Become US – blog post

Hot, sweaty, and... cold? ̶ How to handle all 3 phases of the hot flash

The dreaded hot flash. While some women breeze through the menopause years never feeling the heat, for many women around the world who experience frequent hot flashes, it can seem as if their body is undergoing its own unpredictable era of climate change. You're hot, then you're cold (much like the popular song), and you're never sure when to expect it or what will happen next. It is, however, possible to be better prepared for it, and we will explore some of the best natural methods and non-medical solutions to beat both the heat and the chill of hot flashes, including how Become’s patented Anti-Flush™ Technology can help.

What are the phases of a hot flash?

Hot flashes, also known as hot flushes, are a common and often distressing vasomotor symptom experienced by women during menopause. They are characterized by sudden, intense sensations of heat, accompanied by sweating, flushing of the face, and a rapid heartbeat. But it's not just all heat. Hot flashes typically consist of three distinct phases: the prodromal, vascular, and recovery phases. Not all women necessarily go through all three phases; the experience of hot flashes can vary among individuals, with some women not going through only one or two of the three phases, some experiencing all of them to different degrees, and some barely noticing them at all.

In the prodromal phase, the first stage of the hot flash when there is a sudden change in body temperature regulation, you may experience a sudden feeling of warmth, followed by increased sweating and a rise in heart rate. According to a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the prodromal phase is reported by approximately 85% of menopausal women.[1]

The prodromal phase is followed by the vascular phase, usually the most outwardly noticeable phase of a hot flash when increased blood flow to the skin causes a sensation of intense heat. Your skin may become flushed and hot to the touch, and you may sweat profusely as your body tries to cool itself down and regulate its internal thermostat. According to another study published in 2014, around 75% to 85% of women experience the vascular phase during hot flashes.[2]

The third and final phase of the hot flash is the recovery phase, which is characterized by a decrease in body temperature. During this phase, the radiating heat (that previously caused you to feel hot, sweaty and flushed) rapidly cools, often leaving you feeling chilly or with a shivering sensation. The intensity of this cold phase may vary based on how hot you felt in the first two phases. For some women, it may last just moments, but for others, it may last several minutes. Studies have shown that 70% to 80% of menopausal women experience the recovery phase of hot flashes.[3]

So many ways to beat the heat...

The symptoms of hot flashes are not easy to manage, especially as their occurrence during the daytime can disrupt your work, cause unpredictable discomfort, and intrude on your family and social life. Furthermore, hot flashes that occur at night are associated with night sweats, which can have a negative impact on your quality of sleep. Since it is difficult to predict how often these will happen or how long your menopause could last, it is important to find solutions to both help manage your symptoms and keep cool during hot flashes.

There are many approaches to managing menopause and perimenopause symptoms, ranging from medical solutions such as hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to more holistic, natural approaches that aim to address the underlying imbalances that contribute to the frequency and intensity of hot flashes. Lifestyle modifications such as regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding triggers such as spicy foods, alcohol, caffeine, and stress have been found to be beneficial.

Studies have shown that regular yoga practice as well as techniques such as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) can help reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes.[4] [5] Acupuncture, the traditional Chinese therapy that inserts fine needles into specific points of the body, has also been shown to be effective in managing menopausal symptoms, including hot flushes.[6] The problem with all of these methods, however, is that they are either invasive or entail making changes to your lifestyle that may be time-consuming, require a lot of effort, and, while they may be beneficial to your overall quality of life in the long run, they may take time to show results.

...but the fastest way is as easy as putting on the right clothes

As textile technology evolves, there is now so much more that can be done with it, from high-tech performance wear for athletes to clothing made specially to help women going through menopause, like Become. Our range of menopause clothing is a quick and easy way to get immediate relief from the vasomotor symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes and night sweats with no lifestyle modifications or invasive treatments. Become is made with our patented Anti-Flush™ Technology, which was not only voted one of the Top 20 Global Innovations For Women’s Health & Wellness Apparel but was also innovated, tested, and approved by women, for women.

