Article by Willy Madison
Some of the most common symptoms of menopause are the dreaded hot flashes or night sweats. The common understanding of hot flashes is that they affect up to 80 percent of middle-aged women, and usually persist for just a few years. But a recent a study published by JAMA Internal Medicine earlier this year actually shows that hot flashes can continue for as long as 14 years, and the earlier they begin, the longer a woman is likely to suffer.
For the study, researchers conducted the largest study to date by monitoring a group of 1,449 women from a racially, ethnically and geographically diverse background. These women suffered from frequent hot flashes or night sweats. Researchers reported that the median length of time women endured symptoms was 7.4 years. While half of the women were affected for less than that time, half had symptoms longer, including some women who had symptoms for 14 years.
If you are part of the 80% of women who suffer from hot flashes, or you know someone who is, it’s important to understand what is triggering these debilitating symptoms so you can find some relief. But first let’s get a high level understanding of what the body is going through during a hot flash. In a recent interview, Dr. Seibel, a menopause specialist, states, “The body is warm blooded, so we try to keep our temperature in a certain range. The body has a certain way of doing that by causing blood vessels to narrow or dilate in order to distribute warmth throughout the body. For women in menopause the thermodynamic of the brains “thermostat” is sub optimally working. And as a result it releases signals for the body to heat. This causes a sudden dilation of blood vessels and the suddenly, a great deal of heat.”
Conventional wisdom has it that core body temperature plays a role in hot flashes. But a study performed by Dr. Robert Freedman at Wayne State University School of Medicine, proves the link. The study looked at the relationship between core body temperature and hot flashes. What the researchers found was hot flashes are more frequent when core body temperatures are highest.
With the understanding that heat buildup can cause hot flashes, women can now find ways to get relief. Here are a few tips to take into consideration so you can limit the onset of hot flashes. During the day it’s important for you to keep your environment cool and comfortable. Try to avoid major fluctuations in temperature as this can confuse your brain's “thermostat” into telling your body to create heat and go into “heater” mode. Dressing in layers can also cause issues because your clothing can quickly become incompatible to your body temperature.
At night, staying cool and comfortable can be much more difficult task. Most women play the game where they kick the covers off, only to pull them on a few hours later. Beyond keeping the room cool with a fan or air conditioner, women should also look for other solutions that add cooling. For example, look into getting some cooling bedding products. Make sure to look for temperature regulating bedding that is designed to keep you comfortable all night long. That means products that not only keep you cool, but regulate your body temperature so you don’t get too cold. You really don’t want to trick your brain and put your body into “heater” mode.
About the Author
Willy Madison is committed to helping everyone stay cool and sleep well. By exploring the effects of temperature on sleep, Willy has been able to provide all types of sleepers with simple and practical steps to improve sleep. Check out his favorite line of bedding products specifically designed to help you stay cool and wake up refreshed at Slumber Cloud.
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