Is Menopause Worse in the Summer?
Spring is in the air and after being in a continuous lockdown for what seems like a lifetime at this stage, it’s a welcomed change that will hopefully help us feel a little better.
I was particularly worried about the second lockdown after being locked up or restricted for such a long time and starting to feel more and more anxious as the national and regional lockdowns got extended over and over again. The past week as the weather improved and a way out the restrictions was announced, I started to feel a sense of hope for a nice summer, a time to celebrate perhaps the end of such difficult times.
But for women going through the menopause the change in season can bring with it a whirlwind of other triggers and emotions that we have to deal with.
Does hot weather affect the menopause?
Interestingly spring-time according to a study seems to be the beginning of the menopause for most women statistically but that’s not where it ends. The time of the year also affects the severity of symptoms for some women.
The chances of hot flashes are 66% higher in July than January.
The chances of night sweats are 50% higher in June than November
The chances of sleep troubles are 25% higher in July than January.
These changes are believed to correlate with the amount of daylight hours and the production of melatonin that is best known for helping you sleep and regulate many other functions in the body that arise when estrogen drops in the body.
An increase in temperature also makes it harder for us to regulate our temperature leading to increases in uncomfortable hot sweats and night sweats.
Other Symptom Trends
The study we spoke about studied 995 women recording their symptoms over a period of 10 years. They found that symptoms increased 4 years before the last period and that there was a very significant jump in symptoms right at the time before the final menstrual period. So just when you think things are getting worse actually means it could mean that you are coming to the end of your periods.
What this means for you is that this can be a good indicator of your last period.
Summer Cool -Down Tips
So how can we best prepare for the hot summer months ahead and best enjoy the easing of the restrictions?
- Wear cotton clothes that are good quality and breathable. It’s easy to get carried away buying your favourite holiday dress but always read the labels! Always opt for cotton and not plastic materials.
- Drink cold drinks and have one to hand at all times (ready in the fridge) or perhaps freeze a bottle of water the night before going on a long day trip.
- Keep the room temperature cool during the night, consider a cooling weighted blanket! They are also great for anxiety as they imitate a hug!
- If you wake up in the night, don’t toss and turn, but get up and read a book for half an hour before trying to sleep again
- If you feel a hot flush coming, try to relax: Practice breathing techniques which have been proven to help reduce menopause symptoms such as mindfulness meditation.
What-else can I do?
Don’t forget that certain foods can worsen symptoms too such as smoking, caffeine, spicy foods, alcohol etc. The problem with the summer is that we often also increase our alcohol consumption by socialising and going out more.
I you are serious about reducing your symptoms and increasing your comfort, try and follow a clean diet (meat, veg, fruit, nuts etc.), cut out spicy foods, sugar, & drink lots of water but also try to give that favourite glass of wine or G&T a break and see how you get on.
Your Feminapause Team