Dealing with Hot Flashes During the Winter

It’s cold. It’s hot. It’s hot. It’s cold.

If you understand that no temperature is right during the winter months, then you must be a woman living with hot flashes during the winter. Cold temperatures outside and warm temperatures inside are a nightmare for premenopausal or menopausal women who don’t know when the next hot flash will strike. So what are some strategies for dealing with hot flashes during the winter?

  1. Dress in Layers

Your favorite heavy sweaters just might not work for you this year. A lot of women with hot flashes find that dressing in layers helps them get cool without calling attention to themselves. If you have a jacket over a light sweater over a long sleeve shirt over a sleeveless shirt, it’s a lot easier to get comfortable than if you’ve just got on a wool sweater with nothing but a camisole underneath.

  1. Avoid Holiday Sweets and Snacks

Since research shows that a weight reduction as little as 5% can help with hot flashes, the last thing we want to do during winter is pack on some extra pounds from snacking. The temptation to snack can be intense – especially when friends and family are so likely to drop off some cheesecake brownies or Chex Mix just to show they care. Pass the treats on to a friend or put them in the freezer and just indulge in one piece a week.

  1. Get Some Exercise

Exercise won’t necessarily improve your hot flashes, but it will help you sleep at night. Since many women suffer from insomnia and have hot flashes that wake them from restful sleep, exercise could make a big impact on your quality of life. Even if it’s just a walk around the block or a lap around the mall, any movement is good movement. Yoga can be especially useful for women with hot flashes because it is low intensity and less likely to cause sweating than cardio exercise.

  1. Talk to Your Doctor

Hot flashes are no joke and the changes of temperature during the winter months can make them even worse. If you are losing sleep, dismissing social activities or avoiding physical activity because of hot flashes, please reach out to your healthcare provider for help. There are a number of non-hormonal medications that can help with hot flashes, including SSRIs (a type of antidepressant), clonidine (a blood pressure medication) and gabapentin (a seizure medication).

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Jane, F.M. & Davis, S.R. (2014). A practitioner’s toolkit for managing the menopause. Climacteric, 17(5), 564-79.

Thacker, H.L. (2011). Assessing risks and benefits of nonhormonal treatments for vasomotor symptoms in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women.Journal of Women’s Health, 20(7), 1007-1016.

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