Menopause: hot flushes – what’s it all about?

Menopause, Hot Flushes – What’s it all about?

Menopause: hot flushes – what’s it all about?

At the age of 46 my body decided to commence the first signs of impending menopause with intense hot flushes. This was a totally unwanted, negative change that in my view I was definitely too young for!

This negativity is reinforced when you tap into Google (as I did) – ‘menopause and hot flushes’, where the below searches describe the possibilities a woman may go through, experience and read about during this brand new cycle of her life -

  • ‘The bothersome symptoms of menopause’
  • ‘The bane of a woman’s life’
  • ‘Surviving menopause’

I myself was totally on board with such an approach, as are many of my female work colleagues, who regularly share how awful menopause is for them, and yet in spite of this, our often irregular periods and intense hot flushes just become an accepted part of our lives.

I don’t know about you, but there was no way I was going to ‘give into’ this process without a fight. So I totally rejected the fact that I had to (and as per the current reading material and shared women’s conversations), ‘tolerate’ the rising heat impacting my life, day and night.

The Internet is full of such shared perceptions, with different magic cures to relieve these symptoms. And not personally being keen on Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) due to all the possible side effects, I eagerly tried every potion and herbal remedy to eliminate the flushes. To my relief these worked, and so I got on with life without being reminded that ‘menopause was actually happening’.

Unfortunately this did not last, and within a few years I was again faced with the dreaded flushes, particularly at night. Stopping short of stuffing icepacks in my bra and undies, I was at a loss as to how to banish them from my life.

By this time I was 50 and had started to question how I was living as a woman, which led me to make some quite significant changes that resulted in my hot flushes diminishing. This questioning also opened up the issue in regards to how I really felt about myself as a woman going through the menopause.

Here are my top 5 things I learned, and also learned to gently embrace:

Taking care of and nurturing myself before offering that to anyone else. In other words, not sacrificing (‘always getting the burnt chop’!).

For articles on Nurturing & Healing click here

Listening to my body in relation to what it may need in regards to food, sleep and exercise (obviously from my prior approach with the flushes, listening to my body back then was not my strong point!).

For articles on Food click here

Honouring what I feel and expressing this when appropriate to others (i.e. not persisting with the habit of feeling angry just because I didn't share how I was feeling ... and then ending up having a moan about the person to another).

For articles on psychological well-being click here

Stopping Mothering!! everyone else and start mothering me (a bit of a challenge since I have 7 kids and always liked to mother not just them, but also my partner and a few other unnamed friends), and allow them to be responsible for themselves – since most were of legal age!

For articles on Relationships click here

Making 'Friends' with the Hot Flushes and learning to see them as a way that my body clears and deals with some of my previous (not so loving) choices (a bit like when you have a cold and the body produces mucus to clear out the yukky stuff!).

For further articles on Living Medicine click here

From embracing these 5 things, and without always getting it right, menopause for me has gone from an experience of ‘surviving’ to now thriving. And maybe the ‘new hot’ we should be connecting to has not so much to do with these hot flushes, but instead is the hotness of us ladies embracing ourselves as older women who have a depth of beauty and wisdom that this world actually needs!

There may be uncomfortable and stressful symptoms with menopause that give it a poor name, but this time is actually a fresh, brand new cycle of change and transition for women that may be embraced – not looked down on with any fear or dread.

For every woman experiencing this change, Menopause marks her entry into her grace-full ‘elder age’, which offers an opportunity and a time for the woman to truly come into her own self – her womanliness blossoming for all to enjoy and benefit from.

Filed under

Women's healthCyclesMenopauseAgeingEldersHot flushes

  • Photography: Dean Whitling, Brisbane based photographer and film maker of 13 years.

    Dean shoots photos and videos for corporate portraits, architecture, products, events, marketing material, advertising & website content. Dean's philosophy - create photos and videos that have magic about them.