It’s been years since you went through menopause but for some reason, you keep having hot flashes. You feel a wave of hotness flow over you. Your palms are sweaty and your heart is racing…
Contrary to what you might think, these flashes can actually be confused for another issue. That’s right: hot flashes are actually a big symptom, for men and women of all ages, of anxiety.
You may not have stopped and thought about it before but hot flashes during menopause can be exacerbated by high anxiety levels.
Anxiety isn’t just a feeling of worry, it’s the activation of your fight or flight system – the system that tells you when you need be fearful for your life. When your fight/flight system overacts to everyday situations, this may mean you’re struggling with anxiety.
Hot and cold flashes can cause distress but it can be easy to palm them off as the aftermath of menopause.
According to a report in the Journal of the North American Menopause Society anxiety levels play a significant part in a woman’s occurrence of hot flashes, and women who described themselves as “somewhat anxious” as a result of life stresses encountered 3 times more hot flashes in comparison to women who happen to be inside “normal” anxiety spectrum. The women with “higher” anxiety ratings experienced 5 times as many hot flashes.
So, what can you do about your hot and cold flashes?
Firstly, see your doctor. They will be able to establish if you do indeed have anxiety.
Next, try one of these 6 things:
- Take off some clothing – Even though your hot flashes are occurring in your body, you can get more comfortable by wearing light clothing or taking off layers.
- Control your thoughts – Hot flashes can be fuelled by straying thoughts. If you’re obsessing over something that triggers a hot flashes, find a way to distract yourself.
- Relax – Relaxation strategies can help to channel out your anxiety. If you feel a hot flash coming on, take a deep breath and focus on your breathing.
- Drink water slowly – Drinking water may not stop the hot flashes, but it will make you feel better when it’s over. Sweating can take a lot of hydration out of your body, and may also help to soothe you.
- Try herbal supplements – Passionflower and kava are known herbal remedies for anxiety and help to calm the nervous system. If nothing else, they can trick your mind into believing you are healing yourself.
- Get treatment – It’s always advised to see your doctor if something is not right. The only surefire way to beat anxiety is to see your doctor and/or psychologist.
At the end of the day, no one should go through hot flashes and discomfort whether it is during or after menopause. You should take any unusual symptoms seriously and be checked out so you can feel great and get on with life.
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