Heatwaves, Hot Flushes and HRT

Lady with orange fan.jpeg
Summer, summer, summer time, it’s summertime! As Jazzy Jeff once said.
And apparently there's a heatwave on the way! Which is great isn’t it?! Or is it? What happens when you’re already struggling with hot flushes, you’re getting night sweats, you’re basically just a hot mess? A heatwave might not be so fun for the likes of you.

So what steps can you take to help yourself? Firstly – clothing. Wear layers. Then you can take them off to feel the effect more. Wear cool fabrics like cotton, heavy fabrics will trap heat. In baking hot weather, drench a t-shirt and keep it wet. If you'd rather not walk around in wet clothing, you can buy cooling spray or having a cool shower will work just as well. You can quickly cool yourself down by putting your hands and feet in cold water. Wrists and ankles have lots of pulse points where blood vessels are close to the skin, so you will cool down more quickly.

Channel your inner Daphne Bridgerton and carry a fan – if you’re feeling less Georgian than that, then get yourself a battery-operated fan to carry with you.

Drink plenty of water and (I hate to say this) limit alcohol and caffeine.

At night we have the added joy of night sweats. Keeping a fan on overnight is an option however it can be noisy and some people just can’t sleep with one on (myself included). Here in the UK we don’t have air conditioning so it can be a real struggle. Sleeping totally naked with no sheets – that’s an option too but there are some products on the market that may help at bedtime – check out Cool Embrace products

My final recommendation is to eat ice cream. That’s not specifically for this, just in general…eat ice cream!

One other consideration for heatwaves is that if you're on any kind of transdermal HRT (gel, spray, patches) then you need to be aware of your HRT when it comes to applying sun cream.
The general rule is to leave it for at least a couple of hours to be fully absorbed after application - so what if you need to put your suncream on for a day on the beach or by the pool?
One option is to switch to applying in the evenings rather than mornings.. probably the easiest plan. If you want to stick to mornings then get it done as early as possible, have your breakfast and wait 1-2 hours until suncream application.
For patches, the direct sun can alter hormone absorption so the duration they work for may change in the heat. Changing patches may be required earlier than normal. Try to keep the patch out of direct sunlight - try and position it under your swimsuit - your buttock for example!
Stay safe in the sun this summer without upsetting your HRT. And enjoy that extra vitamin D!

The world is getting warmer and we need to take steps to help ourselves. However we should definitely try to enjoy the sunshine. Take a mindful moment to feel the warmth on your skin, look at the blue skies and notice the colours of summer! I promise that it will improve your mood too!

Walking back to happiness

Do you automatically jump in your car to get from A to B? It’s easier, right? It’s quicker too. But maybe, if the journey is a fairly short one, you should consider walking instead. Hear me out….

Walking is a free activity and one of the easiest ways to get more active, burn calories and become healthier! Here's a few of the many reasons it can help us menopausal ladies:

*It can boost your mood. Regular walking enhances the natural release of endorphins which stimulate relaxation and improve your mood.
*Improve sleep. Plenty of research suggests that engaging in regular physical activity during the day can help improve sleep at night
*Calm anxiety – Walking means movement (as above), breathing (most of the very severe anxiety symptoms, like chest pains etc., are the result of hyperventilation, which makes it feel like you're not getting enough oxygen but is actually caused by expelling too much carbon dioxide. Your body needs a balance between oxygen and carbon dioxide in the bloodstream, and when you breathe too rapidly your oxygen levels might outweigh the carbon dioxide. The more you walk and move, the more your body creates carbon dioxide naturally, and the more your body tends to breathe more efficiently).Finally, walking provides sensory distractions
*Help your heart health – by making you fitter overall.
*Clear your head - Walking is a great way to get out of your head and relax. The fresh air, rhythmic movement and time spent alone with your thoughts create the perfect environment to clear your mind.
*Raise cardio fitness – if you can walk at a good pace.
*Lower blood pressure - Regular exercise makes the heart stronger. A stronger heart can pump more blood with less effort. As a result, the force on the arteries decreases. This lowers blood pressure.

If you aren’t keen on “just walking” then try listening to a podcast or some music while you walk. Those of us who are dog owners are lucky as we have a good excuse to get out there every day. But even if you don’t have a fluffy canine best friend, you should still consider it – get out in the fresh air each day! Even if it’s raining, you can always take an umbrella, right? The affect on your mental health will be incredible and you don't have to walk for hours - get out there every day for a brisk walk and see how much better you start to feel!