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.
What Does A Hot Flash Feel Like
What is a hot flash?
A hot flash is an intense feeling of heat that comes on suddenly and isnt caused by hot weather. When it happens, your face, neck, and chest turn red and warm, and youll break out in a sweat.
Hot flashes are most likely to happen when youre in menopause, but other medical conditions can cause them, too. When hot flashes wake you up from sleep, theyre called night sweats. Heres what you need to know.
How Is Menopause Diagnosed
There are several ways your healthcare provider can diagnose menopause. The first is discussing your menstrual cycle over the last year. If you have gone a full year without a period, you may be postmenopausal. Another way your provider can check if you are going through menopause is a blood test that checks your follicle stimulating hormone level. FSH is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland this gland is located at the base of your brain. However, this test can be misleading during the beginning of menopause when your body is transitioning and your hormone levels are fluctuating up and down. Hormone testing always need to be interpreted in the context of what is happening with the menstrual period.
For many women, a blood test is not necessary. If you are having the symptoms of menopause and your periods have been irregular, talk to your healthcare provider. Your provider may be able to diagnose menopause after your conversation.
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Other Prescription Drug Treatments For Hot Flashes
- The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor medications have been shown be effective in reducing menopausal hot flashes. These drugs are generally used in the treatment of depression and anxiety as well as other condition. Paroxetine is an SSRI approved to treat moderate to severe hot flashes associated with menopause.
- Clonidine is an anti-hypertensive drug that can relieve hot flashes in some women. Clonidine is taken either by pill or skin patch and decreases blood pressure. Side effects of clonidine can include dry mouth, constipation, drowsiness, or difficulty sleeping.
- Gabapentin , a drug primarily used for the treatment of seizures, has also been effective in treating hot flashes.
- Megestrol acetate is a progestin that is sometimes prescribed over a short-term to help relieve hot flashes, but this drug is not usually recommended as a first-line treatment for hot flashes. Serious side effects can occur if the medication is abruptly discontinued. Megestrol may have the side effect of weight gain.
- Medroxyprogesterone acetate is another progestin drug and is administered by injection to treat hot flashes. It may lead to weight gain as well as bone loss.
Some alternative treatments, however, have been evaluated in well-designed clinical trials. Alternative treatments that have been scientifically studied with some research include phytoestrogens , black cohosh, and vitamin E.
Medications That Can Harm The Liver Interacts With Black Cohosh
There is concern that black cohosh might harm the liver. Taking black cohosh along with medication that might also harm the liver can increase the risk of liver damage. Do not take black cohosh if you are taking a medication that can harm the liver.Some medications that can harm the liver include acetaminophen , amiodarone , carbamazepine , isoniazid , methotrexate , methyldopa , fluconazole , itraconazole , erythromycin , phenytoin , lovastatin , pravastatin , simvastatin , and many others.
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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.
Is Having A Hard Time Concentrating And Being Forgetful A Normal Part Of Menopause
Unfortunately, concentration and minor memory problems can be a normal part of menopause. Though this doesnt happen to everyone, it can happen. Doctors arent sure why this happens. If youre having memory problems during menopause, call your healthcare provider. There are several activities that have been shown to stimulate the brain and help rejuvenate your memory. These activities can include:
- Doing crossword puzzles and other mentally stimulating activities like reading and doing math problems.
- Cutting back on passive activities like watching TV.
- Getting plenty of exercise.
Keep in mind that depression and anxiety can also impact your memory. These conditions can be linked to menopause.
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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.
Hot Flushes And Sweats
Hot flushes and sweats are the most common symptoms of the menopause and can affect three out of every four menopausal women*. Characterised by sudden feelings of heat which seem to come from nowhere and spread upwards through the body, the chest, neck and face, hot flushes and sweats are probably caused by changes in hormone levels which affect the bodys temperature control. Women talked about their experiences of hot flushes and sweats, the effect on their life, and what they did to relieve the symptoms.Hot flushesSome women we talked with had either not had flushes at all, had noticed just occasional mild feelings of warmth lasting seconds, or had simply not been bothered by them. Others, however, had more intense hot flushes which happened throughout the day and night, lasting several minutes or longer and accompanied by sweating, dizziness, light-headedness and heart palpitations. One woman said she had about twenty hot flushes a day; another flushed every ten minutes throughout the day .
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Hot Flashes In Menopause
Hot flashes are caused by changing hormone levels;in menopause. Its difficult to pinpoint exactly what is the causes of hot flashes are, but most research points to the decreased estrogen levels. These levels cause your bodys hypothalamus to become sensitive to minute changes in body temperature. When you get a hot flash, it triggers a chain of events: the hypothalamus, an inner thermostat, signals to the body that youre warming up- giving you a hot flash, and your body responds with sweating to cool you down.
When To See Your Doctor
While hot flashes are common during menopause, some people get them intensely and often. In some cases, hot flashes are disruptive to a persons life and can greatly affect their well-being.
If your hot flashes are interfering with your day-to-day life or preventing you from getting a good nights sleep, talk to your doctor. There are some treatments that you might be able to try that can help control hot flashes.
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How Long Should Menopause Symptoms Last
Menopause-related hot flashes and night sweats aren’t a short-term problem. More than half of women experience these unpleasant change-of-life symptoms for seven years or more, a new study finds.
