Hot Flush Survivor’s Guide to Heatwaves

A menopausal woman having a hot flush in front of a fan.

As we come into summer via a series of mini heatwaves we're looking for ways we can keep cool.  Hot weather is one of the major triggers of hot flushes, and makes cooling down from one even harder.  It can be reassuring to know that everyone will be suffering at times during the hot months, but it's no comparison to the experience of a menopause induced power surge; well-meaning empathisers may end up bearing the brunt of a flash of anger and heat at the same time!  With that in mind, here are some ways to keep your cool and keep the peace when the climate is testing your limits.

Having a portable battery powered fan allows you to immediately get a cooling effect and they're carried by lots of people nowadays, so you won't attract any more attention than anyone else feeling the heat.  If you want to channel your inner regency lady get a traditional paper or fabric fan and pretend you're at a Bridgerton ball!  You might not feel too alluring during a hot flush but a paper fan can help hide a red face and evaporate sweat at the same time.

If you're working from home then move around the house during the day to be in the coolest rooms.  Keep curtains drawn and only open windows on the cool side of the house to keep the sunlight and the heat out.  A bowl of cold water under the table to plunge your feet into when a hot flush strikes is a Zoom friendly cooling technique that won't distract anyone on the video call because no-one can see it.  Top it up with ice just as you'd top up a glass of water and dip your feet in as needed.

Adding cucumber and mint to water can not only make it seem more refreshing, but mint has been linked to cognitive function and feelings of alertness – great for those of us experiencing menopausal brain fog. You can even put the same mixture in a spray bottle for a cooling facial mist.  Freeze bottles of water overnight to take to the office for ice cold refreshment all day (you can even slip one into the small of your back for an extra cool hit when you need it most).

Exercise is really important for physical and mental health, especially during menopause, but trying to work out in the heat practically guarantees a hot flush.  Try lower impact exercises instead of intense cardio, or swap running for swimming.  Exercise in the cooler mornings and take a cool shower afterwards to help set you up for the day – try to avoid vigorous exercise in the afternoons and evenings as this can heat you up before bed and lead to more night sweats.

Dress in loose layers during the day, and at night.  Night sweats can be so much worse in the summer, so you may want to swap your duvet for a sheet and keep an ice pack under your pillow for an all night cooling effect when you flip your pillow.  You can even mist your sheet with the cold water on the hottest nights – as the water evaporates it will cool you down and if you use the same bottle as a minty facial mist it'll smell gorgeous too.  If sleep is eluding you try misting with lavender water – it's one of the most effective aromatherapy tools for sound sleep.

Eat light meals, avoiding spicy ingredients as these can be a real trigger for hot flushes.  Cucumber raita or tzatziki dips work really well with barbecue foods as a balance to the heat of the meat, and proximity to the grill!  Smaller, lighter meals mean easier digestion so don't lead to spikes in body heat. Drink plenty of water, and consider lacing it with fresh sage, which has been proven (1) to help with hot flushes.

Finally, have your MenoShake over ice for a tasty cooling drink, or try mixing it in an ice cream maker or adding it to yoghurt and freezing it for an indulgently delicious yet healthy iced treat.



1) Bommer, S., Klein, P. & Suter, A. First time proof of sage’s tolerability and efficacy in menopausal women with hot flushes. Adv Therapy 28, 490–500 (2011).

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published