Does It Work?
Anyone can feel too darn hot from time to time, but if you’re among the majority of menopausal women, hot flashes can really make you lose your cool. These saunalike moments happen when diminishing estrogen levels disrupt the body’s internal thermostat, explains Stephanie Faubion, M.D., director of the Center for Women’s Health at the Mayo Clinic. Hormone therapy (HT) can safely reduce hot flashes by up to 95% in healthy women under 60, says Dr. Faubion; cognitivebehavioral therapy and some antidepressants may also help. But if you’re wary of hormones—or unable to use them—several new products promise to chill you out.
WHAT THEY ARE: Gadgets you wear on your wrist that claim to lower body temperature by emitting thermoelectric waves. WHAT WE KNOW: With the push of a button, cooling waves are sent to nerve endings in the wrist, which can convince the brain that the entire body is cooling down. One small study found that the Embr Wave wristband improved users’ whole-body comfort levels. SHOULD YOU TRY THEM? Sure, says Lisa Larkin, M.D., a women’s health internist in Cincinnati and founder of Ms.Medicine—if hot flashes are bothering you enough to make the cost worth it. “They’re safe and drug-free, so they could be a good option for women who can’t take HT,” she says. BRANDS: Embr Wave bracelet ($299); Külkuf ($199)
WHAT IT IS: Garments that claim to not only wick away sweat, but also lower body temperature.
WHAT WE KNOW: Companies use different materials, but the idea is the same: Sweat is
absorbed into the fabric, where it interacts with air or interwoven xylitol threads to cool skin. Studies have shown that certain textiles are more cooling than others.
SHOULD YOU TRY IT? Yes. The clothing won’t stop the flashes, Dr. Larkin says, but it can be very helpful in keeping you a little cooler, especially when you’re in a situation you know can trigger the heat, like traveling by plane.
BRANDS: Arctic Cool activewear
($25 and up); ExOfficio Sol Cool
Kaliani shirt ($60)
WHAT IT IS: Linens made of moisturewicking material; pillows with a layer of cooling gel; mattress pads with water flowing through microchannels to regulate your body temp while you snooze.
WHAT WE KNOW: It’s not just night sweats that can keep you up; many women going through menopause also suffer from hormone-related insomnia. While cooling linens won’t fix hormonal imbalances, they may keep you comfortable enough to catch more zzz’s.
SHOULD YOU TRY IT? Yes for the sheets and pillows, says Dr. Faubion. But before you splurge on a sleep system, call your doc to discuss other therapies or lifestyle changes.
BRANDS: Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling Pillow ($169 to $209); Sheex bedding and pillows
($50 and up); ChiliPad sleep system ($499 and up)