Stress And Emotional Causes
In reaction to emotional stimuli, your body may release the stress hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine, which pump up blood flow and produce a warming sensation throughout the body. Similar to blushing, flushing can result from a wide variety of factorsfrom stress to spinal cord lesions and migraine headachescausing entire sections of your body to turn red and feel extremely warm. Sometimes, flushing is simply an allergic skin reaction to outside stimuli like food or environmental elements.
What Is Relaxation Breathing
Deep breathing, relaxation breathing, and paced respiration all refer to a method used to reduce stress. It involves breathing in deeply and breathing out at an even pace. Do this for several minutes while in a comfortable position. You should slowly breathe in through your nose. With a hand on your stomach right below your ribs, you should first feel your stomach push your hand out, and then your chest should fill. Slowly exhale through your mouth, first letting your lungs empty and then feeling your stomach sink back. You can do this almost anywhere and several times during the day, whenever you feel stressed. You can also try this if you feel a hot flash beginning or if you need to relax before falling asleep.
Should I Take Hormones For My Hot Flashes
Talk with your doctor before using hormones to treat menopause symptoms. Hormones should be used at the lowest dose and for the shortest period of time they are effective.
Hormones can be very effective at reducing the number and severity of hot flashes. They are also effective in reducing vaginal dryness and bone loss.
Hormone treatments can take the form of pills, patches, rings, implants, gels, or creams. Patches, which stick to the skin, may be best for women with cardiac risk factors, such as a family history of heart disease.
There are many types of hormones available for women to treat hot flashes. These include estradiol, conjugated estrogen, selective estrogen receptor modulators , and compounded or synthetic hormones. It is a common misconception that synthetic hormones mixed by a compounding pharmacist are safer and less risky than other hormone therapies. This is not the case. We must assume they have the same risks as any hormone therapy.
Some of the relatively mild side effects of hormone use include breast tenderness, spotting or return of monthly periods, cramping, or bloating. By changing the type or amount of the hormones, the way they are taken, or the timing of the doses, your doctor may be able to help control these side effects or, over time, they may go away on their own.
Why Do Men Have Hot Flashes
In both men and women, hormones are to blame. About 70% of women get hot flashes at the time of menopause, when estrogen levels plummet. In men, the problem is testosterone. Males dont experience an abrupt drop in the hormone.
Buyer Beware: Unproven Nonscientific Treatments For Hot Flashes
You may have heard about black cohosh, DHEA, or soy isoflavones from friends who are using them to try to treat their hot flashes. These products are not proven to be effective, and some carry risks like liver damage.
Phytoestrogens are estrogen-like substances found in some cereals, vegetables, and legumes , and herbs. They might work in the body like a weak form of estrogen, but they have not been consistently shown to be effective in research studies, and their long-term safety is unclear.
At this time, it is unknown whether herbs or other “natural” products are helpful or safe. The benefits and risks are still being studied. Always talk with your doctor before taking any herb or supplement to treat your hot flashes or other menopausal symptoms.
Can Hot Flashes Be A Sign Of Heart Problems
Study results presented in September 2019 to the North American Menopause Society from the Study of Womens Health Across the Nation found that women who experience frequent or persistent hot flashes may be more likely than women who dont to experience a heart attack or stroke or other serious cardiovascular
Why Do I Keep Feeling Hot
Having an overactive thyroid gland, also known as hyperthyroidism, can make people feel constantly hot. Hyperthyroidism happens when the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone. The condition can affect how the body regulates temperature. People may also be sweating more than usual.
Q: What Is A Hot Flash
A: Hot flashes are the quick bursts of hot skin and often drenching sweat that last anywhere from 30 seconds to about five minutes. Your face and neck may turn red, your heart rate may increase and you will most likely break out in a sweat. Night sweats are the same thing, only youre asleep and are jolted awake by the heat and sweat sensation consuming your body.
These sudden bursts, especially at night, can cause fatigue, irritability and even forgetfulness. For 10 to 15 percent of women, hot flashes are so severe that they disrupt normal functions, such as leading a meeting or sticking to a schedule. If you feel your daily activities are impacted by hot flashes, make sure to speak with your gynecologist.
Lifestyle Changes And Strategies For Managing Hot Flashes
Many people can manage their hot flashes at home with some strategies. It helps to know what triggers them first.
One way to figure out whats triggering your hot flashes is to keep a symptom journal. Take note of each incident, including which foods you ate before the hot flash.
A symptom journal can help you narrow down your hot flash triggers and determine which lifestyle changes to make to reduce your symptoms and prevent hot flashes. Your doctor can also use the journal to help make a diagnosis.
