Talking hormones: It’s time we had a chat about hot flushes

hot flushes

I haven’t done a hormone update for a while, so I’m jumping on now, because boy-oh-boy do I have an update for you.

Let’s talk hot flushes (or flashes as some people call them).

I’ve had the odd few, nothing that really bothers me and nothing consistent. I try and do everything I can to keep them under control; no caffeine, try to cut stress (bloody tough in 2020!), not much alcohol (that’s easy for me, I’m not a big drinker), organic bamboo sheets (helps regulate my temperature), cool room, lots of cold water, no (or little) spicy food, cut down on fatty and sugary food. I’m exercising, practicing mindfulness, doing Pilates. etc – I’ve done it all and it definitely helps. However….

I’m even hanging upside down! I’d do anything to help ease the hot flushes.

This past week, things have changed. I’m getting them at night, at the same time each night – around 3am – I wake up very hot, sweaty, and basically feel like my body is on fire. What the actual f**k is this all about? I did have a blood test and my estrogen has definitely declined. Thanks perimenopause – explains a hell of a lot!

However, I wasn’t really prepared for these regular nightly occurrences.

I can’t complain though, because as soon as they come, they go. It’s over in a heartbeat (well, in about a minute or two).

I just get up, open all the windows, I don’t care if it’s arctic (the hub knows better than to complain) and that seems to do the trick – for now. I am acutely aware these could get worse. My mother has been telling me her war stories – which to be honest is not helping. Mental note: don’t ask her again. She is seriously putting the shits up me, and I think she’s kind of enjoying it.

Now, here’s something that I found out by accident. I have been taking folic acid all my life. I take it because I was born with mild spina bifida. My hot flushes have not been as bad as other people’s (because I have heard horror stories and they are bad) and I was curious as to why. This could be the answer, although it may not be; it could just be that I’m in for a rude awakening and my hot flushes at 3am will start to last longer and become more frequent. But in the meantime, this is interesting…

I’m also eating well. Lots of greens (okay, and having the odd bit of chocolate and the odd hot chocolate – I’ve got to live!)
Here’s what I found out

Folic acid, or vitamin B-9, is said to reduce hot flashes. Hot flashes occur because of disturbances in brain signals. These disturbances are caused by a decrease in estrogen. Folic acid works almost as well as estrogen replacement therapy.

Could this be why my hot flushes aren’t as bad as other peoples? Don’t get me wrong, I have them, but just not as bad, says me who is sweating up a storm as I write this. I’m unsure if it’s a hot flush or the 40-degree outside.

Righto, I’m off to meditate before bed, put some whale music on, pop some lavender under my silk pillowcase, chant to the hot flush gods, and hope like hell I don’t get another 3am wake-up call. Oh hell, I may even do a headstand while lighting incense….(just kidding, but if it works…)

Here’s to us women, it’s a struggle sometimes, but we will get through it, and they will pass.

The co-founder of 50SoWhat has been in publishing for most of her working life. She was general manager of successful boutique media publishing house in New Zealand for several years and boasts an impeccable sales, marketing and management background. When she’s not road-testing the latest cosmetic procedures, or investigating the hottest lifestyle, travel, fashion and beauty trends for over 45’s, Jo is often back home catching up with family and friends, or working on her golf swing!