a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Things They Don't Tell You #57: Cold Flashes

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Things They Don't Tell You #57: Cold Flashes

SUMMARY: Menopause mysteries

And now another digression from dogs per se.

I know that I've been having hot flashes lately (or "warming trends" or "torsal warming" or other euphemisms). On the other hand--the weather has been warming up and, with temps often into the 80s, it's sometimes hard to say whether I'm indeed having a hot flash or have merely exerted myself just enough, somehow, to break into a sweat and start tearing clothing off left, right, up, and down. But sometimes it's very obvious that it's a hot flash.

I've heard about hot flashes for many years. I've expected them.

But, now, here are some anomalies:
  • We've been out hiking on a warm day and my metabolism (of recent years with more activity, anyway) generally keeps my body temperature at a reasonable level. We go into a restaurant for lunch. I am suddenly so cold that I think the air conditioning must be on full blast, and I go back out to the car to get my fleece sweater, put it on (it's still hot outside), and return to the table. Within minutes, I'm no longer cold, I remove the sweater, and I'm good for the rest of the meal's hour.
  • I'm in agility class. We're running (literally) around in our Hawaiian shirts, it's so warm, plus it's Jimmy Buffet night. It's warm. I gradually realize that I'm so cold that my fingers have become numb enough that I can't really handle small dog treats comfortably. I complain about it cooling off, and they look at me like I'm nuts. I hold up my fingers for a friend to feel, and she's floored at how cold they are. Five minutes later, I'm fine and comfortable in shirt sleeves like the rest of them.
  • At night, I'm lying comfortably in bed. Then it becomes very, very cold. I've got the down comforter pulled up around me and I still can't get warm. Twenty minutes later, I'm fine again.
  • Many assorted episodes like this, and I jokingly comment that I'm not really experiencing hot flashes--I'm xperiencing cold flashes and the rest of the time just FEELS like hot flashes in comparison.
  • So here it is, a pretty warm day. I've been pretty active off and on all day, often in the sun. Sometimes I'm really hot for no apparent reason--then just merely warm (that would be a hot flash). But about 20 minutes ago, I started feeling so cold that I went upstairs to put on my sweater, thinking, "good, it's cooling down this evening." I walk past a thermometer: It's 80 degrees in my house. Five minutes later, I peel off the sweater.

SOOOO it occurs to me to google "cold flashes". Sure enough! The web is filled with people saying, "thank the gods, it's not just me, I'd never heard of cold flashes before, but now I see that other people are experiencing it, too!"

So there ya go, ladies (and interested gentlemen): it could be cold flashes along with the hot. What joy! What entertainment! Maybe I just never listened to friends and relatives when they told me they were having cold flashes? Dunno. Anyway--there you have it.


  1. Haven't experienced the joy of a cold flash yet...I'm always cold, so I doubt that I'll notice them when and if they come. Definitely have had my hot flashes tho...boy are those a sh*)load of fun!!!

    And, don't forget mine started in the mid-30's when I began experiencing perimenopause..."the change before the change"...so it's not enough all the other crap we women go through from age 11 on, we now have "perimenopause" thrown in for good measure!!!

  2. I always thought the cold flash was just relative to the hot flash. At least that is how I seemed to have experienced them. I don't know that I ever had one that wasn't followed or following a hot flash. Anyway, there is light at the other end of the tunnel. I am close to being done with all the hot flashesa nd cold flashes and sleepless nights and all the other miseries of being female and getting old and I hope it brings a new burst of energy with it, cause I am sick of being tired.

    Sorry for the big whine. I woke up cranky. Ray got out during last night's thunderstorm and while retrieved quickly by a neighbor and returned, I have to figure out how he's getting out of the fence.


  3. Ugh, is this what I have to look forward too? I'm already cold all the time. Hopefully in a few years they'll come up with some good drugs.

  4. Historically, I've been too cold more often than many people--seems to run in my family. But in the last half dozen years or so, I've felt much more comfortable much more often. I've attributed it to being much more physically active and therefore my metabolism has evened out. That's my theory and I'm sticking to it. Maybe it was perimenopause--when, best as I can tell, random things change that you don't have other explanations for-- But I sure notice these cold flashes! And the hot ones, too.

    I haven't (so far that *I've* noticed) become any more or less cranky or irritable or otherwise any more unstable than my usual self. But I don't know that I'd be the first one to notice. I mean, it's taken me at least a couple of months to figure out that "cold flashes" weren't just a joke of my own, ha ha?

    They do have drugs. And since they've just come out with yet another study on the effects of hormones in "post-menopausal women" (how did I get old enough to work my way in there?), this one saying that there is in fact NOT a problem with taking hormone replaement therapy to relieve these symptoms as long as you take them only as long as you need them, whatever THAT means. I'll tell ya, I'm about ready to go check it out with my doc.

  5. Wait until you start getting them at 3 and 5 am every freekin' morning. It's so regular I could set my watch by them (if I had a watch, that is). They don't seem to happen to me during the day, though.
    Isn't it grand being a woman?!