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.
Sharons Hot Flushes Start From Her Toes Travelling As A Tremendous Heat Through Her Body
What happened with me the very first signs I had was around about a year ago when I started to experience hot flushes. And they became so bad at one stage that I would be stripping off in front of people just literally ripping my clothes off to the extent that I had to go somewhere private just to cool right the way down. If I could bottle it, Id make a fortune. Right okay, basically what happens and I cant describe them, its all of a sudden you are totally overcome by a traumatic, tremendous heat inside. Not outside, because you can feel cold outside. But a tremendous heat and it literally starts from your toes and it works right the way throughout your body and you know its travelling. Have you ever tasted Southern Comfort? Have you tasted a little Southern Comfort and as it gets down to your throat and then all of a sudden it sort of just hits your chest. And as it hits your chest, it sort of, I dont know what it does, but it warms up your body. Well you can imagine that happening, not drinking but that is a flush to me and I always used to think Oh I wish I could have them when Im working outside, when Im cold. And switch them on but you cant, theyll come anytime.How often do you get them? Oh gosh, I dont know, I mean my husband could probably pin point it more if Im with him all day long, ten, fifteen, twenty times a day.
What Causes And Triggers Hot Flushes
Hot flushes can be caused by hormonal fluctuations in the early stages of menopause and continue long after menopause has passed. They may only last a few months, but usually they will continue for many years.
Oestrogen levels decline in menopause and this appears to be the most common cause of hot flushes in women. These lower levels of oestrogen have a significant effect on the hypothalamus. Located in the brain, the hypothalamus controls the sex hormones, body temperature, sleep function and even appetite.
Although not completely understood, it is thought that the fall in oestrogen levels somehow affect the hypothalamus causing confusion whereby it senses that the body temperature is too hot, thus triggering hot flushes which is designed to cool down the body. More blood rushes to the skin, causing redness and sweating.
Hot flushes occur in the winter and the summer but seem to be more common in the summer months. Women having hot flushes often find themselves opening windows and doors or putting on the fan in the wintertime because they feel overheated. This can be inconvenient to those around who do feel the cold.
Other Factors that cause hot flushes:
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Lifestyle Changes To Improve Hot Flashes
Before considering medication, first try making changes to your lifestyle. If hot flashes , lower the temperature in your bedroom and try drinking small amounts of cold water before bed. Layer your bedding so it can be adjusted as needed and turn on a fan. Here are some other lifestyle changes you can make:
- Dress in layers that can be removed at the start of a hot flash.
- Carry a portable fan to use when a hot flash strikes.
- Avoid , spicy foods, and caffeine. These can make menopausal symptoms worse.
- , not only for hot flashes, but for your overall health.
- Try to . Women who are overweight or obese may experience more frequent and severe hot flashes.
- Explore mind-body practices. Some early-stage research has shown that hypnotherapy and mindfulness meditation could help with management of hot flashes.
How Do Hot Flashes Affect My Heart Rate And Blood Pressure
Every time you have a hot flash, your heart rate and blood pressure increase. In other words, hot flashes make your heart work harder. It also appears that they cause an inflammatory response, which can damage blood vessels. Add to this a hot-flash-induced elevation of LDL , and its no wonder multiple studies now show that women who have hot flashes are far more likely to have damaged blood vessels than those who dont, even when other risk factors are considered.
This new information may be surprising to women who were advised in 2002 to abandon hormone therapy to avoid an increased risk of blood clots and stroke. That advice was based on the findings of the Womens Health Initiative , a large study started specifically to determine whether long-term hormone therapy could prevent heart disease and prolong life.
But more than 70% of the women in the WHI study were over 60. Since most women go through menopause between the ages of 45 and 55 , the overall results reflected women who were well past the hot flash years . An evaluation of those in the 50-to-59 range showed different and reassuring results: In women taking hormone therapy, there was actually a in heart disease and overall mortality.
Hot flashes last longer than was previously thoughtseven to 10 years on average.
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Nonhormonal Medications To Treat Hot Flashes
If lifestyle changes are not enough to improve your symptoms, nonhormone options for managing hot flashes may work for you. These may be a good choice if you are unable to take hormones for health reasons, such as not having a uterus, or if you are worried about the potential risks.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of paroxetine, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressant, to treat hot flashes. Researchers are studying other antidepressants, which doctors may prescribe for off-label use.
Women who use an antidepressant to help manage hot flashes generally take a lower dose than people who use the medication to treat . As with any medication, about whether this is the right medication for you and how you might manage any possible side effects.
Hot Flushes And Sweats In Women
Cancer or cancer treatment can lower the sex hormones in the body. This can lead to hot flushes and sweats.
Hot flushes are one of the most common symptoms women have when they go through the menopause. But hot flushes can also happen because of treatment for cancer.
Women having a natural menopause usually find hot flushes become less frequent and less severe during the 5 years after their last period.
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How Long Does The Menopause Last
Symptoms of the menopause can start months or even years before periods stop completely. They usually continue for around 4 years after your last period, though some womens symptoms continue for much longer.
The menopause usually happens between the ages of 45 and 55, but its very difficult to predict when it will take place in an individual.
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.
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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 Womens 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.
What Can I Do To Help Myself
To help you manage hot flushes, simple things like wearing light clothing, using a fan and keeping your bedroom cool could help.
If youre struggling with your mood, consider trying self-help measures like relaxation, getting enough sleep and staying active. Regular physical activity and eating a healthy diet can also help to improve menopausal symptoms.
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Symptoms Such As Hot Flashes May Last Many Years
What you may not know is that hot flashes, along with other symptoms of menopause, including night sweats and mood swings, last on average 7 to 10 years, and sometimes even longer for women whose symptoms begin in perimenopause, according to the North American Menopause Society .
