Are cold flashes even a thing? Is Sam doing menopause wrong?

Ice of Lake Michigan. Photo by Tom Barrett,
We all blog about menopause around here. Okay, not all of us. Some of the bloggers are young. But almost all of us have written about menopause.

One distinguishing feature of menopause is the hot flash. Hearing about it, I thought, how bad could it be? You’re too warm. Just throw off the blankets and open a window. But it’s not like that. It’s like you’re on fire from the inside out and nothing you can do changes the temperature you’re experiencing. It’s awful.

I’m through the hot flashes. And I haven’t really had any other menopause symptoms. But lately I’ve been getting cold flashes, chills, that feel like the hot flashes.

Nothing I can do makes them go away. I put on warm jammies. I bundle under all the blankets. But no effect. It starts when I’m tired. That’s the real cause I suspect. When I wake up in the morning I’m toasty warm. All those blankets!

I’ve wondered if it’s a menopause thing. Or I am doing menopause wrong? It turns out they definitely are a thing. See this LiveStrong article on menopause and cold flashes. It could also be a thyroid problem (check) or low blood sugar (check) or a caloric deficit (check).

“A cold flash, often called the chills, is a sudden feeling of intense cold, usually accompanied with shivering. The difference between cold and shivering as a reaction to weather as opposed to a medical condition is the unexpected situation in which it happens. The brain monitors and regulates the body’s temperature, according to the University of Illinois Medical Center, and when something throws it off balance, such as menopause, chemicals will travel through the bloodstream, causing the brain to raise the normal temperature set point. This causes you to feel cold and shiver to help your body’s temperature rise to meet the new set point.”

Do you get “cold flashes” or the chills? Any suggestions for getting warm?

5 thoughts on “Are cold flashes even a thing? Is Sam doing menopause wrong?

  1. Oooh, me me me! I have not had a hot flash, but started getting cold ones a few years ago. I get them usually in the evening when I’m tired (& stressed).

    I have a heated mattress pad & crank that sucker up. Also, covering my head seems to help. Getting more sleep seems to prevent them.

    But, this made me realize that I haven’t spoken to my doctors about this. I’ll mention it to my GP, who I’m seeing soon.

  2. Fuzzy socks. If my feet are warm I can warm up. If not, nothing works.
    I also oil my feet first sometimes. It’s an Ayurvedic sleep aid. Any oil works.

  3. Electric heating pads! They’re more affordable and more portable than blankets and they warm up so fast. I turn mine on at the foot of my bed when I start the bedtime routine, and then cuddle it around my torso once I hop into bed.

    I also get the colds when I’m tired. I try to use the heating pad as the incentive to get my butt in bed earlier (but that’s only so successful….)

  4. Interesting! I’m not to menopause yet, but I also tend to struggle with temperature regulation when I’m tired. I get cold so easily. I do like heating pads, and I also use a portable “rice sock,” which I heat up and carry around on my shoulders or put on my feet when I’m in bed.

  5. Thyroid and Canberra winters used to get me and I could not get warm without an intervention (read a hot shower) even at 2am when I woke up frozen. Now I have my thyroid levels right again, it happens less frequently as I can usually warm up in bed, rather than feeling like the doona was just keeping the cold in.
    I hope that this doesn’t mean I am going to just get them again when I go through menopause. Being so cold you can’t warm up is very unpleasant, almost painful at times. I remember once I actually had to leave work at lunchtime, drive home and have a hot shower, put on jeans and a big wooly jumper and boots and then I went back to work. It wasn’t even a cold day, I was just freezing.

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