Do You Get Hot Flashes Upon Waking?
It’s 6:19 a.m.
I’m lying in bed, snuggled up and cosy, gradually waking up to the sounds of birds greeting the morning.
At precisely 6:20 a.m. our alarm goes off. I roll over to silence it, turn to greet my husband … and suddenly it feels like I’m in a sauna. In nanoseconds, the heat is radiating from my insides to my skin and I’m sweating hard enough to fill buckets.
“Ugh”, is my husband’s response as he pulls his hand away from the sticky sweat covering every inch of me.
I don’t blame him. It’s disgusting.
But he should be used to this routine by now.
I’ve been having hot flashes upon waking for awhile now.
When I wake up in the morning my skin is lovely and soft.
As soon as I move, I’m covered in buckets of sweat.
We both hate this morning routine, but we’ve learned to live with it.
This is one symptom that has refused to go away and I’m supposed to be post-menopausal.
I’m positive I’m not the only woman on the planet who suffers from hot flashes when I wake up in the morning.
Who would have thought that “hot flashes upon waking” was a thing … but it is.
For those more technically inclined, hot flashes or flushes are also known as “vasomotor symptoms” where my trusty online dictionary tells me, “vasomotor” denotes …
“a region in the medulla of the brain (the vasomotor centre) that regulates blood pressure by controlling reflex alterations in the heart rate and the diameter of the blood vessels, in response to stimuli from receptors in the circulatory system or from other parts of the brain.”
In other words, when I wake up, a signal from my brain triggers an unwelcome reaction …
There’s so much sweat I might as well have been at the gym.
It wouldn’t be so bad, except that I erroneously thought that when I hit a certain age, ALL of my hot flashes would disappear for good.
Unfortunately, according to an article in the Harvard Medical School’s Health Journal (see (https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/menopause-related-hot-flashes-night-sweats-can-last-years-201502237745), research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that hot flashes and night sweats can often last seven years and may go on for 11 years or more.
This depressing bit of info came from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN), a long-term study of women of different races and ethnicities who are in the menopausal transition. If you’re interested in finding out more, about this somewhat depressing discovery, you can check out the findings here in the JAMA Internal Medicine.
When I first began experiencing menopause symptoms, I hunted high and low for ways to get rid of them.
I mean, who actually enjoys feeling like they’re being roasted like a turkey from the inside out? Or loves being at work at a critical, career-impacting meeting and suddenly you’re producing so much sweat, you need to go home and change clothes.
Nup. Didn’t think so.
These days, I am far more interested in learning how to control my mental reactions to my symptoms.
These days, I think that if I had it to do all over again (go through menopause in all its painful glory), I would absolutely NOT try to control the symptoms. Instead, I would take back control of the trajectory of my menopause journey.
I would take the time to sit down and decide who I wanted to be once I hit the other side of menopause.
Then I would do whatever it took to enable my body to be the healthiest it could be … so that my mind could be healthy and my relationships could be healthy.
There is no escaping the impact menopause will have on us women… we will come out changed.
However, it’s up to us, exactly how much we let that impact shape us.
If you’d like to start taking back control of your menopause journey, join our The Menopause Effect email list and we’ll send you tips, techniques, research findings and other useful info.
P.S. If you want a bit more than tips and info, check out Dr Michelle Gordon’s upcoming free Online Menopause Workshop.
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