About Menopause - 4 minute read

Hot Flashes, Hotter than Hell. Causes and Symptoms

For the better part of my life, I've always been the person who was cold. Yes, I was that chica who complained about the heat not being high enough in the winter and the air being too low in the summer. I would have much rather had the windows opened so I could feel the warm summer breeze. Comforters and thick shawls were my friends. Being warm and cozy gave me joy.

My mid-30's brought that mess to a screeching halt. The world of regulated internal body temperatures, which I treasured dearly, had turned on me like Regina George in “Mean Girls”. This couldn't be my life. The worst part about all of this was I had, absolutely, nobody who understood what I was enduring. Not even my mami, who had undergone a full hysterectomy at age 30 without seeing ANY symptoms of menopause. I've heard of menopause and being perimenopausal (which I am) referred to as “my own private hell” by women like my grandmother's age. I never imagined I would be affected at such a young age.

Being peri-menopausal at 34 was more than an inconvenience. I never knew when “Hellfire”, my affectionate name for my hot flashes, would strike. I didn't have triggers so trying to predict when they'd hit me was a hard lesson in futility. I would go from diva to sweatbox in seconds and my hot flashes were relentless.

Picture it. *queue Sofia Petrillo from “The Golden Girls” *

Detroit. Thanksgiving 2010, my husband, daughter and I had gone to visit my family in Michigan. I was ecstatic to be home to celebrate the holiday as I didn't go home very much. We lived in Connecticut at the time. My brother-in-law surprised us with two season tickets to the Detroit Lions Thanksgiving game. It's a Detroit tradition but I digress. The frigid temperatures didn't stop us from donning our most stylish digs to the game. Hell, I had even gotten my hair straightened for the festivities. My blowout was silky and shiny and since it was brick outside, I didn't have to worry about my hair sweating out. I was destined to be great that day. 

The Lions were winning, we had great seats and the half-time performer was Kid Rock. What could possibly go wrong? Thought you'd never ask. Kid Rock took the stage and belted out his hits. The show was over the top. The crowd went crazy and then it happened. Apparently, somebody thought it would be a good idea to add fireworks and pyrotechnics to the performance. And pretty soon, my internal thermometer stated to rise. I tried my best to do all the goofy, holistic remedies like thinking cool thoughts, breathing slowly and being still. They failed miserably. Next thing I knew, I was in my black sweater dress and Ugg boots with sweat running down my thighs, chest and face. I had on tights for Christ's sake so needless to say I started itching as well.

“Sweet Home Alabama” seemed to go on forever as I thought to myself, “If I could fan myself, my hair won't sweat out. And this sweat storm on my face will cease.”

The God of Menses, obviously, had other plans for my coif. As if on queue, my crown started to heat up like a cheap hot plate. I tried my best to get my overgrown bangs out of my face by tossing my hair back like I was the unpaid extra in a shampoo commercial so my hair would stay dry. That didn't go so well. In a matter of five minutes, my entire scalp was on fire and my hair was starting to rise. My hair shriveled up by the nanosecond and it began to revert back to a curly afro as Kid Rock ended his set. My hair was now a total disaster and we still had a whole two quarters to go in the game. #fml 

I, literally, wanted to just wait in the bathroom until the game was over. The television cameras were filming and panning the stadium for random fans. I did not want to be caught dead on camera with this damned fro-out.

Finally, the game was over and I, practically, flew over the seats to get to the car. My husband, sister and brother-in-law had jokes the entire ride home. We made it back to my sister's to eat dinner with our parents and children. My self-heater stayed off for the rest of the night but that didn't stop me from washing my hair and pulling it back into a bun. It stayed in a bun for the duration of our stay. 

By the way, it was a crappy night for all. The Lions lost.



Continue the Conversation

Keka, I can understand not having identified hot flash triggers. A few weeks ago, I decided to keep a diary of everything I drank and ate for a week. I also noted when I had hot flashes and I tried to find correlations; there didn’t seem to be too many trigger points for the onset of my hot flashes. I concluded that my body was doing whatever the hell it wanted! That’s the downside to menopause…and perimenopause…I guess. Best of luck to you in your Big M journey.

— Valerie

Thank you! This is my 10th year being PM and I wish my hormones would pick a side. lol

— Keka Araujo

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