What Does A Hot Flush Feel Like
Women often describe a hot flush as a creeping feeling of intense warmth that quickly spreads across your whole body and face.
It typically lasts for several minutes. Others say the warmth is similar to the sensation of being under a sun bed, or feeling like a furnace.
The website healthtalk.org has several videos where women describe what a hot flush feels like.
Hormone Therapy For Hot Flashes
Traditionally, hot flashes have been treated with either oral or transdermal forms of estrogen. Hormone therapy or postmenopausal hormone therapy , formerly referred to as hormone replacement therapy , consists of estrogens alone or a combination of estrogens and progesterone . All available prescription estrogen medications, whether oral or transdermal, are effective in reducing the frequency of hot flashes and their severity. Research indicates that these medications decrease the frequency of hot flashes.
However, long-term studies of women receiving combined hormone therapy with both estrogen and progesterone were halted when it was discovered that these women had an increased risk for heart attack, stroke, and breast cancer when compared with women who did not receive hormone therapy. Later studies of women taking estrogen therapy alone showed that estrogen was associated with an increased risk for stroke, but not for heart attack or breast cancer. Estrogen therapy alone, however, is associated with an increased risk of developing endometrial cancer in postmenopausal women who have not had their uterus surgically removed.
More recently, it has been noted that the negative effects associated with hormone therapy were described in older women who were years beyond menopause, and some researchers have suggested that these negative outcomes might be lessened or prevented if hormone therapy was given to younger women instead of women years beyond menopause.
What Causes Hot Flashes And Sweating During Menopause
Ellen Sarver Dolgen, Coronado, Calif.-based author of Shmirshky: The Pursuit of Hormone Happiness, found her life thrown upside down when perimenopause began in her late 40s. Her first hot flash happened while she was in a business meeting with all men.
âI felt a flush of heat come over me but I didnât want to pay much attention to it,â she told WebMD. But when she stood up she felt sweat dripping down the inseam of her pants. âThank goodness I carry a big purse because I think it makes my hips look smaller,â she says. She used her purse to hide the wet mark on her pants as she left the meeting. âIt was absolutely mortifying.â
Doctors think hot flashes and night sweats are a result of fluctuating or decreasing estrogen levels. When menstrual cycles finally stop, estrogen levels drop fairly dramatically, Omicioli says.
The drop may impact a part of the brain that regulates body temperature. We all have a thermal neutral zone, which means our body temperature stays stable even when the temperature around us changes slightly. Theoretically, a drop in estrogen levels may narrow the thermal neutral zone, so that small changes in outside temperature cause a rise in body heat.
There are a couple of other theories about why menopause and excessive sweating tend to go hand in hand.
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Menopause And Excessive Sweating: When Medication Is In Order
Some women find relief with lifestyle changes, but others need more. The most important thing to remember: talk to your doctor and think about all of the possibilities for treatment, says Mary Lake Polan, MD, PhD, adjunct professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University School of Medicine in New York City.
Finding a treatment that works for you is a highly individual thing. âI tell patients to keep trying,â Polan says. Sooner or later youâll find relief from hot flashes and night sweats.
Hormone therapy. Hormone therapy is the most effective way to treat hot flashes, but the Women’s Health Initiative study found an increased risk for heart disease, blood clots, and stroke, and an increase in breast cancer when women took oral estrogen and progestin long-term, Omicioli says. The increased heart disease risk was in older women who were 10 or more years postmenopausal, she says.
But thereâs emerging evidence that non-oral forms of estrogen — a cream, gel, patch, or ring — may have safety advantages in reducing risk of blood clots and stroke, Omicioli says.
The WHI study didnât find an increased risk of breast cancer in women who took estrogen alone, Omicioli says. The study also looked at one dose of oral estrogen and synthetic progestin. âThere may be a lower risk with progesterone vs. synthetic progestin,â she says.
The supplement black cohosh may also help some women reduce hot flashes, although the results of scientific studies have been mixed.
How Long Do The Stages Of Menopause Last
Perimenopause typically lasts for four to six years, but it can last as long as 12 years for some women. In most cases, the onset occurs between ages 35-45. However, it can occur earlier or later in a minority of women. While they do remain potentially fertile during this time, it becomes far more difficult to conceive. Hot flashes, fatigue, chills, and other symptoms associated with menopause begin to emerge during this stage.
