By: Red Hot Mamas
Published: October 16, 2011
Red Hot Mamas unites with women across the world to celebrate World Menopause Day on October 18th. On this special designated day, we’re focusing on vasomotor symptoms… otherwise known as hot flashes and night sweats, or what I call them “the devilish duo”. I truly hope that our conversation will not heat up to the point where we spontaneously combust at once due to our rapid rises in body temperature!
Hot flashes and night sweats are two of the most common menopause symptoms. In fact, as many as 75% of women going through menopause experience hot flashes – sudden, brief increases in their body temperature. Hot flashes, if they occur at night can lead to sleeplessness and insomnia. In about 30% of women, these symptoms can be severe. They can interfere with normal daily functioning affecting our body, mind and spirit.
Prevalence varies throughout the world with 1 in 5 women affected in Asia, in contrast to 74% of women reported in Europe. If you’re in England, you probably call them hot flushes instead of hot flashes. Regardless, the symptoms are the same. A hot flash is characteristically a feeling of warmth that spreads through the upper body and face that is usually accompanied by a rapid heartbeat, perspiration and a subsequent chilled feeling as the hot flash subsides. Night sweats are hot flashes that occur at night that often make it difficult to get a good night’s rest.
As our hormone levels drop at menopause a complex array of symptoms develop like the notorious hot flash and night sweatsSome of us also fall victim to developing bone loss (osteoporosis) caused by estrogen loss and may also be at increased risk for another serious health condition, heart disease. It’s important for you to understand your risk factors associated with these conditions and how they may relate to menopause. You should also learn ways minimize these health problems through healthy lifestyle changes, i.e., diet, exercise and stress management.
The majority of women experience menopause naturally at around 51 years of age, give or take 5 years. Some women may experienced induced menopause due to surgery , a hysterectomy with removal of ovaries (oophorectomy), or by radiation, chemotherapy or certain drugs.
The conversation has definitely evolved since the 80’s. We’re not nearly as timid to discuss topics like hot flashes and night sweats. In fact, midlife women are making themselves heard and a new demand for up-to-date, reliable information has emerged. Utilizing the media, conferences, public awareness messages, menopause is no longer taboo topic. Women are encouraged to speak with their doctors. And they need to have a complete knowledge of how the menopausal process works and learn ways in how to deal with it as effectively as possible.
In the last couple of years, World Menopause Day has seen some incredible breakthroughs in many countries. Healthcare professionals have used the day to promote awareness with their peers and the public. Unfortunately, some cultures still see womens’ health issues as less important or not open for discussion. The main goal of World Menopause Day is to begin and further the conversation about menopause.
As women we are finally being validated and receiving access to proper treatments for conditions that are very real and affect us in a variety of ways. The more healthcare professionals become informed about menopause, the more the old attitudes will dissipate leaving women more comfortable discussing how menopause affects them. It will take more than just this one day, but it is a very important step in continuing this invaluable conversation about our health.
The good news is, you no longer have to suffer relentlessly through the sweats! Safe and effective treatment options are available and we encourage more women to seek help from their physicians to learn what’s best for their particular menopause health situations. World Menopause Day is aimed at directing attention to the quality of life challenges that many women face at menopause; this year, especially the devilish duo of hot flashes and night sweats.
We encourage women to have regular checkups, talk to their doctors and openly discuss menopause and how to handle symptoms. Ask for the information you need. Educate yourself about menopause. It is your responsibility. The more you know about your body, and how to care for it, the better your quality of life.
For more information about World Menopause Day visit, www.imsociety.org
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