Its common to have women go through menopause and think they will be done with the symptoms once their period goes away, but unfortunately, thats not the case, says Kristi Tough DeSapri, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at Northwestern University and a physician at the Northwestern Medicine Center for Sexual Medicine and Menopause, both in Chicago. We now know that theres no definite deadline when symptoms will abate, she says.
Hot flashes are more than just unpleasant to live with, theyre also associated with cardiovascular disease risk, adverse cardiovascular disease outcomes, and low bone density, says Stephanie S. Faubion, MD, the director of the Center for Womens Health at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
Can You Get Cold Flushes Or Chills At Menopause
Some women report sudden chilly feelings which sound very similar to hot flushes in the opposite direction on the thermostat.
During and after a hot flush some women experience headaches, shaking and dizziness. These physical symptoms can compound psychological symptoms such as feelings of anxiety, depression and lack of confidence. If you’d like to read more about anxiety, panic attacks and social anxiety
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What Happens After Menopause
During post-menopause the time after menopause your body is still producing hormones. As reproductive hormones, estrogen and progesterone decline once your childbearing years end. But that doesnt mean theyre not needed at all, so your body still makes them, just in lower amounts.
In the years of post-menopause, you may still experience symptoms of hormonal imbalance or maybe even have certain symptoms for the first time. For example, its not unusual to have continuing hot flashes as a result of estrogen deficiency. Some women in post-menopause experience vaginal dryness, which affects a womans interest in sex and can make sexual activity uncomfortable or even painful. The most common post-menopausal symptoms are:
- Hot flashes
- Bone loss and fracture
- Memory loss
If you experience postmenopausal bleeding no matter how slight or brief talk with your OB/GYN healthcare provider as soon as possible to rule out any serious issues.
Treatment Options For Hot Flashes
Hot flashes can greatly disrupt a woman’s daily life. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to reduce their intensity or duration. Women who are concerned about hot flashes have a number of treatment options available divided into the following categories: alternative medicines and prescription medications.
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How Long Do The Symptoms Of Menopause Last
Hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings, vaginal dryness, weight gain – they’ve all been linked to the menopause. But how do you know what’s in store and how can you stop your symptoms from interfering with your life?
Reviewed byDr Hayley Willacy
17-Apr-18·6 mins read
Most of the changes that happen around the menopause are due to changes in hormone levels, particularly dropping levels of the female hormone oestrogen. The ‘average’ age periods stop is 51, but any time from 45 is ‘normal’. See your doctor if your periods stop earlier.
However, it can be difficult to tease out whether it’s the menopause itself, or other events in your life happening around the same time, that are mainly to blame for some other symptoms. For instance, if hot flushes are stopping you sleeping, you may feel more tired and miserable. Mood swings or depression around the menopause can affect your appetite, making you prone to weight gain.
How Long Do Flushes Go On
The most common time for hot flushes to occur is approximately 1 year after menopause, but the overall duration of hot flushes is unclear. Generally, it is stated that the duration of hot flushes for most women is approximately 6 months to 2 years but more information is needed about the duration of hot flushes to be able to advise on the clinical management of menopausal symptoms.
Dr Ellen Freeman and colleagues in Philadelphia have reported on a study looking at this important issue. The goal of the study was to estimate the duration of moderate to severe menopausal hot flushes and to identify potential risk factors for hot flush duration among women monitored for 13 years in the Penn Ovarian Aging Study. Interviews at 9 to 12 month intervals allowed assessment of hot flushes. Duration of moderate to severe hot flushes in 259 women, was the main study endpoint, and a secondary analysis was performed in 349 women who reported any hot flushes. The investigators looked at menopausal stage, age, race, reproductive hormone levels, body mass index , and current smoking as potential risk factors associated with hot flushes.
The most common ages at onset of moderate to severe hot flushes were 45 to 49 years, with median duration of 8.1 years. Compared with white women, African American women had a longer duration of hot flushes.
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Tips For Reducing Hot Flushes
You can try these tips to ease your symptoms:
- cut out or reduce coffee and tea
- stop smoking
- keep the room cool and use an electric or handheld fan if necessary
- if you feel a flush coming on, spray your face with cool water or use a cold gel pack
- wear loose layers of light cotton or silk clothes so you can easily take some clothes off if you overheat
- have layers of sheets on the bed, rather than a duvet, so you can remove them as you need to
- cut down on alcohol
Factors That Influence Menopause Duration And Symptoms
Like puberty and pregnancy, perimenopause begins and ends at different times for each woman. There are so many factors influencing the timing and experience of perimenopause that every woman will write her own story. Genetics, lifestyle, diet, stress, general health, and cultural perspective are all elements of when and how dramatically you will experience menopause-related symptoms.
That being said, the vast majority of women will experience their menopause in a two- to 10-year window of time, probably from their mid-forties to their mid-fifties.
But even if you begin much earlier or end later, you may still be having your own version of a healthy menopause. And whether you never feel a single hot flash, or continue to have them into your late 60s, it can be normal for you.
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What Other Life Changes Affect Menopause
Menopause can be a rough time. In addition to the symptoms that may be tough to deal with, a lot of stressful life changes can happen around the same time as perimenopause and menopause.
Some changes you may go through during this time in your life include:
anxiety about illness, aging, and death
anxiety about the future, getting older, and losing independence
anxiety about being disabled
changes in family, social, and personal relationships
changes in identity or body image
children leaving home
getting divorced or losing a partner
having a partner become ill or disabled
more responsibility for grandchildren