Dealing with sticky temperatures on a hot summer’s day can be challenging enough, but if you’re going through the menopause, the added irritation of hot flushes can make the weather unbearable.
It will come as no surprise that the number one menopause symptom heightened during the summer months is hot flashes and night sweats. Hot flashes are caused by an instability in your hypothalamus, which controls your body’s temperature. As the weather gets warmer and you spend more time outside, an ordinary hypothalamus has trouble regulating body heat, let alone a menopausal one. This leads to more frequent and more severe hot flashes. Skin, our largest organ, also experiences changes during menopause. You may find that your regular sunscreen begins to cause rashes or lacks the protection you need from sunburn. Menopause causes some women’s skin to become thinner, making it easier for them to burn in sunny conditions. These are just a few of the common symptoms that may be worsened due to summer weather conditions. Now that we know what to be aware of, let’s answer the burning question: What are ways we can manage menopause symptoms under the summer sun?
1. Choose Clothes Carefully If you struggle with hot flashes during the summer, consider updating your wardrobe. If you are a fan of tighter, closer-fitting fabrics and garments, you may want to consider flowy-er and looser clothing for the summer months. Tightly woven fabrics and close-fitting clothes trap heat and sweat, which can, in turn, make hot flashes worse.
2. Air Conditioning Doesn’t Always Cut It Hot flashes most commonly occur at night, which can lead to interrupted sleep. If your AC isn’t doing the trick, invest in a portable table fan or a standing oscillating fan for your room. You can turn it on before bed, or turn it on if woken up with a hot flash in the middle of the night. It is an inexpensive and easy way to help regulate your temperature.
3. Just Keep Swimming Making time to take a dip in the pool or a body of water helps to release heat from your body. It is also a great way to reduce stress and increase blood circulation. Consider signing up for a water Zumba or aerobics class to make swimming a regular part of your summer routine.
4. Take Advantage of Summer’s Fresh Produce Eating a healthy diet is important for regulating menopause symptoms. With local farmers markets nearly every weekend, you can easily find ways to incorporate fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins into your everyday meals. It is also important to incorporate calcium and magnesium into your diet, preferably in your food and not via a vitamin supplement. If you feel your hot flashes are not improving with diet, avoid food and drink containing caffeine, alcohol, and an excess of carbs.
5. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate! Hot flashes cause sweating and, just like after working out, you need to replenish the lost liquid. Dehydration can cause an uptick in hot flashes, making hydration that much more important! Cold water is the best way to stay hydrated and cool, but unsweetened iced tea and fruit-infused waters are also great choices.