Menopause has made me hate the heat.
June 3, 2011 8:42 AM   Subscribe

I need tips dealing with heat and menopause.

Yay! Menopause! I had an ovary-sparing hysterectomy last year, so I obviously don't get periods anymore. My ovaries are crapping out, and at my last gyno exam, I was informed that I was menopausal. That was no big surprise to me, given the hot flashes and night sweats that had become all too familiar. Up to this point, while annoying, it hasn't been horrible. That is, until the temperature outside soared into the 90's and doesn't appear to be going down any time soon.
I used to be one of those people who always needed a sweater, I was always chilly. I used to LOVE hot weather. Now, as soon as I step outside, I feel physically ill. The heat just seems to trigger all of these nasty symptoms, dizzy, light headedness, drop in blood pressure and a general fogginess that takes a long time to lift. My body just feels weak and uncoordinated. UGH.
Before you ask, I have already made an appointment with my doctor to see what I can do to ameliorate symptoms, but I wanted to ask the ladies of metafilter if they have any tips or tricks of dealing with the heat when you're in menopause.
posted by msali to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Avoid synthetics and wear as much loose cotton clothing as you can.
posted by Carol Anne at 8:58 AM on June 3, 2011


My boyfriend gave his mother a Chillow, and she loves it.
posted by telophase at 9:16 AM on June 3, 2011


I can't speak to the menopause, but I am one of the few men on the planet to experience hot flashes regularly (I overproduce insulin) since I was in grade school. What made a huge difference for me was amitriptyline, 25mg a night (a fairly low dose, for migraines rather than depression). After a few months on that it blew away my extreme sensitivity to environmental heat, so much so that I can get into a car that's been sitting in the sun all day during summer and only be vaguly aware of the heat till I start sweating. My perception of localized heat (like the burner on a stove, etc.) is completely fine, and it worked on most of my migraines to boot. Your mileage might vary, it was definately a fluke of the drug, but who knows.

Sleeves I can roll up and down as needed, lighter colors, and loose fabrics like the cotton Carol Anne suggested, as well as linen, have also helped. From shopping with my wife, I think J. Jill has a lot of linen stuff that I was slightly jealous of, were it in men's styles. Not sure about fashions etc... clueless guy. Sorry.

We love a cold bed too so we tend to pull the sheets 50% down from the bed half an hour before bedtime. That's makes it a bit more tolerable, though I still get bad nights if we don't have the AC set just right, or the right amount of sheets/blankets. If it gets too cold I generate heat which just completely screws everything up, since low blood sugar = cold. For me that also means I eat protein before bed (PB on a cracker, etc.) to elevate my blood sugar at night. I'm not sure if that'd help or not though.
posted by jwells at 9:41 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


When a friend went through menopause, she had a small fan that she sat on her desk and turned it on blast facing directly on her at all times. Even though the office was air conditioned, it was not enough for her. She also used those gel icepacks to put on especially overheated areas. In the winter she became notorious for not wearing a coat. To the best of my knowledge, the only time she spent outdoors during the hotter months was to leave the air conditioned house to get into the air conditioned car and then to go into the air conditioned office or store.
posted by crankylex at 9:42 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


If she ever came across this, she'd slaughter me, so let's just say that a close menopausal relative of mine cut one of these into vertical strips, perfect for dropping into the cleavage. Seems to help.
posted by phunniemee at 9:43 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm going through this too, due to chemo and radiation. It's so much fun, isn't it?

My daytime hot flashes are usually fairly quick, though I have found it's useful to carry around a fan in my purse or to have a small fan at my desk. My night sweats, though, can get awful. The number one thing I've found is actually to avoid 100% cotton for sleeping; cotton traps moisture, so it exacerbates (for me) that awful clammy, drenched feeling.

I found that getting modal-blend sleepwear has been helpful; it hasn't fixed the issue entirely but at least the sensation of waking up in a swamp has minimized. They stock some styles at Pajamagram.com, or you can google for "moisture wicking sleepwear" or "menopause sleepwear" to get some other options.
posted by scody at 10:20 AM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sheex are expensive, but they're bedsheets made of the same moisture-wicking stuff as fancy athletic clothes, and I have heard a lot of good things about them. (Assuming you have indoor temperature issues as well as the outdoor ones, for which I have no immediate suggestions).
posted by brainmouse at 10:24 AM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Carry a big sports bottle full of ice and water at all times. Drinking it will help cool you down from the inside out, plus hanging onto it will give you nice chilly hands that can be applied to burning forehead, cheeks, neck, etc. as needed.

I also have a fan on me pretty much all the time and don't spend a lot of time outside when it is hot.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 10:42 AM on June 3, 2011


Wear silk, especially for sleeping. It dries so instantaneously that you never feel wet. Wearing silk feels drier and cooler than wearing nothing at all. Blends of silk and modal (rayon), or silk and linen seem to be equally effective. Wintersilks is one good place to buy, especially if you stay in the sale section.

I have sheets that are a blend of cotton and bamboo (rayon); I'm sure silk or linen would be better but that's more $$$ than I have. Sleeping on cotton sheets feels like sleeping between sponges. Yuck.
posted by Corvid at 1:32 PM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is silly, but my mom used to stick her head in the freezer at regular intervals. It seemed effective in a momentary kind of way. Nothing else really seemed to help. She said the heat seemed to come from the inside.
posted by dchrssyr at 1:50 PM on June 3, 2011


Maybe this is obvious, but I am struggling with this too, and I have found that drinking hot drinks really turns my internal heat up quite quickly.

Cranking up the ceiling fan helps at night. Also (don't hate me for saying this), I find I have fewer hot flashes when I get regular exercise. I'm not talking triathlon training, just a brisk 30 minute walk 4 times a week. Of course, YMMV.
posted by tuesdayschild at 2:47 PM on June 3, 2011


Excercise really does work. And wear dresses, loose cotton dresses.
posted by raisingsand at 3:00 PM on June 3, 2011


I'm kind of worried about this since I'm getting ready to move to Houston from San Francisco. I've been taking vitamin E and that's helped a lot but I don't know how my body will react to Houston's heat. I generally prefer heat and I'm sick to death of SF's chilly weather but hot flashes in hot weather sounds unbearable. Now I can open a window and cool off quickly or walk the dog without a coat.
posted by shoesietart at 6:20 PM on June 3, 2011


An atomizer spray of Evian or similar. It's light and easy to carry in your purse and a quick blast helps take away that feeling of being about to faint that I hate the most. Or a packet of wet tissues. I also carry barley sugar lollies to address that horrible onset of feeling weak all over.
posted by honey-barbara at 2:12 AM on June 4, 2011


Thanks everybody for the great advice, I am DEFINITELY getting new sheets and pj's. Menopause is such a huge suckass period of time, and I hate the fact that my peers are still having babies and I get hot flashes and night sweats. I am going to start carrying an atomizer water spray and those barley sugar lollipops look great.
I love you guys, y'all are awesome.
posted by msali at 7:15 AM on June 4, 2011


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