The Perimenopausal Homeschooler:: Hot Flashes

Welcome to The Perimenopausal Homeschooler series! Here I share with my readers some of my favorite tips for homeschooling and taking care of young children despite those lovely perimenopausal symptoms. At least when I remember. {wink, wink} If you're new to this series, you may want to start here.

 

 

Perimenopausal Homeschooler- Hot Flashes

 

Hot flashes. The mere mention of these words can strike fear and dread in the hearts of women in their thirties and forties. Hot flashes. Ugh.

 

 

I first discovered that I was in the throes of perimenopause at the ripe old age of thirty-four. I was reading a book that included lots of testimonials from women who had gone through menopause extra early. One of the women said that her flashes were not like hot flashes—the kind you always hear about with the aura and the sudden profuse sweating—but more like hot flushes. She would suddenly feel very warm, need to peel off her cardigan, and then ten minutes later get cold and need to put the cardigan back on.
 

It was like a bolt of lightning! Not only was I having nighttime wakefulness, but I was also having hot flashes. Even more shocking, I think I had been having them for about 7 years! I had been doing the cardigan thing since I was 27 or 28 years old. As a former cold-all-the-time person, this was not normal. I no longer wore regular sweaters. I only wore cardigans, because I knew I would get hot and need to peel that baby off.
 

I was met with a flood of emotions. Somehow we have equated perimenopause with getting old. At 34 years old, I was suddenly trying to figure out how I was old and how to handle it. This was especially challenging since I had a newly-turned one year old.
 

Then I found the wonderful book~ The Change Before the Change. I really feel like this book has been a life-saver for me. Dr. Corio explains all the symptoms, and she also explains why they are happening. Somehow, the knowledge hound in me is comforted when I understand the biological processes behind what is happening.
 

Once I understood that my body was not making quite as much estrogen as it used to, which was leaving estrogen receptors in my body empty and then wreaking confusion on my poor temperature regulating system, I felt much better about the whole situation. I don’t know why this helped me, but I’ll take it.
 

I also learned that perimenopause is thought to be a process that can take 10 to 15 years. Whew! So these symptoms didn’t mean that I was old! They only meant that my body is once again changing. We women should be used to changing bodies and changing hormones. It’s kind of our normal state.
 

I just needed to figure out how to live without being hot all the time. After all, it was the hot flushes at night that were waking me and prompting the nighttime wakefulness.

 

Dr. Corio’s List of Things To Avoid:

Spicy foods, especially ones containing the active ingredient in chili peppers
Chocolate (I know.)
Lemon
Hot liquids
Caffeinated drinks
MSG
Sodium nitrate- found in cured meats, like hot dogs, bacon, salami, ham

 

The hot flashes did change a few years later. Now when I have hot flashes, they are like hot flashes—sudden sweatiness and all. I found that if I had any sort of caffeine (excluding chocolate) I would be hot flash-y the rest of the day. If I had it late in the afternoon, I wouldn’t be able to sleep and have hot flashes all night.
 

Sometimes I even have to avoid my hot cup of herbal tea before bed. Sometimes I am a rebel and make my bedtime herbal tea anyway—but I drink it once is has completely cooled.

 

Dr. Corio’s List of Helpful Things:

Vitamin E
B Vitamins
Evening Primrose Oil
Black Cohosh (Remifemin)
Soy
Exercise
Having S*x

 

I don’t have time here to elaborate on each of these helpful items. (I would urge you to find a copy of the book. Unfortunately, it’s out of print. I’d put it on a wishlist at Half.com.) However, I will say that all of the things on this list help me tons.
 

I have also found other small, practical helps for when the hot flash hits me.

 

Cold water!

Drink it. Splash it on your neck. Run it on your wrists. Carry around a small wet cloth. It’s God’s little wonder-worker.

 

Be armed!

I wear only cotton clothing. I have found that if my clothing has any synthetic fabrics in it (like nylon or spandex), I am going to be hot all the time. I have to be especially careful of sleepwear.
 

I wear short sleeved shirts and a cardigan. Very often I am not even wearing the cardigan when I am out somewhere, but I have it along in case I get cool.
 

Stress can provoke hot flashes. I found that when I was in charge of our Women’s Bible Study, all of my scurrying around getting all the details ready for our meetings would always result in hot flashes. When I made sure to wear light clothing and try to give myself lots of time (no hurrying around), then I could get through the evening without becoming a sweaty mess.

 

Alcohol!
 

No, I don’t mean the kind of alcohol that you drink! I mean regular rubbing alcohol. For those times when you can’t head off a hot flash and you have just sweated your deodorant right off, rubbing alcohol on the arm pits will kill the germs that are trying to make you stink. Yep.
 

In the pharmacy section, you can often buy little individually packaged alcohol wipes. They are often with the diabetic supplies. I carry these in my purse to use when the sweat sneaks up on me. I also carry one of the small size bottles of body spray—not quite perfume, just a light scent. These usually contain alcohol. I use one spray in each arm pit. Kills the stink and applies some lovely smell, too.
 

These are just a few of the things that have helped me live through hot flashes over the last 9 years. I hope some of them will help you, too. If you don’t need the tips now, store them in your brain. You may need them someday.
 

 

What have you found helpful for surviving hot flashes?

 

 

If you have any questions about managing life or homeschooling in the midst of perimenopause, please leave your question in the comments.We can share with one another the things that we have found helpful, or not so helpful. There's power in numbers, ladies!
 

Come back in 4 weeks for the next Perimenopausal Homeschooler post, or subscribe and I'll send it straight to your inbox.
 

photo credit

2 thoughts on “The Perimenopausal Homeschooler:: Hot Flashes

  1. Great series. I’m not quite there yet but every several months I get a weird hot flash, like just my ears or face. It’s just in a spot. Not sure if its hormonal related or not. I was able to find this book available right now on paperback swap (there’s a button on my sidebar if you’re not familiar) and requested it. Better to be informed before I need it.

  2. You can add the following:
    A purse pack water spray – always available
    A hand-held fan (the small battery operated fans are the best)
    Wearing natural fabrics
    Dressing in layers in the winter (you can strip off quite a few before becoming socially unacceptable)
    Panty liners (for those moments of uncontrolled laughter)
    Tweezers – for the start of the beard and moustache!
    I’m safely in post-menopause now although I’m STILL going through a permanent heat-wave!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge