Treatments For Hot Flushes
Many women learn to live with menopause-related hot flushes, but if they’re really bothering you and interfering with your day-to-day life, talk to a GP about treatments that may help.
The most effective treatment for hot flushes is hormone replacement therapy , which usually completely gets rid of them. Your doctor will talk to you about the benefits and risks of using HRT.
If you have had a type of cancer that’s sensitive to hormones, such as breast cancer, your doctor will not recommend HRT and will talk to you about alternatives.
Other medicines have been shown to help, including some antidepressants and a medicine called clonidine.
Are There Any Risks Related To Hormone Therapy
Like most prescribed medications, there are risks for hormone therapy. Some known health risks include:
- Endometrial cancer .
- Gallstones and gallbladder issues.
Going on hormone therapy is an individualized decision. Discuss all past medical conditions and your family history with your healthcare provider to understand the risks versus benefits of hormone therapy for you.
Can Menopause Affect My Sex Life
After menopause, your body has less estrogen. This major change in your hormonal balance can affect your sex life. Many menopausal women may notice that theyre not as easily aroused as before. Sometimes, women also may be less sensitive to touch and other physical contact than before menopause.
These feelings, coupled with the other emotional changes you may be experiencing, can all lead to a decreased interest in sex. Keep in mind that your body is going through a lot of change during menopause. Some of the other factors that can play a role in a decreased sex drive can include:
- Having bladder control problems.
- Having trouble sleeping through the night.
- Experiencing stress, anxiety or depression.
- Coping with other medical conditions and medications.
All of these factors can disrupt your life and even cause tension in your relationship. In addition to these changes, the lower levels of estrogen in your body can actually cause a decrease in the blood supply to the vagina. This can cause dryness. When you dont have the right amount of lubrication in the vagina, it can be thin, pale and dry. This can lead to painful intercourse.
What Is A Hot Flash
It’s a sudden feeling of heat and sometimes a red, flushed face and sweating. We don’t know exactly what causes them, but they may be related to changes in circulation.
A hot flush is a hot flash plus redness in your face and neck.
Beverley Coped With Hot Flushes By Using A Fan Wearing Short Sleeved T
The sweats got really bad. And it was funny because you could feel it from the tip of your toe and you could feel it rising and then Id glow and Id be fanning myself for dear life. I was a typical Caribbean person in terms of I always felt the cold. However, once I was into my menopause I was never cold, in fact I was always hot and this went on for quite a few years. I adjusted the type of clothes I wore and didnt layer as much. I could literally wear a short sleeved t-shirt or a jumper or blouse with a cardigan on top in the summer, in the winter, sorry, and Id be fine. Obviously, my jacket if I was outside. Because I didnt really feel the cold as much as I had done before. So its basically changing your lifestyle but you do it and then it becomes part of your normal day to day. And as I said Id walk around with a fan. I also had a fan in my office that was on my desk so I could put it on and if I didnt, if I was sitting somewhere where there wasnt a fan then Id try and sit somewhere where I had access to a window. So I could open it.And as I said, Im 50 now. The sweats have calmed down but every now and then I do get them but not as much and Im starting to feel the cold again so Im wondering if Ive come to the end of that cycle and my body is now coming back to something like what it was premenopausal.
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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.
Causes Of Hot And Cold Flashes
Hot flashes and cold chills are caused by , specifically of estrogen.
This hormonal imbalance negatively impacts the hypothalamus, the brain’s internal thermostat, causing it to become more sensitive to body temperature changes, thus triggering hot and cold flashes during menopause as means to cope with these changes.
Causes of hot and cold flashes unrelated to menopause include:
- Poor blood circulation
- The flu or a bad common cold
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What Symptoms Can Sometimes Stop And Start During Menopause
It tends to be the main ones, so these would be things like your hot flushes and your night sweats.
It can also be periods. This is a really common one a lot of women think that once their periods stop and they miss one month, then that is it.
Now, periods can come and go for sometimes two to three years, and I’ve known women who have had one period a year for two or three years before they’ve completely disappeared. A lot of women find that they might miss one or two periods, then they come back again for a couple of months, then maybe they miss three periods, and then they get three periods.
So, as I’ve said, this can go on for quite a while before you suddenly realise that you haven’t had any periods for quite a long time.
What Can You Do
Stay cool. At night, a “chill pillow” filled with water or other cooling material might help. Use fans during the day. Wear lightweight, looser-fitting clothes made with natural fibers such as cotton.
Try deep, slow abdominal breathing . Practice deep breathing for 15 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes in the evening, and when a hot flash starts.
Plant estrogens, found in soy products, may have weak estrogen-like effects that could cut hot flashes. Doctors recommend you get your soy from foods like tofu and edamame rather than supplements. Some studies suggest black cohosh may be helpful for 6 months or less. Botanicals and herbs may have side effects or change how other medications work, so ask your doctor first.
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Is Insomnia Really A Wake
Hormonal swings are common during perimenopause and can impact your ability to get a good nights sleep. These sudden shifts may also contribute to increased irritability, anxiety, and depression. Busy women, especially those juggling family and work, may ignore these symptoms until they impact their health and/or relationships.
If youre consistently not sleeping through the night, it may be a wake-up call to take better care of yourself. Talk to your doctor about treatment options.
More Symptoms That Can Sometimes Stop And Start During Menopause
Sleep is one of these ones that can be really affected one way or another. And the problem with sleep is that it’s not just the fact that the hormonal changes may be interfering with your sleep, but the fact that we have day-to-day stress.
If we’re extra busy, if we’re extra worried, then that can affect our sleep, too. And, again, a lot of women find that those periods when they’re extra stressed, when they’re run down, or they’re extra busy, these are the times that they need the best sleep. But this is a time when they actually get the worst sleep! So sleep, probably along with the hot flushes and sweats, is probably the most common symptom that tends to come and go.
You have also got mood and anxiety. And, again, a lot of it is to do with the hormones falling but it can be due to day-to-day life as well. If we’ve got extra things to worry about, if we’re extra fatigued, then that will affect our mood as well. So a lot of these are intertwined with each other. They don’t just happen in isolation.
The other main symptom that a lot of women find that eases off and gets worse is joint aches and muscle aches and pains. Again, this can be due to a lot of different factors all combining together. And, if you think about it, if you have a poor night’s sleep, that is going to interfere with your pain perception, which will make you feel more achy the following day. So, again, these tend to be all linked together.
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Q: When Should A Woman Consult A Doctor About Hot Flashes
A: Any women with questions or concerns about hot flashes should consult their physicians. Approximately 10 – 15% of women experience hot flashes severe enough to warrant medical attention.
Women who are not likely entering menopause and those who are experiencing other strange symptoms should talk to a doctor to rule out other causes of hot flashes.
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.
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What Are Some Common Triggers
Each womans hormones have a delicate balance of their own, which is why triggers vary from one woman to the next. However, some common triggers for hot flashes are:
- Stress or Anxiety
- Eating spicy foods
- Bending over suddenly
Its a good idea to identify your triggers, as this can help make hot flashes less frequent and/or severe. While it is not possible to prevent hot flashes completely during menopause, avoiding or controlling your triggers will go a long way towards improving your quality of life.
Why Does Menopause Happen
Natural menopause menopause that happens in your early 50s and is not caused by surgery or another medical condition is a normal part of aging. Menopause is defined as a complete year without menstrual bleeding, in the absence of any surgery or medical condition that may cause bleeding to artificially stop As you age, the reproductive cycle begins to slow down and prepares to stop. This cycle has been continuously functioning since puberty. As menopause nears, the ovaries make less of a hormone called estrogen. When this decrease occurs, your menstrual cycle starts to change. It can become irregular and then stop. Physical changes can also happen as your body adapts to different levels of hormones. The symptoms you experience during each stage of menopause are all part of your bodys adjustment to these changes.
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Can I Get Pregnant During Menopause
The possibility of pregnancy disappears once you are postmenopausal, you have been without your period for an entire year . However, you can actually get pregnant during the menopause transition . If you dont want to become pregnant, you should continue to use some form of birth control until you have gone fully through menopause. Ask your healthcare provider before you stop using contraception.
For some women, getting pregnant can be difficult once theyre in their late 30s and 40s because of a decline in fertility. However, if becoming pregnant is the goal, there are fertility-enhancing treatments and techniques that can help you get pregnant. Make sure to speak to your healthcare provider about these options.
What Triggers A Hot Flash
There are quite a few normal things in your daily life that could set off a hot flash. Some things to look out for include:
- Tight clothing.
- Stress and anxiety.
Heat, including hot weather, can also trigger a hot flash. Be careful when working out in hot weather this could cause a hot flash.
When To See A Doctor
There are many different reasons for experiencing hot flashes. While most of them are not serious, you do need to know for sure what is causing them.
If youre having trouble narrowing down the cause of your hot flashes, try keeping track of the episodes. List the details about the outdoor and room temperature at the time that you have one, your diet and activity levels, and any medications that you used. After a few weeks of collecting data, your doctor might be able to help you find a pattern.
Q: How Frequently Do Hot Flashes Occur
A: The frequency of hot flashes depends on the individual woman. Some women experience hot flashes only periodically, though others can have up to 20 episodes each day. Only about 25% of menopausal women experience severe and very frequent hot flashes during menopause.
Hot flashes are most likely to occur between six o’clock and eight o’clock in both the morning and the evening. This is because estrogen levels appear to be lowest at these times in many women. Continue reading to learn about the relationship between estrogen and hot flashes.
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What Are Common Menopause Symptoms
Some common menopause symptoms are:
Irregular periods: Periods becoming shorter, longer, heavier, lighter. Skipping periods.
Hot flashes: A hot flash is a sudden, sometimes intense feeling of heat that rushes to your face and upper body. Hot flashes can be really uncomfortable, but they usually only last a few minutes. They can happen a few times a day, a few times a week, or a few times a month.
Night sweats: Hot flashes that wake you up in the middle of the night.
Sleep problems: You may have insomnia trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. You may also start to wake up much earlier than you used to.
Vaginal changes: The lining of your vagina may become thinner, drier, or less stretchy. This can cause dryness or discomfort during sex.
Urinary or bladder infections: You may have to pee more often or get more frequent urinary tract or bladder infections.
Mood changes: Hormone changes can make you feel anxious, irritable, and tired. Your sex drive might change, too.
Weaker bones: Your bones will probably weaken during menopause. If its really bad, it can lead to osteoporosis after menopause. Getting plenty of calcium and vitamin D, and exercising for at least 30 minutes most days of the week can help you maintain bone health.
Some people may have a long and difficult perimenopause, up to 1012 years. But most people find that the common menopause symptoms are temporary and only last 35 years.
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
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