Lifestyle changes and strategies for managing hot flashes include:
- dressing in layers, even on the coldest days, so you can adjust your clothing to how youre feeling
- sipping ice water at the start of a hot flash
- keeping a fan on while you sleep
- lowering the room temperature
If beta-blockers, hyperthyroidism, or antithyroid medications are causing your hot flashes, there are medications you can use to relieve your symptoms. In extreme cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the malfunctioning areas of the thyroid gland.
Note that using some of these prescription drugs for hot flashes is considered off-label use.
Ask Yourself The Following Questions:
- What is the treatment?
- What are the side effects?
- Is it effective?
- How much does it cost?
Once you answer these questions, discuss the therapy with your doctor. Make sure your doctor knows what therapy you are considering in order to discuss possible interactions or side effects with your current treatment.
Q: How Long Will I Get Hot Flashes
A: On average, you may be looking at 10-15 years of living with hot flashes. Though they are sporadic, their unpredictability is very frustrating. Lets look at what you can expect:
- 40s: This is when most women start perimenopause. Some hot flashes and night sweats begin.
- 46-53: In the U.S., this is the average age for menopause, which is defined as 12 straight months with no period. Hot flashes tend to be most frequent in the two years after menopause.
- Late 50s: Most women continue to have hot flashes anywhere from 4-10 years after menopause. But most of these will decrease in frequency and severity.
What Are Signs And Symptoms Of Hot Flashes
- Hot flashes are typically brief, lasting from about 30 seconds to a few minutes.
- Redness of the skin, known as flushing, may accompany hot flashes.
- Excessive perspiration can also occur; when hot flashes occur during sleep they may be accompanied by night sweats.
- Feelings of anxiety may accompany hot flashes.
- Occasionally, palpitations may occur during hot flashes.
The timing of the onset of hot flashes in women approaching menopause is variable.
- While not all women will experience hot flashes, many normally menstruating women will begin experiencing hot flashes even several years prior to the cessation of menstrual periods.
- It is impossible to predict if a woman will experience hot flashes, and if she does, when they will begin.
- About 40% to 85% of women experience hot flashes at some point in the menopausal transition.
- black cohosh, and
- alternative therapies.
Some of these have not been tested by clinical studies, nor are they approved by the US Food and Drug Administration .
Food Allergies Or Sensitivities
Almost all of us experience something like a hot flash when we eat very spicy foods, but alcohol, caffeine, and additives like sulfites are also some common triggers. It is thought that spicy foods that give food some heat and alcohol are vasodilators and expand your blood vessels, Dr. Wider explains. But if you have an unidentified food allergy or intolerance, something else in your diet could be the cause, Battaglino explains.
Cool off: Pay attention to how your body reacts the next time you ingest any of the foods above and you may find a correlation. If that doesnt help, consider speaking with your doctor or a registered dietitian about a structured elimination diet.
Which Type Of Doctor Treats Hot Flashes
Many women will consult their gynecologist for the management of hot flashes associated with approaching menopause. Hot flashes are also treated by primary care providers, including internists and family practitioners. Hot flashes related to uncommon conditions, serious infections, or cancers are treated by the specialists treating the underlying condition.
Hot Flashes Years After Menopause
New long-term research shows that hot flashes continue, on average, for five years after menopause. More than a third of women can experience hot flashes for up to ten or more years after menopause.
A recent study evaluated 255 women in the Penn Ovarian Aging Study who reached natural menopause over a 16-year period. The results indicate that 80 percent reported moderate to severe hot flashes, 17 percent had only mild hot flashes, and three percent reported no hot flashes.
Hot flashes are momentary episodes of heat that can occur with other symptoms including sweating and flushing. Changing hormone levels after cessation of menses are believed to cause hot flashes as well as other menopausal symptoms including insomnia, anxiety, joint and muscle pain, and memory problems. Hormone therapy repletes the hormones estrogen and progesterone the body stops making during menopause, and it has been proven an effective treatment for hot flashes.
Complementary Therapies For Hot Flushes
Women often turn to complementary therapies as a “natural” way to treat their hot flushes.
There’s some evidence that isoflavones or black cohosh may help reduce hot flushes.
But the research is patchy, the quality of the products can vary considerably, they can interfere with some medicines, and they can have side effects .
It’s important to talk to your doctor before you take a complementary therapy.
Page last reviewed: 29 August 2018 Next review due: 29 August 2021
Lower Your Home Thermometer
Keep your house and yourself cool by lowering the temperature in your home. That way, youre prepared for when a hot flash hits. If you find that your house is not cold enough, try standing in front of an open refrigerator or freezer to help you cool down.
For more information on how to manage hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause in the summer and all year round, call our office at New Beginnings OB-GYN in Las Vegas, Nevada, or make an appointment online.
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Food Sensitivities Or Intolerances
Its not unlikely for you to experience something similar to hot flashes upon the consumption of spicy foods. Are you aware that even non-spicy foods can potentially leave you having bouts of hot flashes?
