As contradictory as it may seem, cold weather can actually be more to blame for hot flashes than warm weather, all thanks to a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. This tiny part at the base of the brain is vital to many functions in the body, including regulating your body temperature.
When the estrogen levels in the body decrease during menopause, it can cause a glitch in the hypothalamus, making it harder to accurately measure and regulate the body’s temperature. The hypothalamus thinks that the body is too hot or too cold and begins trying to rectify this problem to get the body to a normal temperature.
In the case of hot flashes, the hypothalamus thinks that the body is too hot and needs cooling down. It then sends more blood closer to the surface of the skin, which causes you to become red in the cheeks and feel warm in your face.
Frustrating as this may be, there are some steps that help you manage your symptoms in the colder months:
Dress in layers: Multiple layers of clothing that are easy to put on and take off will make dealing with hot flashes much easier. Dressy tank tops underneath lightweight, button-down sweaters or cardigans will allow you to easily remove the warmer garments and get that much-needed cool air against your skin quickly.
Keep a fan nearby: Small, portable fans are an easy and inexpensive way to deal with hot flashes. Tuck one under your desk at work, rather than trying to cool off the entire office. Getting the air flowing in your own personal corner may help you survive the next hot flash without annoying your co-workers.
Dress lightly for bed: Rather than going to sleep in flannel pajamas, wear something lightweight and breathable to bed. Keep the bedroom cool and layer on smaller blankets that are easy to remove if hot flashes and night sweats kick in.
Keep holiday stress to a minimum: Colder months are also packed with shopping lists, holiday parties, and an endless list of to-dos. Stress is a common hot flash trigger so cutting your list this winter may help reduce the number of hot flashes you experience.
If you’re needing a little bit of extra help managing your hot flashes, call our office at 201-225-2525 to schedule a free consultation. Our Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy can help get your internal thermostat back on track.