Traveling is stressful at the best of times. Throw in menopausal hot flashes and your vacation can become downright miserable. But it does not have to be. A little advance preparation can help minimize some of the discomfort and prevent hot flashes from spoiling your getaway.
Before you go:
Talk to your doctor about the frequency and severity of your hot flashes. Discuss your usual triggers or noticeable patterns. Traveling throws off your regular schedule, from changes to your daily routine to time zone shifts.
If you are currently taking hormone replacement therapy, make sure to bring your prescription. Travel by car or train makes it easy to bring along a supply, while travel by air may require that you keep your medication in a properly labeled bottle. Check with your airline before you pack.
Travel by car means extended sitting but you can schedule frequent stops to rest and refresh. If your vehicle has air conditioning, it can be a welcome relief on long road trips. Pack a cooler of cool beverages such as water or sugar free drinks. Avoid caffeinated sodas or sugary energy drinks as these can trigger hot flashes in some women. Take advantage of your family’s rest stops by getting out and stretching or walking to relieve muscle tension and stiffness as stress can aggravate hot flashes.
Plane travel offers fewer options to move around but try to stretch your legs or do some seat exercises to keep your circulation flowing. Take advantage of the air vents as they offer some relief in a stuffy cabin. Drink lots of water to keep cool and avoid dehydration, and avoid alcohol and caffeine. Watch out for airplane meals that are often loaded with sodium. If possible, bring some healthy snacks to enjoy on the way.
When you get there:
Depending on your hotel, you may have control over the room’s temperature. If you find the room lacking proper air conditioning and no other alternatives are available, cool showers can help when a hot flash strikes.
Camping with the kids? Staying in a luxury resort? No matter where you are staying, the following tips will keep you cool.
*Keep a small plastic bag with some wet washcloths stashed in a cooler or refrigerator. These are great for any time during your travels when you need a quick and discreet cool down. You can rinse out and reuse throughout the trip and just a couple of cloths will not take up very much room.
*An alternative is to bring a travel size pack of pre-moistened towelettes that are great for cleansing and refreshing.
*Watch out for food and drink triggers. Part of the fun of traveling is trying out new delicacies or putting good eating habits on hold. It can be challenging to eat healthy on vacation but try to stick to light meals several times throughout the day; heavy meals make the digestive system work harder and heat up the body’s temperature. Avoid spicy foods if they normally affect your hot flashes.
*Cool drinks with cute umbrellas are great treats but some women find alcohol leads to hot flashes. If you want to indulge, drink water with your beverage to help avoid dehydration and restricted blood flow.
*Dress in layers that you can easily mix, match, and remove when necessary. A light shawl makes a great blanket when on the move, an elegant wrap for chilly restaurants or tourist sites, and takes up little room in your luggage. Wear loose fitting clothes made of cotton or sweat wicking material.
Just a little advance planning will make your vacation memorable for fun and not for the hot flashes.
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