Ah, hot flushes. The source of a many a menopause joke.
“When I asked for a smoking hot body, this is not what I had in mind”(Source unknown)
As I write this, it is the 5 July and I have been awake since 3am struggling with night sweats. It’s a humid night. One minute I’m chucking off the covers to cool off. The next I’m freezing and needing all my covers to warm me up again. (I always find I’m much colder after a flush than I was before it came on).
I gave up on sleep and decided to write about the delights instead.
The first time I experienced hot flushes was Christmas Day 2014. We were celebrating the big day at my step-sister’s. She likes the cold. My dad likes the heat. So all day, I thought they were independently turning the thermostat up and down.
It wasn’t until 9pm that night that I learned the truth. The whole family was gathered in the living room watching TV. And I experienced the flush of heat, from the pit of my being, that I would soon recognise as the start of a flush. No-one had moved for over an hour. Yet here I was overheating. It wasn’t the house thermostat being tinkered with. It was my own internal one going haywire.
And as these flushes became more common, I realised at the tender age of 45, I had hit the menopause.
I’ve never had children, preferring in my younger days to support my friends who did. But it is still a little disconcerting to realise your “baby making” days are numbered when you have friends giving birth literally within weeks of your first hot flush.
I have spent my whole life struggling with the cold. My Dad always liked a warm house. So, anywhere else always felt cold to me. Warm summers are a joy, not having to don jumpers, fleeces, socks and boots to keep warm. I’ve never enjoyed winter. Too dark, too wet and far too cold.
These days though, I have to consider wearing easily removable layers. In mid winter, with snow on the ground, I can be seen stripping to my t-shirt in a bid to cool off. Only to have to put all my layers back on again, once the flush has receded.
The flushes are manageable, and diet plays a big part. The trick is to reduce your intake of certain foods. Sugar and carbohydrates being the biggest change. I have recently started a Keto diet. It is a week on from when I wrote this page, and already the flushes and night sweats are receding with my lowering carb intake.
I also take Promensil Double Strength and Menopace Sage tablets, as sage and isoflavins are a natural remedy for hot flushes. But given I was writing this at 5.30am because my flushes were unbearable, it’s not foolproof.
I also believe my flushes come in waves. Some months I barely get any. Other months, like now, they are more common. So food and the tablets at least reduce their frequency.