With a collection featuring everything from tops and leggings to underwear and nightwear, Become clothing is made with a cutting-edge fabric that wicks away moisture in a more targeted way than activewear fabrics do. Engineered in collaboration with two of the world's leading research organizations in the field of clothing and humidity management, our patented fabric rapidly wicks away the sweat produced during the prodromal and vascular phases of a hot flash. As the sweat evaporates, the fabric draws the excess heat away from the surface of your skin, helping you cool down and leaving you feeling comfortably dry. No telltale patches of dampness to be found here.

But as we know, hot flashes don’t just end after the first two hot phases; it then enters the recovery phase, and you begin to feel the chill. This is when Become’s revolutionary fabric really steps up its game. Created with a unique coating that has the ability to store the excess heat it draws away from your skin during the prodromal and vascular phases, the Become fabric releases this stored heat back to your rapidly chilling skin during the recovery phase, helping your body maintain a more stable surface temperature and keeping you warm as the hot flash subsides.

Who, what, wear?

Menopause can be unpredictable. Though the transition into menopause usually occurs between the mid-40s and 50s, some women may enter the perimenopause stage as early as their late 30s. Furthermore, while menopause itself is known to last around 7 years on average, it can last for up to 14 years for some. This is why Become’s collection of menopause clothing boasts a wide variety of timeless pieces that are easy to wear and style.

Our collection of tops features many styles and colours, all made with our soft, silky and breathable fabrics that are wonderful to wear in hot weather but also great for layering in colder weather. Our selection of leggings comes in two different fits that can be dressed up, dressed down, worn as activewear, thrown on to beat the heat or layered for the cold. Our nightwear collection can keep you sleeping through the night with fewer sweaty interruptions to your well-deserved rest, and our HydraDerma range is great for reducing the loss of essential moisture from the skin, helping keep it free of itchiness and irritation.

And of course, what you wear underneath all this is just as important, because there is nothing more unpleasant to stay wearing than sweaty, damp underwear. Our range of Anti-Flush panties comes in a plethora of cuts, colours, and absorbency levels, suitable for every body type and style preference. And for those occasions when you want to look that extra bit smoother and shapelier without discomfort, our seamless, cooling shapewear has got you covered with light to medium support that helps boost your curves and your confidence.

While studies have shown that staying active through the menopause years helps to keep symptoms like hot flashes at bay, regular activewear is not equipped to handle the concentration of perspiration produced during a hot flash. Our Everyday Bra is a great option for both day-to-day comfort or medium-impact sports, so you can say goodbye to uncomfortably sweaty sports bras while you work out. Paired with our leggings (and one of our tops if you prefer more coverage), you’d be fully equipped to get on with that yoga practice, especially because our patented fabrics also have an anti-odour finish that keeps you feeling and smelling fresh all day long.

Of course, going through this phase of life is never easy for women, and while no clothing in the world can stop hot flashes, they can certainly help you get through them with less mental and physical discomfort and irritation. And when used in combination with other remedies such as lifestyle modifications or other solutions suggested by your healthcare provider, perhaps the hot flash doesn’t have to be such a heated issue after all.

To find out more about how to beat the hot flush heat, check out our tips for keeping cool during hot flashes. You can also explore our Meno Guide to discover more advice and get the support you need to take on the ups and downs of menopause.

[1]Freeman, E. W., Sammel, M. D., Lin, H., Nelson, D. B. (2014). Associations of Hormones and Menopausal Status With Depressed Mood in Women With No History of Depression.

[2] Freedman, R. R., Blacker, C. M., & Ebert, M. H. (2014). Hot flashes and flushes: Hormones and other factors. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

[3] Santoro, N., Epperson, C. N., Mathews, S. B. (2015). Menopausal Symptoms and Their Management. Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinics of North America.

[4] Cramer, H., Lange, S., Klose, P., Paul, A., Dobos, G. (2013). Yoga for Menopausal Symptoms—A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Menopause.

[5] Carmody, J. F., Crawford, S., Salmoirago-Blotcher, E., Leung, K., Churchill, L., Olendzki, N., & Ockene, I. S. (2011). Mindfulness training for coping with hot flashes: Results of a randomized trial. Menopause.

[6] Befus D, Coeytaux RR, Goldstein KM, et al. (2018). Management of Menopause Symptoms with Acupuncture: An Umbrella Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Journal of alternative and complementary medicine.