Not So Hot Flashes

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Not So Hot Flashes, Ellen Dolgen, The Three Tomatoes

It is summertime, and things are supposed to be heating up. That being said, if you’re on your computer, sitting at your desk with the air conditioning blasting and find yourself looking like you just ran a 10K, you may be experiencing the not-so-hot hot flashes of perimenopause and menopause.

You are not alone! 85% of women approaching menopause in the U.S.A. experience hot flashes of some kind, which can be caused by hormonal fluctuations. There is no “one size fits all” for the timing, duration, frequency or pattern of menopausal hot flashes.  All shmirshkies are unique.

I think hot flashes and Tampax are oddly similar.  They come in light, medium and heavy. You may experience a hot flush of warmth spreading through your upper body and face, or your face can appear red & blotchy. In the case of many shmirshkies, you can suddenly find yourself in bed at night, dripping wet, ripping off your jammies and staring at a pile of soaking wet sheets and your heart racing. Sleepless and anxiety-ridden, you may be gazing across your bed, trying to find your partner who is bundled up with extra blankets struggling to handle your thermostat selection of 65 degrees.

So what’s a shmirshky to do?????

First, find a perimenopause and menopause specialist.  Would you go to a dentist for your yearly pap smear?  Of course, not! Likewise, be sure that you see a specialist for menopause (this might take some real effort to find, but it is critical and well worth it and may not be your current OBGYN). You can talk with your specialist about hormone therapy and some of the other options out there so that you get the help you deserve. Below are a few other remedies you can try on your own:

Know the Triggers – It’s good to be aware of some of the typical hot flash instigators. Here’s a short list: alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods, stress, hot weather, smoking, saunas, and tight clothes!  It’s okay – take a breath. Breathing is not on the list! You can try to start eliminating some of these triggers one at a time to see if that helps alleviate your symptoms.

Acupuncture – Some shmirshkies find they get a tremendous amount of help from qualified acupuncturists.

Exercise – Exercising increases your endorphin levels, usually adding to a feeling of well-being. Exercise helps reduce stress levels and supports general wellness.

Reduce Stress – Any of the typical remedies for de-stressing one’s life such as meditation, yoga, biofeedback techniques, and maybe even massage, might prove helpful.

My motto is: KISS – KEEP IT SIMPLE SHMIRSHKY! If you find that you need to go on hormone therapy, do not worry, Shmirshky: the pursuit of hormone happiness is your menopause Cliffs Notes!  You will find some vocab words that you need to familiarize yourself with such as:  synthetic, natural and bioidentical hormones defined in layshmirshky terms. Check out pages 65-76 in Chapter Fifteen, “to hrt or not to hrt?”. There is a Shmirshky Daily Symptoms Chart on pages 168-69 to help you chart your flashes/flushes and the 34 menopause symptoms you might be experiencing. Take your completed chart with you to your specialist so that you can receive the individualized care you deserve.    Also, on pages 154-55, you will find a “hormone therapy menu” which explains the types of hormone therapy that are available. Finally, drum roll please………we have a “hormone therapy brand” chart (pages 156-60). If your perimenopause and menopause specialist does recommend hormone therapy, you can look up the prescription to make sure that you are taking bioidentical hormones.

Most importantly, ease your mind and chill out! You CAN find hormone happiness! I did!

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