It’s getting hot in here, I’m taking off all my clothes.

No, I’m not singing Nelly’s smash hit nor am I being vulgar. Quite frankly, there’s just no other way to describe a hot flush. “Is it me or it’s real hot in here?” These lines have become all too familiar to my children and husband.  They just look at me unbothered and say drily ‘It’s you’.  Now I live in a tropical island where temperatures sometimes get up to 33 and 34 degrees Celsius which is quite hot but never so hot that I am drenched in sweat by six in the evening.  Having a hot flush is one of the most uncomfortable experiences that I’ve been through. You get so hot, you really want to take off all your clothes.

The dreaded hot flush – Different women have different versions of the hot flush but trust me, all are uncomfortable. I will try to describe what it’s like for me. Initially it was mild. Last year I began noticing that when I was out and about, all mattified and made up, random beads of perspiration popped up on my forehead.  I thought that the pricey foundation and setting powder wasn’t getting the job done like before and maybe I had to change them. In the mean time, to avoid looking like I ran from home to the supermarket I kept Kleenex handy to mop up my always-sweaty forehead. So it progressed from the forehead to my face being mildly hot, mind you at 47 and counting I still wasn’t thinking hot flush here.  However, a few months later Hot Flush was here in all its glory.  

There is no warning, it creeps up on you like a thief in the night, more precisely like a professional cat burglar. You can get a hot flush at any time, cooking, cleaning, driving, I’ve gotten flushes whilst exercising, believe it or not.  I’ve noticed that I can be doing something simple like cutting up vegetables which requires almost no energy, heck the average five-year-old can cut up vegetables and I will be sweating like I just ran a fifty-meter dash. I begin to feel warm and sticky, next my face and neck is hot, then tiny rivulets of sweat roll down my face and pool under my chin and plop onto the countertop.  And that’s just the face, my arms by this time are bathed in sweat, sweat is also rolling down my entire torso, front and back.  Did I mention that I showered just moments before? Does Mr. Hot Flush care?  And just like that it’s gone, as stealthily as it comes, it goes.  You can breathe easily again and you no longer feel self-conscious.  

Now this is fine when you’re working from home, you can shower as often as you want, you can turn on the A.C. put on the fan but what happens when you’re at work. I became anxious just thinking about how I will fare when I’m at work. What accommodations if any, do employers offer to menopausal women?

Thankfully for me, the hot flushes have changed, I am no longer drenched in sweat at random times during the day. They don’t occur as often as before.  There were some days when I would get them like every ten minutes and other days about two or three times. They have more or less disappeared, so much so that it felt like it hasn’t happened for weeks.  And they aren’t as severe, I don’t sweat at all now I just feel mildly warm. I can’t say if I did anything specific but I can say that consistent exercise/movement is the panacea for many ailments.

Also, when it was happening regularly, I made minor changes to my routine which helped. I realize the hot flush was exacerbated when I was stressed, flustered and bustling, so

  • I took frequent breaks whilst doing tasks
  • Tried to be as calm as possible. 
  • Gave myself enough time to get ready because putting on makeup on a sweaty face is impossible.
  • I would ensure the room is cooled down beforehand. 
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Move, move, move! Move/Exercise at least thirty minutes a day or as often as you can.
  • Take note of what happens when you get a hot flush, what you are doing at the time, what happens before, what happens after and how long the hot flush lasts.

I’m eager to hear about your experience and what you do to cope. Let’s support each other, leave a comment or send me an email at mummypause@gmail.com.

1 Comment

  1. Anto Charles says:

    Greetings! This is so on point and relevant. Thank you for your honest portrayal of this life-changing and challenging event. Some women really think that they are going crazy while experiencing menopause before they recognize the symptoms. I had a friend who started her symptoms early around 40, and menopause was the last thing on her mind because she just knew she was too young for that. When her doctor gave her the diagnosis she cried. She cried out of relief because she finally found out what it was that was making her body act so crazy. She was also crying and thinking to herself that she was becoming an old lady on warp speed. It really was messing with her mind. Women who go through menopause earlier in life really have a difficult time accepting it. They find it hard to explain to their spouses or significant other because the symptoms come on so suddenly, anytime and anywhere. Excellent content!

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