Supplements And Complementary Therapies
Some women try supplements and complementary remedies to ease their menopause symptoms. Its important to note that supplements come in many different preparations and their quality, purity and safety varies. There is some evidence that a few of them might have a benefit, but for others, the science is still unclear.
Some women claim that acupuncture or relaxation techniques help them with menopausal symptoms, but there is little evidence to support their use. Speak to your GP before trying a supplement or remedy, as some can interact with other medications you might be taking.
Can Treatments Be Used To Reduce Menopause Symptoms
In some cases, it is possible to reduce the time that menopause symptoms last through treatment. If these symptoms are recurring for an extended period of time and are bothersome, you may consider HRT . This is considered to be a safe and effective option for postmenopausal women.
Essentially, this therapy is used to increase your estrogen levels, which will reduce or eliminate the symptoms of menopause in many cases. However, HRT will not reverse the process of menopause, but some types of treatment can bring back certain aspects of monthly cycles for some women . However, fertility does not return after menopause, even if a woman is taking hormone replacement therapy.
There are two main types of hormone replacement therapy . The most common type of HRT involves taking both estrogen and progestin taken daily. Another regimen involves taking estrogen daily and supplementing that with progestin taken daily but only during a two week period each month. A combination of estrogen and progestin taken daily will generally not cause a return of monthly cycles, but alternating estrogen and progestin may for some women. However, this typically only occurs for a few months. Rarely, this reaction to the treatment will last for a longer period of time, but it is uncommon.
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Can Menopause Affect My Sex Drive
Yes, menopause can affect your sex drive but it doesnt mean your sex life is over.
Dealing with the physical and emotional symptoms of menopause can make you feel less sexual desire. The symptoms can also affect your sleep and lower your energy which might make you not so into sex. Vaginal dryness and decreased sensation can also feel like a turn-off. Its also normal to feel a range of emotions, including anxiety, sadness, or loss while going through menopause.
If you lose interest in sex during this time, itll probably come back when your symptoms stop.
A pretty common symptom that can affect your sexual desire is vaginal dryness, which can make sex uncomfortable or even painful.
For symptoms that affect your sex life, trying one or more of these things can help:
Use water- or silicone-based lube when you have sex. You can buy lube at most drugstores or online.
Give your yourself more time to feel aroused. Moisture from being aroused protects sensitive tissues.
Have sex and/or masturbate more often. This increases blood flow to your vagina, which helps keep your vaginal tissue healthy.
Some people may actually find that they want to have sex MORE after menopause, because they dont have to worry about getting pregnant. This may give you a sense of freedom to enjoy a renewed and exciting sex life.
Menopause is a natural biological process. And while it marks the end of your ability to get pregnant, it definitely doesnt have to be the end of your sexuality.
Black Cohosh For Hot Flashes
Black cohosh is an herbal preparation that is becoming more and more popular in the U.S., and the North American Menopause Society does support the short-term use of black cohosh for treating menopausal symptoms, for a period of up to six months .
Some studies have shown that black cohosh can reduce hot flashes, but most of the studies have not been considered to be rigorous enough in their design to firmly prove any benefit. There also have not been scientific studies done to establish the long-term benefits and safety of this product. Research is ongoing to further determine the effectiveness and safety of black cohosh.
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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.
Are Bioidenticals The Answer
You may have heard that Oprah Winfreyâs taking âbioidenticalsâ for menopause relief. And Suzanne Somers endorses them in her books and on TV. But are they safe?
Bioidentical hormones are chemically derived from extracts found in yams or soy. For many years, doctors have prescribed clinically tested, FDA-approved, bioidentical hormone drugs, such as pharmaceutically manufactured estrogen patches, pills, creams, and natural progesterone, to ease menopause symptoms.
But these arenât the products generating the current buzz and controversy. In recent years, Somers and other celebrities have promoted these compounded bioidentical hormones as safer, more effective, and more natural than synthetic hormones.
