Until you experience them yourself you can have no idea of how uncomfortable a hot flush, or as some people call them, a hot flash, can be!! They begin to appear round about the time of menopause which is when a woman's menstrual cycle begins to come to an end and this usually happens between the ages of 47 and 54 years of age.
The first time that you feel one coming on may be when you are perhaps innocently sitting still and concentrating on something like let's say - sewing the hem of a skirt. You will all of a sudden and without any warning whatsoever begin to feel a deep heat rising from your chest up through your neck and shoulders and up to your face and will undoubtedly begin to produce beads of sweat all over your face and neck and see that the item of clothing that you are wearing over your chest is soaking wet. This whole procedure will last no more than four or five minutes but it is so intense as to have to make you change your clothing after the event.
When a woman nears the end of her menstruating years her levels of the hormone called oestrogen start to diminish quite fast and this has quite an effect on the temperature control of her body, amongst other things, but as we are talking about hot flushes I will stick only to this problem. Some people also refer to the menopause as 'Climaterio' which as the word implies relates to climate, temperature and heat. It seems that the body can no longer control its temperature and so has sudden soars or drops in heat, because after a hot flush the most common feeling is to feel a little shivery afterwards.
During the day time it can be a little easier to try and cope with this syndrome such as carrying in your bag a fan, a plastic squeezer bottle that can spray a fine mist of cool water over your face, a substitute blouse and fresh wipes in order to freshen yourself up and because you are awake you are able to deal with these situations as best you can, BUT....
.... when this happens while you are asleep it is much worse as you have no control whatsoever over the situation as you go to sleep feeling quite comfortable and oblivious to everything until you suddenly wake up in the middle of the night (because you are feeling so uncomfortable) with your hair soaking wet and lying on a completely drenched sheet and pillow case. The first time that this happened to me I spent about half an hour changing the sheets, giving myself a cool shower and drying my hair and so much activity in the early hours of the morning ended up completely waking me up to the point that it was very hard for me to get back to sleep again and hence begins another syndrome of menopause which is difficulty in sleeping.
So my advice to any of you women that are nearing this delicate age is the following:
Firstly before you even get to the age of 40 I would suggest that you start taking soya tablets because in the Asian world, where soya is the mainstay of any and all of their diets, it is very rare to hear of women suffering from these or any other menopausal symptoms. Soya is the next best thing to HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) and while it may not be quite as effective in calming menopausal symptoms down it has no harmful side effects at all, which unfortunately HRT does. And the reason that a woman should start taking these tablets well before she begins her menopausal years is because it takes time for Soya to get into the system and so the longer you take it the better the long term effects and benefits will be.
Now I will go on to tackle your night time problems. Well the first thing to do before you go to bed is to tie your hair up in a high pony tail and if you have short hair to raise it up and away from your neck with an Alice band because the back of your neck is very vulnerable during these night time sweats so your aim is to keep your hair up and away from the neck. You then need to get hold of a large sheet of plastic and lay it over your under sheet and pillow case after which you should place large bath towels all over. By the side of your bed on the floor have a clean night dress, a pile of clean replacement towels and one spare for drying yourself off and some fresh swipes. This will all mean that when you wake up during the middle of the night after having had a hot flush and feeling absolutely drenched that instead of half an hour of trying to remedy the incident you can sort it all out and make yourself feel comfortable again within five minutes and hopefully get back to sleep again. The norm is usually only one hot flush during the night and so once you have gotten over the first one you can be fairly sure that you will be able to settle down and sleep comfortably for the rest of the night without having to go through another hot flush!!
If you on top of it all live in a hot country, it is a must, if your budget can afford it, that you have an air conditioner installed in your bedroom because this will help you no end and I who have lived in southern Spain (a very hot country now due to global warming) for the last twenty odd years have found that my air conditioner helped my nights no end to be much more comfortable . I ended up up suffering from hot flushes for nine years in all but don't get alarmed because most women, if they do indeed end up suffering from hot flushes, as some lucky ones never do, only end up going through no more than two years of this torment.
You have to keep saying to yourself that like all things in life whether bad or good, that they wont last forever and they don't. If you are one of the unlucky few that do end up suffering from hot flushes just keep on reminding yourself that one day all of this will come to an end and when it does end you will retake your life with so much enthusiasm and joy because there is nothing better to teach you how to enjoy the good times than having gone through bad times !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!