when my fave crush talked to me.
If only they stopped there!
A “mild” hot flush will get stronger until my face feels like it’s throbbing slightly, I start to “glow” or shine and I flush deep pink.
A quick “fan”, maybe taking off my cardi, opening a window and some deep breathing sees those ones off. I could almost call those the “tropical moments” or “power surges” of cliches. Probably some people wouldn’t notice much.
Humdinger Hot Flush
A humdinger hot flush is a different story.
Schoolgirl blush gives way to a face like a massive red balloon- no ladylike “glow” just the “horsey” sweating of that old saying. These bad boys need more than a discreet dab of a tissue. People notice, people.
I can feel my heart beating in my chest like an old washing machine travelling the floor. Sometimes I feel faint, sometimes a little panicky…could be the flush itself or the gut-wrenching embarrassment if I’m with other people. Think Multiyork. Part of me thinks I shouldn’t be embarrassed …it’s as natural as puberty or pregnancy, after all.
Again, I take off layers. I furiously “fan”. I open windows or go outside. Breathe deeply. I run my wrists under icy cold water. A couple of minutes and they subside. Those couple of minutes can sometimes seem like a hideous half hour.
And what of nasty night sweats?
Mostly, mine have become a bit like when you’re just hot in bed and you want to shove your feet and legs out to cool off. Thank goodness. Maybe I reach for my trusty bedside box of dabbing tissues if my face starts to get a bit sweaty. I can get back to sleep after.
But I have known a couple of full-on “someone stuck a lighted torch up my nightie” ones – sweat dripping, hot, red, shaking.
The kind where you jump under a cold shower and strip the bed to change it.
The kind when you can understand those strange Skandanavians who go out naked in icy conditions after a hot sauna. I haven’t by the way.
That only happened a couple of times.
I’m managing my menopause now pretty well, on a cocktail of homeopathic remedies, supplements, herbs and great self-care with good food choices and lifestyle habits. Following my own advice really. Except maybe the 80/20 rule of living very healthily 80% has become more like 90%. I kinda know that if I drink alcohol or eat rich or sugary foods, I’ll pay a price. I had to give things up.
I’d love to hear how YOU’RE managing your menopause OR tell me about YOUR hot flushes in your own words.
Leave me a comment, please.
Love, Kathy x
P.S If my gorgeous flushing friend who lends me her actual fan when we go out for a cheeky prosecco is reading, thanks chick. We’re still smokin’ hot after all these years!