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Living with menopause

It’s a cruel summer – if you’re menopausal...

As the country swelters through another hot summer, are you spending lots of time standing in front of an open fridge trying to cool another menopausal hot flush? Or worse, are you struggling to focus in the boardroom while your heart races, your body temperature shoots up and rivulets of sweat run down your back and stomach?

Menopause is not fun, full stop. Hot flushes and night sweats can make life almost unbearable for years. And they just get worse in summer, especially if you live on the east coast in the oppressive humidity of Durban and the KZN coastal towns.

We know – hearing that it’s natural, all part of life, or ‘three out of four women get hot flushes so you’re not alone’ is actually not very helpful or consoling when you’re already looking like you took the ice bucket challenge an hour after arriving at work. So what can help cool the fires of menopause in summer?

Here are a few tips:

Swiss naturopath Alfred Vogel said that 'Good health is about more than taking remedies'. If you are going through the menopause, a few lifestyle changes could make a big difference to the severity of hot flushes.

1. Reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake.

Replace your morning coffee with a cold smoothie, or a herbal tea. As appealing as sundowners or a glass of chilled wine might be in the evening, it won’t be worth it later if you are prone to night sweats.

2. Drink lots of water.

Drink lots (and we mean lots, at least 1,5 – 2 litres) of water daily, more if it is especially hot and you are outdoors, exercising or very active.

3. Cut out refined sugar and spicy foods.

– Well known triggers of hot flushes.

Besides, cutting out refined sugar will also do wonders for your moods, energy levels and waistline!

4. Eat a well-balanced wholesome diet.

And don’t skip meals. Low blood sugar levels can be another hot flush trigger.

5. Exercise – sensibly.

Many people find that a daily brisk half hour walk does wonders in reducing their hot flushes.

6. Chill!

Don’t stress, deal with it, meditate, try deep breathing exercises, talk it out with a friend….anything that reduces your stress levels will reduce your hot flushes. Stress causes the release of the exact chemicals that promote hot flushes.

7. Wear cotton clothing that lets your skin breathe.

Also wear layers when you can so it’s easier to remove a light jacket or strip off a shirt to a cotton tank top vest underneath when you really need to cool down fast.

8. Carry a spray mister in your handbag.

If a hot flush threatens or you feel warm in the heat, spray the mist over the back of your neck. Dabbing lavender oil on your wrists or temples can also help keep flushes at bay.

9. Freeze something, like a face cloth.

When you need to cool down quickly you can place the ice cool cloth over the back of your neck.

10. Lose weight if you are signficantly overweight.

Researchers have found that larger ladies who lost weight found their hot flushes were much improved. They don’t know why this is exactly, but one theory is that fat cells trap heat resulting in more sweating and flushing to cool the body.

11. Consider an upstyle.

If you’re lucky enough to have a hair style that can air dry or you can fix your hair into an upstyle whilst wet, then ditch the hairdryer till winter. Blasting your head with hot air for twenty minutes only serves to confuse your body’s thermostat and trigger another hot flush.

12. Try A.Vogel’s Hot Flush & Night Sweat Remedy.

It helps reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flushes. Although its normally a one-a-day tablet, if you are really struggling with numerous or very intense hot flushes in our warm climate, then you can safely take two tablets each day.