When a hot flash hits, your life is instantly interrupted. That flash of heat not only sparks a fiery response in you, but it can ignite reactions among family members, too. Here are tips to help your family handle your hot flashes in a positive, helpful way.
Be Informative: Give young children a simple explanation such as this one from WebMD: “A hot flash… is a quick feeling of heat and sometimes a red, flushed face and sweating.” With older kids and partners, you can offer a more detailed explanation. Encourage them to do their own Internet research on hot flashes, too.
Be Open: The North American Menopause Society reports that “menopause-related hot flashes typically follow a consistent pattern unique to each woman.” Be specific about your hot flashes. What are your first inklings one is coming on? Then do you sweat? Feel queasy? Lose your ability to concentrate? Your family needs details in order to understand what you’re experiencing.
Be Specific: Tell family members exactly how they can help during a hot flash. Would you like them to stop talking to you? Turn down the TV? Get you a glass of ice water or a cold cloth? Consider establishing a simple verbal or visual clue that announces the onset of a hot flash. Your family will then know to spring into action if that’s the plan.
Be Reassuring: Young kids often think they’ve caused a parent’s discomfort. Make sure they know your hot flashes aren’t their fault. Older kids, teenagers, and even your partner may be embarrassed by your hot flashes, especially when one occurs in public. Tell them there’s no need to be embarrassed. Explain that hot flashes are a natural process in a woman’s life.
Be Fun: Humor helps! Make up a joke or two like: “I heat up faster than our new grill.” One woman sings a jingle when her hot flash ends: “So long, farewell, I love to see you go.” Thank your family for their help and support. And consider, on occasion, celebrating a hot flash with a chilly treat such as ice cream or a viewing of the movie Frozen.
Menopause and Hot Flashes. WebMD. Retrieved February 7, 2016. http://www.webmd.com/menopause/guide/menopause-hot-flashes
Hot Flashes. North American Menopause Society. Retrieved February 7, 2016. http://www.menopause.org/for-women/sexual-health-menopause-online/causes-of-sexual-problems/hot-flashes
Reviewed February 15, 2016
by Michele Blacksberg RN