If you have a food sensitivity or intolerance, its very much possible for you to be bugged by hot flashes after consuming foods that your body does not like it can be anything from milk, egg, wheat, soy, tree nuts to shellfish.
Keep a food diary so that you may be able to identify easily some of the food triggers of hot flashes. Its also a good idea for you to pay a registered dietitian a visit.
Why Do Hot Flashes Get Worse At Night How To Stop Them
There comes a period in every womans life where their biological clock reaches the time where menopause begins. When it comes to the sexual fertility of a woman, menstruation is the milestone that marks the physiological readiness to bear children. And at the opposite end of the time spectrum, menopause is the phase of life that signals the end of fertility for women. Menopause is the point in a womans life where she stops having her period and naturally occurs between the ages of 45-50 years old. However, there is no rhyme or reason as to which symptoms are experienced or the duration of the menopausal phases from woman to woman. One of the most notable symptoms of menopause and the time period leading up to menopause is hot flashes. Below, we will explain in more detail the phases of menopause, the symptoms and how to deal with them, specifically hot flashes.
Common Causes Of Hot Flushes That Aren’t Menopause
Here are some other reasons for hot flushes in women.
You’re doing your thing, minding your own business, when you start to feel the heat. It’s like someone injected your skin with whatever comes in those little hand-warming gel packets.
Hot flushes are annoying, and they can leave you with a pounding heart, flushed skin, and, when they pass, a sweat-stained shirt and a case of the chills.
While it’s true that they are usually associated with menopause and perimenopause, women of any age can experience them, says nutritionist Beth Battaglino. “Hot flushes can strike at any time and for a lot of different reasons,” Battaglino explains.
Before diving into those reasons, it’s important to point out that experiencing one doesn’t mean anything scary is going on, says nutrition and weight loss specialist Dr Alexandra Sowa. “It’s not clear why some people experience them and some don’t, but for many it’s a benign or transient condition,” she explains.
If you feel like you’re having them on a consistent basis, she and other docs recommend jotting down some notes in your phone or on a pad of paper every time you experience one. “Write down the time of day and what you were doing before they started,” Sowa suggests.
Here are the most common triggers that have nothing to do with menopauseand what to do about them.
How Does Menopause Affect Heart Health
People are more likely to develop heart disease after menopause. Lower estrogen levels may be part of the cause. It also could be that other health issues that are more common as people get older. These include gaining weight, becoming less active, and developing high blood pressure or diabetes. You can reduce your risk of these health problems by eating a variety of healthy, nutrient-rich foods. It also helps to stay active and maintain an appropriate weight.
Too Many Blankets Hyperhidrosis Lymphoma And Infection
Many people who report having hot flashes report having them at night, which interrupts their sleeping patterns.
Sleeping well is important. In fact, it has been suggested that women who have sleeping problems during menopause are also more likely to be depressed and have hot flashes. The circadian rhythm is important for our health, and if we keep changing the hours and times when we sleep, we end up constantly jet-lagged, which in turn can have a negative impact on our physical and mental health.
You can have hot flashes during sleep even though you dont have menopause. If you felt cold before going to bed, you might have felt you needed an extra blanket, or maybe you turned up the radiator. But you felt cold before you got under the duvet, once your body temperature has adjusted to your current circumstance, you may wake up feeling hot.
Try to warm up before you go to bed so that you have a more accurate feel of how thick a duvet/how many blankets you truly need.
Other causes for hot flashes at night include hyperhidrosis and lymphoma. Infections such as tuberculosis, HIV, endocarditis, and others can also cause hot flashes. If you have unexplained hot flashes at night, you should, therefore, seek medical attention to rule out these possibilities.
Hot Flashes And Your Breast Cancer Risk
Heres some good news to make hot flashes a little more bearable: Women who have hot flashes may have a lower risk of breast cancer, according to a study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention. Researchers from Seattles Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center interviewed 1,500 women some with breast cancer, some without and found that those who experienced hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause had half the risk of invasive ductal carcinoma and invasive lobular carcinoma, two common forms of breast cancer. Furthermore, the worse they said their hot flashes were, the lower their risk appeared to be. Think about that the next time you just cant get cool!
What Causes Hot Flashes At Night
There are many reasons for having hot flashes at night including hormone fluctuations, a hot sleeping environment, an infection, or the food or prescription medications recently consumed.
While less common, having hot flashes at night can be a symptom of certain cancers, like lymphoma.
There are also normal body temperature variations that happen while sleeping, which can lead to excessive sweating and feeling hot overnight.
What Hot Flashes Can Tell You About Your Health
Hot flashes may be uncomfortable and annoying, but there’s more to them than you might think. Find out how they could help clue you in to your risk of heart disease, breast cancer, and osteoporosis.
