Dealing with hot flashes in social situations

By Summer Cavalier-Banks

There is nothing worse than sitting with friends and feeling the beginnings of a hot flash. Menopause is tough enough without feeling socially inept, thanks to intense heat and inexplicable sweating. There have been many times when I wanted to disappear from a social gathering because of a hot flash. But, menopause is not the end of the world. Learn subtle ways to bow out of a conversation or social situation just long enough to recover from your personal sauna.

“Excuse me for just a few moments.” The most direct way to bow out of a social situation during a hot flash is to simply excuse yourself and leave. Most friends will assume you are headed to the bathroom. If a friend tries to come along, just tell them you want to be alone for a few minutes. Head to the bathroom, rinse your face with cool water and fan your face until the hot flash subsides. Back at the table, order a cold drink and enjoy time with friends.

“I think I dropped my contact.” Women who wear contacts have an advantage over other women in menopause. Simply reach under the table and tell friends you dropped your contact. Cover one eye and excuse yourself from the social situation. Head to the bathroom and rinse your face and neck in cool water. Stay put for a few minutes while the hot flash peaks and subsides. If you stay in the bathroom too long you can expect a friend or two to show up to make sure you’re feeling okay.

“Wow, it’s hot in here.” In a club, restaurant or bar large numbers of people in a smaller space can cause room temperatures to spike. Even if you are feeling comfortable, make a brief comment about how hot the room is before grabbing a napkin and blotting your face and neck. Order a cup of ice water and dip the napkin in the ice water to blot your face and neck. Fan your face with a piece of paper until the hot flash fades away.

“I think I’m having a hot flash.” If you are a woman like me, you don’t care if people know you are in menopause. When I feel the heat of a hot flash coming on, I simply acknowledge the heat and deal with the impending side effects. I try to carry a small fan in my purse for the worst symptoms and just about every social situation offers a plethora of napkins to blot away sweat.

Hot flashes are part of menopause. They occur in women taking estrogen replacement therapy and in women in perimenopause. There is no way around having a hot flash once in a while, but there are ways to bow out of social situations gracefully until the heat of the moment subsides.

The Editor’s Review:

Whenever I have a hot-flash I sit very still for about a minute and the heat seem to leave the same way it came. So, my advice is be still then use something cool. I still wish I never had to go thorough this phase.