Menopause brings with it many symptoms. This article will discuss hot flashes only which can have a devastating effect on a woman’s life. Following is my experience with hot flashes.
All of a sudden, my body will start to tingle and feel as though all of the nerve endings inside me are jumping up and down. Another way to describe it is that it feels like hundreds of little explosions or electric shocks are going off inside my body. It makes me want to jump out of my skin. Within about 15 seconds, the heat starts. It goes from hot to very hot. It feels like what the inside of a car might feel like that has been sitting out in hot summer sun with all the windows rolled up. Most of the heat is felt from the waist up. First my chest gets red from the heat, then my neck, then my face. The heat keeps increasing. Within about 5 minutes, the heat is at its most intense. I have sweat dripping down my neck, my chest, and my back. My hair is moist. My clothes are wet. It’s hard to breathe. I feel like I’m smothering. I feel like I’m in an oven. It’s almost too much to bear. Then the heat slowly starts to fade. After a few more minutes it’s gone and my temperature is back to normal, although my clothes are wet. Finally, relief, albeit short lived. Within an hour, another hot flash starts. And this goes on 24 hours a day.
At night when trying to sleep, the same thing happens. I’ve heard these episodes described as night sweats, but they feel exactly the same as hot flashes. And each one wakes me up, first with the tingling, then the intense heat. When it fades away, I’m left with wet pajamas and wet sheets.
Another symptom I experience is something I have not heard much about. Even when not suffering from hot flashes, my body temperature is higher than it’s ever been in my life. I can’t seem to get cool. I can walk outside in short sleeves and not feel cool, even when everyone else is wearing jackets. I can be in frigid air conditioning and not feel cool, even when everyone else is shivering.
This has been going on for a year and a half, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I asked my doctor when I might expect some relief from these hot flashes and she said it was hard to tell and that for some women they never go away. There are hormones to take that carry risks. There are “natural treatments”, none of which have worked for me. What this very unpleasant experience has left me with is wishing I had my period back.