If youve already begun the transition into menopause, chances are good that youve experienced the sudden discomfort and sweating that comes with a hot flash. Up to 85 percent of women experience hot flashes leading up to and during this time, according to some estimates, though frequency and severity of symptoms vary widely. In the worst cases, they present a serious barrier to comfort, sleep, and daily living.
Hot flashes arent just annoying, either. Research increasingly suggests that there may be a link between the presence of them during menopause and a womans risk for certain conditions, such as breast cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, and thyroid problems. Findings are preliminary, but experts are working hard to determine how we might use hot flashes might act as red flags or clues to your overall health.
Surprising Health Problems Associated With Menopause
You’ve heard about the hot flashes and mood swings, but the end of your periods could also mean the beginning of some surprising health issues. While many women will sail through “the change” relatively unscathed, others may develop one or more of the following problems. Read on and learn how to protect yourself.
Pelvic Organ ProlapseWhen you’re younger, your pelvic muscles do a pretty good job of contracting and keeping everything in place. But after menopause those muscles can weaken, causing the bladder, uterus, rectum, or vagina to droop downward. In severe cases, one or more of those organs can hang out of your body like a ball, which can rub on your clothes and cause bleeding, pain, and other discomfort. “It can also make it very hard to empty your bladder or bowels,” says Beri Ridgeway, MD, an associate clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of CaliforniaRiverside.
Women who have had a child via vaginal delivery are the most susceptible, says Ridgeway. Many women also gain weight around menopause, which puts extra pressure on the pelvic organs.
What you can do: The next time your doctor orders a routine blood screen, ask him or her to check the box for a liver enzyme test. Elevated levels are often the first sign that something’s wrong in this critical organ. “For many people, liver disease is fairly silent until it gets to more advanced stages,” says Brady.
What Are Hot Flushes
Hot flushes are often described as a ‘creeping’ feeling of intense warmth or heat which suffuses the face and upper body. They may also be accompanied by sweating and reddening of the skin.
Along with menopausal weight gain, restless nights and mood swings, they’re often a side effect of the menopause.
What Can Cause Hot Flashes Other Than Menopause
Other Causes for Hot Flashes Thyroid problems, such as hyperthyroidism, which causes an overabundance of thyroid hormone, can increase the bodys metabolism and lead to hot flashes and sweating.
While hypothyroidism is the usual culprit in these cases, non-menopausal hot flashes can also be due to thyroid cancer..
Anxiety Or Panic Attacks
Having an anxiety or a panic attack can be really scary and traumatic due to the many different weird symptoms it brings, and some of those are hot flashes which can usually make the attack even more frightening.
What you need to do is try your very best to relax during an anxiety or a panic attack to put an end to those hot flashes, as well as other unfavorable things like palpitations and shortness of breath.
It is a good idea for you to seek the help of a therapist or psychiatrist if your anxiety or panic attacks are already keeping your from having a normal life there are pharmacological and non-pharmacological solutions around.
How To Stop Hot Flushes
- See your doctor to make sure there is no underlying medical condition causing your hot flushes, particularly if you’re also suffering from symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, weight loss or diarrhoea
- Check the listed side effects of all of your current medication. If hot flushes are listed as a side effect then discuss your prescription with your doctor. There may be a suitable alternative, or changing timing or dosage might help
- Keep a food diary. This will help you identify whether certain foods or ingredients are triggers
- Track when you have a hot flush. Write down where you were and what you were doing. This might reveal patterns or environmental factors that are causing them
- Make time for yourself. Scientists have identified a link between hot flushes and stress
- Exercise regularly
- Reduce your alcohol intake and if you are a smoker, quit
- Limiting spicy foods and caffeine
- Reducing the temperature of baths and showers
- Wearing light layers
Medications: Treating Hot Flashes And Night Sweats With Hormones
Some women may choose to take hormones to treat their hot flashes. A hormone is a chemical substance made by an organ like the thyroid gland or ovary. During the menopausal transition, the ovaries begin to work less and less well, and the production of hormones like estrogen and progesterone declines over time. It is believed that such changes cause hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.
Hormone therapy steadies the levels of estrogen and progesterone in the body. It is a very effective treatment for hot flashes in women who are able to use it. There are risks associated with taking hormones, including increased risk of heart attack, stroke, blood clots, breast cancer, gallbladder disease, and dementia. The risks vary by a woman’s age and whether she has had a hysterectomy. Women are encouraged to discuss the risks with their healthcare provider.
Women who still have a uterus should take estrogen combined with progesterone or another therapy to protect the uterus. Progesterone is added to estrogen to protect the uterus against cancer, but it also seems to increase the risk of blood clots and stroke. Hormones should be used at the lowest dose that is effective for the shortest period of time possible.
Some women should not use hormones for their hot flashes. You should not take hormones for menopausal symptoms if:
Talk with your doctor to find out if taking hormones to treat your symptoms is right for you.