Today on A.Vogel Talks Menopause, I take a look at five lesser-known hot flush triggers.
Now, we know many, many things can trigger hot flushes and a lot of them are very well-known. But some surprising things can happen daily that can also be a factor in triggering hot flushes and sweats.
Common hot flush triggers
Interestingly enough, 75% of women will experience hot flushes or night sweats at some point in the menopause. The usual and more commonly known triggers of hot flushes and nights sweats are things such as stress, dehydration, caffeine, and sugar because they all rev up your nervous system.
It could also be low blood sugar levels. And it can even be things like spicy foods and if you just feel under an awful lot of pressure. Even rushing about if you're busy, if you're short of time, just that extra anxiety and stress of doing things can trigger flushes.
Everyday things that could be triggering your hot flushes
As well as these common triggers, there are some everyday things, that might be contributing to your flushes that you may not realise are trigger your hot flushes or makes them worse and more frequent.
These are all problematic in that they raise your skin temperature, and that by itself can be enough to trigger hot flushes and sweats for some women.
1. Temperature of drinks
Hot drinks such as tea or coffee can be a real problem, especially when it's cold and you're drinking quite a few cups. It's not just the caffeine in these drinks which can trigger a hot flush, the heat from the drink can raise your skin temperature, which can also cause a hot flush.
Interestingly enough, I've often had a few women where it's the complete opposite. So just be aware, for some women, it may well be having a cold drink, which can suddenly drop your skin temperature, which can trigger a hot flush or a sweat, too.
What can help?
Try and have your hot drinks that little bit cooler and cold drinks at room temperature. Leave them to stand for 5 or 10 minutes, and then try and drink them to see if that makes a difference.
2. Hot baths and showers
While a hot bath or shower can help you relax and unwind, if the water is too warm, it can raise your skin temperature quite quickly and trigger a hot flush and even night sweats if you are having your bath or shower close to bedtime.
What can help?
Try to have the water of your bath a bit cooler, and don't soak in the bath too long. The same goes for your shower, make it cooler and quicker. It's lovely to be able to relax, and while a long soak in a hot bath can help you sleep, it's important to know that it could be causing your night sweats and therefore disrupting your sleep later in the night. So, trying these simple changes could make a big difference for you.
3. Hairdryers and other heated hair appliances
This is a common one, which many women don't realise. And it's not just your hairdryer, its heated appliances such as your straighteners and hair tongs as well. All of this direct heat right at your head and your face, where very often, a lot of the flushes tend to take place.
What can help?
So, again, with this one, have the heat setting that little bit cooler. Yes, it's going to take a little bit longer to dry your hair or style your hair, but then, at least, you may find that you don't get so many flushes or sweats after.
Another trigger can be the weather. In really hot days, some women find that they can no longer sunbathe because it brings a wrath of very quick sweats and it can even trigger other symptoms such as skin rashes.
As well as outside, it can be room temperature on hot days or during the winter when the heating is turned up indoors. It's amazing how many women tell me they really dread going shopping because very often, in the shops, it's a lot hotter, especially in the winter, than it is outside.
So that sudden temperature change, especially if you're wearing coats or heavy cardigans, can be enough to trigger a hot flush or sweats, too.
What can help?
This is a little bit more difficult to control. If you find it's the shops that are doing it, wear layers and then the minute you get into the shop, maybe take your coat off, and you might find that that will be a little bit helpful.
Also, just turning your thermostat down just a few degrees can make a difference and invest in a good indoor fan, plus a hand-held one for when out in about. On hot days when outside, sit in the shade, especially during the hottest parts of the day.
It's amazing how many women say to me they love to exercise, but they find now that once they start their class, they sweat like mad, and they find it quite embarrassing.
What can help?
The best thing to do here, keep yourself well hydrated. Don't exercise near bedtime because, again, if you rev your nervous system up, and if you rev up your body temperature because of a lot of high-intensity exercises, then that can keep going right through night-time as well.
So, just be aware of these heat triggers.
Other tips to help keep hot flushes under control
Keep a hot flush diary
Do a diary to help identify possible triggers. Note down when you experienced the hot flush and what has happened in the hour or two before it e.g. what you have eaten, how stressed you have felt, if you have taken a hot bath or drank a hot drink, or perhaps, dried your hair. This helps you identify patterns to help give you a clue as to what caused the flush itself.
You could look at the herb sage. This is known to help relieve hot flushes and night sweats.
Deep breathing is great for calming your nervous system down and when affected by any of the heat issues I mention above.
The other thing I'm finding at the moment is, obviously, because of all the extra stress and anxiety with everything that's going on around us in the world today, that a lot of women are finding their hot flushes are getting worse, or have returned.
So, if stress and anxiety is an issue for you, we have two lovely licensed stress remedies. One is called AvenaCalm, and the other one is called Stress Relief Daytime.
What causes hot flushes long after menopause?
If you are experiencing hot flushes, but are well through the menopause it could be due to other health issues, such as thyroid problems, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and maybe low iron as well. So, if you're experiencing these and you're well through the menopause, please just seek medical advice when you can.
I hope you found this one helpful. If any of you find that other things will trigger hot flushes and sweats, then please let us know because if they are happening to you, there are probably many more women out there that are wondering if the same thing is happening for them.
For those of you that have found great tips to help your hot flushes and night sweats, please share them in the comment section below. We would love to see them.
Until next time, take care.