Feeling hot? Can’t sleep at night from tossing the blankets on and off? Sweating during meetings? Cardigan going on and off all day?
You’re not alone – a whopping three-quarters of women experience hot flushes during the menopausal transition (the years leading up to the last menstrual period, during which your menstrual cycle starts to change) and in the years after those periods finally end.
Research from large population studies on women in midlife consistently show that the majority of women will experience hot flushes or night sweats during and after the menopause. You may have heard that non-Caucasian women suffer from fewer hot flushes, in general. This is true, however these women tend to complain more of other physical symptoms such as joint pain and insomnia. Whether or not there is a true genetic difference or a cultural difference with symptom perception and reporting is still unclear.
So if you’re carrying a personal fan around with you, don’t despair. Chances are your friends and colleagues are too, as are millions of women around the world. Most hot flushes resolve on their own after a period of time, so have hope. For most women, they do not last forever (although the average persistence is five years… sorry to be the bearer of bad news!) In the meantime, evidence is emerging about the effectiveness of mind-body approaches such as mindfulness, cognitive behavioural therapies and even yoga. Stay cool!