“Women should not be surprised if their hot flashes last a number of years,” said lead researcher Nancy Avis, a professor of social sciences and health policy at Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Four out of five women experience hot flashes and night sweats in the years before their periods cease, leaving some with 12 or even 14 years of unpleasant symptoms, the study found. And women who could pinpoint their final period reported symptoms persisted for an average of 4.5 years afterward.
The findings, published online Feb. 16 in JAMA Internal Medicine, suggest a need for “more research on safe and effective ways to relieve these symptoms,” Avis said. Menopausal symptoms affect quality of life, disrupt sleep and result in worse physical health, she and her colleagues noted.
Menopause — which is confirmed when a woman’s periods have ceased for 12 consecutive months — occurs most often between ages 45 and 55, according to the North American Menopause Society. The symptoms women experience are related to lower levels of estrogen and other hormones. Common among these symptoms are hot flashes — quick feelings of heat sometimes accompanied by sweating.
What Women Experience During Menopause
During the time, months, or years, prior to menopause, women can experience a wide variety of symptoms that are brought on by the hormonal changes in their bodies. Aside from the decrease in estrogen and progesterone levels, physical and emotional symptoms are very common and include:
- Irregular periods
- Weight gain and/or slowed metabolism
- Dry skin and other tissues
- Thinning or loss of hair
- Sleep disturbances
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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.
Q: How Can A Woman Manage Hot Flashes
A: Luckily, several simple measures can successfully reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes. Often, the key to managing hot flashes is identifying and avoiding the factors that trigger an episode.
Such hot flashes triggers include warm environments, constricting clothing, hot or spicy drinks and foods, stress, anxiety, caffeine, alcohol, and cigarettes.
Stress reduction, exercise, and a healthy diet can also go a long way toward managing hot flashes during menopause.
If these management techniques are ineffective, there are further steps that can be taken to rid one’s self of hot flashes and live in comfort once again. Keep reading to learn more about these treatment options.
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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.
Cynthia Managed Her Severe Night Sweats Using A Little Hot Flush Kit She Kept Beside Her Bed
In the early days, I had to get up physically on the hour every hour. It woke me without fail and I had to get out of bed, go into the other room, had a big fan, stand in front of it until I cooled down and then I went back to bed. You do get used to doing that and you do sleep in between. As I got better at managing them I think, I identified that I couldnt drink anything and I couldnt eat curry or Chinese food I got so that I had my little hot flush kit beside the bed. I had a towel and gel pack, sports injury gel pack that had been frozen inside of a pillow case. And Ive got dozens, dozens and dozens, and Ive still got them in a little basket of those little hand fans like youd have on holiday. And I had that beside the bed so when I woke with a hot flush starting, Id grab the towel and slip that underneath me, the gel pack behind my neck and the little fan resting on my chest and Id just lie there like a sack of potatoes until it passed. And then Id chuck it all off and go back to sleep until the next one. And I did sleep. I did get used to being tired but I did sleep in between each hot flush. But they were on the hour.
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What Other Menopause Symptoms Will I Get Along With Hot Flushes
As mentioned earlier, a fall in oestrogen is the main cause of hot flushes. Falling oestrogen can also cause irregular periods, fatigue, insomnia, early waking and mood swings. These are some of the most common first signs of menopause or perimenopause;- please have a read of our article on Perimenopause and 8 Useful Steps;to find out what you can do to glide smoothly through perimenopause and menopause!
Read our article Perimenopause and 8 Useful Steps
Q: How Common Are Hot Flashes
A: Since it is the most common menopause symptom, many women will experience hot flashes at some point during the menopausal transition. In fact, it is estimated that 75 – 85% of women will experience postmenopausal hot flashes. Approximately 45% of perimenopausal women will develop this symptom prior to the cessation of menstruation.
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Hot Flushes And Night Sweats
Along with irregular periods, hot flushes;are;one of the primary signs of the onset of the menopause.;For most women,;hot flushes occur occasionally and do not cause much distress. However, for a smaller percentage of us, around 20%, hot flushes can be severe and interfere with;quality of life and sleep. Women tend to experience hot flushes for;about two years on average, but for a small percentage, approximately 10%,;hot flushes can continue for up to 15 years!
What Are Hot Flashes A Sign Of Triggers For Hot Flushes
Hot flushes are caused by falling oestrogen levels at menopause. You may notice that they are;being triggered by caffeine, spicy foods, alcohol;and external heat sources like a hot bath or an overheated room. If so avoid these triggers. For some women, stress and tension;cause more frequent hot flushes. And indeed stressing during a hot flush and fanning yourself/taking off layers can make it worse – have you noticed?! Women who smoke are more than twice as likely to experience severe hot flushes than women who have never smoked.
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What Causes A Hot Flash
Hot flashes occur when estrogen levels in the body drop. Estrogen is a hormone that is responsible for the regulation of the reproductive system in people with a uterus.
Falling estrogen levels affect the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that controls appetite, body temperature, hormones, and sleep patterns. The hypothalamus is sometimes called the bodys thermostat;because of the role it plays in regulating body temperature.
A drop in estrogen levels can cause the hypothalamus to get mixed signals. If it senses that the body is too warm, it prompts a chain of events to cool the body down: The blood vessels dilate, blood flow is increased to the surface of the skin, and heart rate may increase as the body tries to cool off. Some people experience a chilled feeling after a hot flash.;
Most hot flashes are caused by hormonal changes, but they can also be related to other health conditions, substances, and even certain treatments or medications.
Other things that can cause hot flashes include:;;
- Thyroid issues