It turns out that romance triggers my hot flashes. What can I do to enjoy the love but ditch the heat?

Hot flashes are the stereotypical symptom of menopause, the subject of T-shirts and mugs: “It’s not a hot flash, it’s a power surge.” Clever saying, but it’s not really helpful.

Romance and hot flashes

Here are some things you can try, in addition to staying away from other common triggers. On that romantic evening, especially, plan your activities to minimize your triggers. Drink cold beverages. Eat a light meal, not excessively spicy. Wear natural fabrics (like cotton) that will breathe and keep you cool. Make sure that the temperature in your bedroom is cool, or position a fan. Use cotton bedding and layers of light blankets that let you adjust. And remind yourself to keep breathing.

It might help reduce your anxiety (remember stress is a trigger!) to have a conversation with your partner about how to stay in the mood with a hot flash.

For a few of us, none of these strategies contains the damage, and hot flashes really interfere with our lives, including on the romantic front. None of these options is perfect for everyone, but hormones, antidepressants, and blood pressure medications have each had some positive effect. Your care provider can help you balance treatment of hot flashes with your health history and other medical conditions you may have.

And finally, remember that hot flashes won’t last forever. Most of us, a year or two after menopause, are completely hot-flash-free. Continuing to be intimate with your partner through this transition is important. Because, you know, we’re still hot!