Thatâs not necessarily the case. Consider:
Bioidenticals arenât FDA approved. The drugs are mixed to order, so there is no testing of their efficacy or safety. Compounding pharmacies do use some of the same ingredients found in FDA-approved products. However, their compounded bioidentical mixtures are not FDA-approved or regulated. They may even pose potentially serious side effects.
Bioidenticals are chemicals. Many women mistakenly believe that compounded hormones are âall naturalâ and come straight from plants, but theyâre actually chemically manufactured in a lab, Minkin says, and the actual compounded hormone product isnât FDA-regulated. Experts say thereâs no way to vouch for potency, purity, safety, or efficacy.
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When Do Menopausal Hot Flashes Stop
Hot flashes are one of the most common symptoms of menopause, and the majority of women will experience at some point. They can be exhausting to have to face because of the increased heart rate and excessive sweating. The worries as to when they will come can disrupt your daily routine can make it difficult for you to be as productive as you can be in your professional and personal life. You may feel stuck in a body that just cant seem you cool down and wonder when it all will end.
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What Causes Hot Flashes Other Than Menopause
Cristina Mutchler is an award-winning journalist with more than a decade of experience in national media, specializing in health and wellness content. A multilingual Latina, Cristinaâs work has appeared on CNN and its platforms, local news affiliates across the country, and in the promotion of medical journal articles and public health messaging.
Hot flashes are commonly associated with menopause, but they can also be caused by a variety of different lifestyle factors or medical conditions, and they are not always a sign of something serious.
A hot flash is a feeling of sudden intense heat on the upper body lasting anywhere from 30 seconds to several minutes or longer. The feeling is often joined by other symptoms like sweating, reddening of the skin, dizziness, and heart palpitations.
While there are other possible causes, hot flashes are extremely common when people are going through perimenopause/menopause.
Hot flashes happen when the bodys internal thermostat senses that its too warm. This starts a chain of events where your heart beats faster, your sweat glands spring into action, and the blood vessels that are near the skins surface widen to cool the body off.
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How Long Do Menopause Hot Flashes Last
Hot flashes are some of the most dreaded symptoms of menopause, especially because a hot flash can occur suddenly and leave you sweaty and uncomfortable. Many women experience hot flashes and assume that they need to suffer through the discomfort, and they patiently wait for years hoping that the hot flashes will eventually go away on their own.
But, it has been found that women frequently experience hot flashes for many years, and it is very possible that you might have these symptoms for as long as 10 years after your last menstrual cycle. There is hope though, because it is possible to reduce or completely eliminate hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause. If you are proactive with your health and use natural remedies to balance your hormones, then you can experience relief.
Common Occurrence of Menopause Hot FlashesMost women going through menopause report either hot flashes, night sweats, or both. Generally, untreated symptoms last for 2 to 5 years, although they may last for more than a decade for some women.
The severity of the hot flashes can vary from one woman to the next. For example, some women have mild hot flashes that are somewhat annoying, but they dont cause much disruption for their daily life. On the other hand, hot flashes can be very debilitating and severe for other women, resulting in heavy sweating and difficulty moving about daily activities when a hot flash is occurring.
Why Does Menopause Affect Your Sleep
Menopause means you eventually stop producing the hormone progesterone, which has a role in helping you sleep. Besides night sweats, during menopause you are also two to three times more likely to have sleep apnoea than before. Perhaps you have restless legs at night, or very hot feet. And if youre feeling anxious or depressed, that can keep you awake, too.
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Are You Post Menopausal
The average age of menopause is 51 years. However, women who smoke often go through menopause earlier than nonsmokers. The average life expectancy for women in the U.S. is 84 years. This means that they spend about 50% of their adult lives in postmenopause.
A woman is post menopausal when shes had an entire year without her period. It brings on many unpleasant symptoms. Most improve by themselves within 2-5 years after your last period. But some women experience symptoms up to 10 years.
The symptoms of menopause and post menopause can be extremely uncomfortable. They include:
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- A change in the length and flow of your periods
- Lack of concentration
- Hair loss or more hair on the face
Hot flashes are the most troubling symptom when a woman is post menopausal. 75% of women have hot flashes. They are more severe in African-American women and smokers. Suddenly feeling overheated and sweaty drives many women to think about HRT.
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.
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