What middle-aged woman hasn't begged the question: Is it warm in here or is it me?
That hot, hot feeling that seems to come over you at the most inopportune times is a natural part of life: hot flashes. But they can be avoided.
The first step is figuring out what brings them on. Personal triggers could include stress, alcohol, caffeine, diet pills, spicy or hot food, hot tubs, saunas, hot showers, hot beds, hot rooms, hot weather and smoking.
Even if you can't avoid hot flashes, you can survive them. Here are some tips from breastcancer.org:
Dress in layers, so you can peel off one layer after another as you get warmer.
Don't wear wool or synthetics, and be wary of silk. That leaves cotton, linen, rayon, and more cotton.
Avoid turtlenecks. Stick to open-neck shirts.
Keep ice water at hand that you can sip to cool down.
Whenever possible, lower the thermostat. Maybe it's time for a decent air conditioner, or a ceiling fan or portable one.
Wear cotton pajamas or nightgown. If you perspire a lot at night, your nightclothes are easier to change than the sheets, which should be cotton and not synthetic.
Take a cool shower before bed.
Health Tip: Understanding Perimenopause
Perimenopause describes the period of time just before menopause starts, says the National Women's Health Information Center.
Menopause occurs when you haven't had a menstrual period in 12 consecutive months. During perimenopause, hormone production by the ovaries decreases and a woman loses the ability to conceive.
Perimenopause usually occurs between ages 45 and 55, though the center says it may happen as early as the 30s. Symptoms of perimenopause include changes in menstruation, hot flashes and night sweats, insomnia, irritability, changes in mood and changes in hair growth.
Eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and practicing stress-management techniques can help some women cope with symptoms of perimenopause, according to the center.