A "good enough" mom muses about alpha moms, adoption, computers, the State Of The World, Internet quirkiness, and the Kosmik All
Among the joys of perimenopause and early official menopause, OmegaMom has found, is the Hot Flash. Picture this: OmegaMom is happily ensconsed in bed with Mr. OmegaMom, snuggled up in the spoon position. Both are snoozing happily (Mr. OmegaMom snoring very loudly--but, since OmegaMom has [hopefully] fallen asleep before him, the snoring is no problem). Suddenly, OmegaMom rouses from her oh-so-restful sleep. There's a feeling, described in all the medical literature as an "aura", and OmegaMom, drowsy and resentful, knows that It is coming. What happens next is hard to describe--sort of a "gathering" inside the body--and then, WHAMMO BLAMMO, the heat sweeps across the body, up the torso, to the head, and it feels like OmegaMom's body has turned into a marvelously efficient furnace and the top of her head into a Roman candle. Flop--OmegaMom retracts from the spoon position to lie on her back. Flap--Off go the covers. Smoosh--Up go the long sleeves (if there are any). Whoosh--If it's a real doozy, off goes the pajama top. After this little dance, OmegaMom lies there radiating heat like a sun going nova. At this point, OmegaMom is no longer drowsy, but wide awake and most irritated. Then comes the second part of the dance, wherein the hot flash retreats and one is left shivering and cold. (Takes about five minutes.) Whip--Back on comes the top, or down go the sleeves. Flap--Back come the covers. Flip--OmegaMom twists back into the spoon position. Lather, rinse, repeat. On a bad night, this happens once an hour (I have checked the clock on this one.) The result is sleep deprivation. Oh, yeah, and in the summer, when it's hot, you get this lovely addition of sweat pouring off your body. All over. Leaving the sheets and pajamas nastily damp and chill. Bleah. Interestingly enough, I don't suffer too badly from daytime hot flashes. Perhaps it's simply the relative alertness factor: During the daytime, you're wide awake, you feel it coming on, you quick shuck a layer (such as a blazer), deal with the heat, then quick put the layer back on. Also, when you're awake, your body temperature is more varying anyway, as you switch from sitting at a desk (low temp) to walking down a hall (high temp) to reaching to grab reference books (medium temp). So, unlike other women, daytime hot flashes are a minor inconvenience for me--I don't worry about bright red face and deep pit stains while in the midst of board meetings (har, I'm not paid enough to do board meetings, thank heavens!). Women's response to menopause varies wildly. Some women (lucky bitches!) don't have hot flashes at all. OmegaGranny, for instance, doesn't recall hot flashes, so I'm assuming she didn't have to deal with them; she, instead, dealt with lower back cramps. It's also well-known that women in Asian countries don't suffer too much from hot flashes (though it seems that coming to the U.S. can change this pattern, which is why some folks think a diet high in soy or soy supplements can help). Other women are on the high end, like oh-so-lucky OmegaMom, and have them "up to 10 times per day" or "up to once per hour". Medicos have lots of theories about what causes hot flashes, ranging from dropping estrogen levels to norepinephrine receptor issues in the brain, and researchers are seeking ways of relief for us poor hot-flash-prone wimminfolk. Bless their pointy heads! (And their greedy pocketbooks.) The one reassuring thing that my quick googling of hot flash mechanism brought to my attention was this study, which notes that women who suffer from hot flashes have less of a cognitive decline during menopause. Hah! Take that, you lucky, hot-flash-free bitches! OmegaMom leaves the room, muttering a snotty "Neener, neener, neener!" under her breath.
posted by Kate @ 5/05/2006 06:30:00 PM  
  • At 5/05/2006 08:16:00 PM, Blogger Julie Pippert said…

    May I suggest the clip fan? Clip it at the perfect angle on your bedside and when you feel it coming, WHOOSH air helps diffuse the heat lamp that has replaced yor head. Oh yes...also, the ice chest. With wet, cold rag in it, laying on top of ice. The New Chapter (hmm better double check that brand name) One Woman's Daily is great stuff. I can't take it every day, but every two or three seems to help. (The hormone fluctuations wreck havoc on my digestive tract...making the breaking down of vitamins complicated.) I'm leery of the herbs (past bad experiences), but I hear good things about those Omega 3s.

    Oh and...much sympathy on the hot flashes.

  • At 5/06/2006 06:26:00 AM, Blogger Miss Cellania said…

    You CANNOT be going thr5ough menopause! You are too young! Aren't you younger than me?

  • At 5/06/2006 06:39:00 AM, Anonymous Gigi said…

    If you try food based vitamins/minerals/etc. they should be easier on your stomach.

    I hope that you feel better!

  • At 5/06/2006 06:28:00 PM, Blogger Carol Anne said…

    At least you don't have:

    1) a husband that naturally radiates an ungodly amount of heat and adds to the irritation of a hot flash, and

    2) a migraine preceding the flash or hitting immediately afterwards.

    I've also found the less hopping around I do, the better things go. Move slowly, don't flap. Just glow.

    Your fellow sufferer, CA

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About Me
Name: OmegaMom
Home: Southwest
About Me: Middle-aged mom of a 4-year-old adopted from China. Love science, debate, good SF and fantasy, hiking, music of almost every style. Lousy housekeeper. "Good enough" mom.
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