Before we go any further, let’s answer that upfront: Not likely, it’s simply our winter lifestyles don’t accommodate a menopausal body’s out of whack internal thermometer.
Hot flushes (and night sweats) will affect up to 80% of women going through menopause, and most will agree they’re the most frustrating, troublesome symptoms that can plague a woman for a couple of years as her hormones adjust themselves.
A hot flush is the sudden feeling of heat in the face, head and chest that’s followed by flushing, perspiration and chills. The night-time version, night sweats, can be especially uncomfortable and problematic because they interfere with sleep, exacerbate other menopause symptoms like mood swings and fatigue, and take a toll on general wellbeing.
Why do hot flushes feel worse in winter?
1. Our clothing:
We’re wearing more, and thicker, clothing. The heat and sweating of a hot flush feels a whole lot worse under a thick wool jersey, scarf and jacket than it did in summer when you had only a short sleeve top on. The trick is to dress in layers so you can peel off the top layers when a hot flush starts.
2. Our bedrooms are warmer:
We’re sleeping in winter pyjamas – some of us with socks, we know! – under thick winter weight duvets and maybe even on top of an electric blanket. And we close our windows to keep the chill air out. Which is why night sweats can feel a lot worse in winter. Like clothing the trick is to layer – two thin summer-weight duvets means you can toss one off if a night sweat starts (while your partner stays warm). And also turn the electric blanket off when you get into bed and try to keep the bedroom a bit cooler during the night.
We tend to drink less water during winter. Mild dehydration can make many menopause symptoms worse, including hot flushes. The perspiration caused by a hot flush will dehydrate you further. This stresses the nervous system which can then trigger more hot flushes or night sweats. So, make sure you have a bottle of water handy and sip it often during the day. You want to aim to drink around 2 litres of water a day, even in winter.
4. Our diets:
In winter, we eat more spicy foods, richer dishes and hot meals. Not to mention we’re nibbling on more refined and processed foods like rusks, biscuits and desserts. Spicy foods are common hot flush and night sweat triggers, as is all that extra salt and sugar.
5. What we’re drinking:
Alcohol, and caffeine are common triggers of hot flushes and night sweats. Colder weather often means we’re drinking more coffee and tea during the day and all those hot drinks can cause our body’s internal thermostat to overreact and turn up the heat, triggering a hot flush. Also having a glass or two of wine in the evening can have the same effect, leading to a night sweat. Also caffeine and alcohol have a diuretic effect which can cause you to lose a little more water, so again, remember to keep your water intake up every day.
6. We move less.
Ironic as it may sound but regular exercise helps to keep hot flushes at bay, or at least reduce their intensity. If we’re exercising less during winter this can cause us to experience more hot flushes, so try to keep up your regular exercise programme.
7. We’re not taking anything to help manage our hot flushes
Because of all of these factors, during winter your body really could do with some extra menopause support. A.Vogel’s Menoforce is a very popular menopause treatment because it’s a 100% natural fresh sage extract that’s non-hormonal and has no effect on oestrogen or oestrogen-pathways. Its clinically proven to reduce the severity and frequency of hot flushes and night sweats, and also helps improve many other menopause symptoms including sleep quality, mental focus and anxiety, energy levels and mood, and other symptoms like irregular heartbeat and joint and muscle pain. And it’s a convenient once a day tablet which keeps things nice and simple.
By applying the suggestions above, you should find your hot flushes and night sweats much easier to manage over the winter months.