Jamie, 51,  checked in with us this week: 

“My hot flashes feel like they’ve gone from “bake at 350” to “broil at 500”. They’re hotter. Flaming hot… Lava-hot…  Sweat-trickling hot. Been experiencing what I thought of as 'hot' for 2 years now. And lately, something inside has really cranked up the internal temperatures… or, so it feels.

“I’m awake 2-3 times each night, thrashing in sweaty clothes and sheets. It’s disgusting. And then I get chilled just a few minutes later, so I’m looking for the blankets I’ve thrown off, which wakes me up even more… cue the irritability. 

“With all this heat, I’d hoped that at least some calories would get burned and I’d be losing some weight. Mmmmm… no. Definitely not the case.” 

What Jamie mentioned about her temperatures rising... ahem, sparked… a curiosity about heat that led us to research what happens with body temperature during hot flashes

Here’s what we found about hot flashes and body temperature 

In the Journal of Applied Physiology, body temperatures were measured before, during, and after hot flashes in a menopausal woman. It was surprising to us that the findings shared that internal body temperatures actually fell after each hot flash

“Where sweating occurred, the skin temperature fell during the flash and rose after it. Finger and toe temperatures always showed a sharp rise at the onset of a flash with a slower fall after the flash. Only the cheeks showed additional temperature rises; maximum, 0.7 degrees C.” 

Speeding beats

Another element that was measured was the heartbeat. Is anyone going to be surprised at its acceleration during a hot flash

“The heart accelerated 13% at the onset of the flash but slowed immediately thereafter. The flash interval was sharply demarcated by undulations in the ECG baseline.”

At the core

Another study shared that core body temperature is lower in post-menopausal women than pre-menopausal women. It went on to note that this finding has potential implications for energy metabolism and midlife weight gain. 

Despite all the heat and sweating we may be experiencing during menopause, our core body temperatures are decreasing as we age. Fascinating!... And it sure doesn’t feel like that mid-flash, does it?

Stress: A catalyst for hotter hot flashes?

Stress may indeed be an instigator for more and hotter flashes in some women. It’s also what we do with increased, complex, or compounded stressors that may amp up hot flash temperatures and/or the number of hot flashes that happen in a day (or night). Namely, consumables such as caffeine, alcohol, and sugar… all known to affect hot flashes. 

Smoking is a behavior that increases the risk for hot flashes. And, a sedentary lifestyle without much movement. 

We will go into what helps in managing hot flashes a little further down in this post, but let’s address and acknowledge the latest, intense stressor that has affected the planet in myriad ways: Coronavirus and COVID19.

Covid19, Coronavirus stress implications, to name just a few...

  • The health of family and friends
  • Complete changes in shopping and home life regarding quarantine
  • What to do with the kids and a new 24/7-level of parenting with minimal support, if any
  • Getting along with a spouse or partner, 24/7
  • Job loss, business reductions, furloughs with uncertain re-start dates
  • Loss and grief due to disappointments, cancellations, and plans of all kinds needing to be postponed

What else is going on lately in your life? This pandemic is probably not the only thing you have going on  right now… chances are good that stress was happening — both good and bad — on some level prior to the virus breakout. Whatever the stressors, they may be impacting your menopause journey, not to mention your immune system. What are those other pre-existing stressors you’ve been experiencing, specifically?

Take a deep breath, you’ve been going through a lot.

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Overall health and wellness during menopause is based in good self-care

What helps? According to the same study noted above, dabbing areas of the face with cold water can provide prompt relief. It seems an easy one, as long as you’ve got cold water close at hand. Could it feel different or better than a handheld mister or handheld fan? Test drive it and see what works best, feels best, for you.

Additional areas that help decrease menopause symptoms, especially hot flashes, are: 

  • Nutrition in food: Aiming to get as much nutrition in the fuel of your food is ideal. It’s not all about perfection, or all about kale, or all about the next food trend. Take special care around sugar, caffeine, and alcohol as those can tend to increase the frequency and intensity of hot flashes. Overall, it’s about good fuel and feeling good. Take a look at these on-demand webinars/podcasts for ideas: this one, and this one.
  • Supplementation: Black Cohosh works for many women in managing hot flashes. Magnesium Glycinate is also another good one, especially to aid sleep and ease joint pain. Plus, this new daily five: Gennev’s Vitality pack was created for the new nutritional needs of women in menopause and midlife. Check-in with your doctor, or one of ours, about your current diet and what may help you.
  • Water, water: Did you know that we’re more easily dehydrated during menopause than we were before? It’s true. Hydration is more important than ever for skin, organ and cell function, mood, and hot flash management.
  • Movement: Exploring how you can move your body, all the muscles, even a little bit will help you physically, and mentally. Consider it a break, a treat, a reward, and try something new. Our Coach Stasi shares on Instagram and YouTube about this topic. 
  • Skip the smokes: If hot flashes are giving you grief and you’re a smoker, consider talking with others who’ve quit about their experience regarding menopause symptoms since putting down the smokes. Try it yourself, for your best health and meno-management. Smokers are more likely to experience hot flashes than those who don’t.
  • Decrease stress: This is a big one, and yes, it’s a general tip, but the way you decrease stress for yourself is very personal. Someone may decrease stress by meditating or yoga, another may run, another may wander through a park or on a hike, another may knit or create or write. Even incremental decreases in stress as you continue to find out what works best for you will help in managing all of your menopause symptoms.
    On this note, a study shared that de-stressing may ease hot flash symptoms in some women. 
  • Seek support: Whether it’s medical or coaching or another form of health support, more of it will help you to find practical solutions that work for your body and mind, your schedule, your family… your best, whole life.

Finding out what works for you, your body, your life is what really matters most here. Hot flashes, and other symptoms of menopause, can be managed with care and attention… and of course, you’re worth the excellent care you need during this transformative journey.

Join and jam on several menopause topics, including hot flashes, sleep (and how to reclaim it and enjoy it), weight gain, and more. You’re invited… Gennev Community Forums. See you inside.