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5 Things Not to Say to a Woman Having a Hot Flash

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Hot flashes not only make a woman physically uncomfortable but she’s often embarrassed if others are nearby. To help her through those awkward moments, here are five things not to say to a woman having a hot flash:

1. Just pretend you’re in a sauna: Saunas are relaxing when you choose to step into one, but a hot flash is not one of those occasions. Do offer her a cold drink and some refreshing words. Consider complimenting her necklace, her wit, her hairstyle, or her brilliant mind.  

2. Did you just run a race? Your face is so red! Facial flushing is hard to hide. You can assume a woman is well aware of her red face, so there’s no purpose in mentioning it. Here’s an encouraging hot flash note for women runners and other athletes as they race through menopause: “Runners are used to feeling heated,” says Dr. Susan Read, M.P.H., an ob/gyn and menopause expert at the University of Washington. “They’re used to that feeling of sweating and don’t shy away from it.”

3. Why are you so nervous? You’re sweating bullets. Sweating, especially on the upper body, neck, and face, often occurs during a hot flash. That’s enough to make a girl nervous! More extreme hot flashes can bring on anxiety and even panic attacks, so in some ways, yes, she may be nervous. The Cleveland Clinic advises women to “find a self-calming skill such as yoga, meditation or slow, deep breathing.” You can offer her calm words and encouragement, and give her some space if she seems to prefer privacy.

4. I didn’t think you were old enough for hot flashes! WebMD reports: “Some women reach menopause at an unusually early age – before 45 or so – with no known cause, which could be the result of an inherited issue or a one-time genetic mutation.” No matter how old a woman is when the Change of Life begins, menopause can stir up sad or scary thoughts about aging. Women have varying responses to comments on their age. Share a funny story or joke on another topic instead.

5. You can’t be hot! It’s freezing in here: Don’t rub it in with a statement like this. A woman suffering from hot flashes may want to turn down the heat or turn up the air conditioner. If you’re willing to bundle up, this will be a help to your partner, friend, or co-worker who is feeling like a furnace. In case you’re looking for ideas, cooling necklaces, pillows, and towels, nightclothes that wick moisture, and personal fans make great gifts for a hot flashing woman.

Reviewed March 7, 2016
by Michele Blacksberg RN

Read more in Your Guide for Menopause & Hot Flash Treatment Options

Menopause and Running: What You Need to Know. Runner’s World. Retrieved February 29, 2016. http://www.runnersworld.com/run-matters/menopause-and-running-what-you-need-to-know

Non-hormonal Ways to Cope with Hot Flashes and Menopause. Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved March 6, 2016.​ https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases_conditions/hic-what-is-perimenopause-menopause-postmenopause/hic-non-hormonal-ways-to-cope-with-hot-flashes-and-menopause

When Will You Reach Menopause? WebMD. Retrieved February 29, 2016. http://www.webmd.com/menopause/features/menopause-age-prediction

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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