Cold Flashes and Cold Flushes in Perimenopause

by WV Marshall

The mySysters team commutes between Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Chicago, Illinois. (It’s a long commute but it gets us out of the house.)

On one visit our UK hosts apologized for the dreary spring weather and we laughed.

Minneapolis got hit with two snowstorms while we were in Newcastle, totaling 14 inches of snow.

A bit of rain was fine by us.

Mother Nature Wins

Mother Nature, however, got the last laugh, as she always does.

Hours after returning to the U.S., Minnesota was engulfed in a record-breaking April blizzard, trapping us in our homes for three days.

Who changed the thermostat?

It was unexpected, unpleasant, and cold—much like when we’re minding our own business and suddenly we’re shivering and wondering what the h*ll happened.

The short answer? The body’s internal thermostat went wonky.

Why it happens

Estrogen levels decrease during perimenopause, and this hormonal imbalance affects the hypothalamus, the part of the brain regulating body temperature. See Perimenopause: What You Need to Know

Cold flashes/flushes are vasomotor symptoms (VMS), just like hot flashes/flushes.

The hypothalamus releases chemicals telling the body it’s overheating and the body gets rid of heat, leading to chills or cold feet.

Cold flashes/flushes might also be caused by poor blood circulation.

Women who’ve had breast cancer are more likely to suffer from both hot and cold flashes/flushes.

What to do

Keeping a microwavable heating pad, neck wrap, shoe inserts or slippers nearby will help.

Other suggestions to help include avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed, wearing socks to keep feet warm, and regular exercise.

Stress and anxiety may play a role both in causing cold flashes/flushes and in the severity.

(Show me a perimenopausal woman without stress or anxiety. I must meet this magical being.)

There are both hormonal and nonhormonal treatments available, so be sure to discuss your symptoms with a women’s health specialist.

mySysters is an app for women in perimenopause and menopause. Good Housekeeping and Woman’s Day named mySysters the Best App for Women in Perimenopause and a Must Have App for Women.