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 â 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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How Can You Deal With Hot Flushes
There are some things you can do to help manage hot flushes yourself. Try these tips to stay cool, calm and collected.
Avoid triggers. Although hot flushes can be unpredictable, you might find theyre worse after drinking alcohol or caffeine, after eating spicy food or when youre stressed, for example. Try keeping a diary for a few weeks to see whether you notice a link or trigger.
Dress lightly. Wearing lighter clothing made of natural, breathable fabrics, such as cotton, silk or soft wool, might help you to keep cool. Go for looser styles rather than tighter ones. During the colder months, wear a few light layers so you can easily take clothes off when you feel a hot flush coming on.
Layer your bed linen. The same principle applies at bedtime. Try to keep your room cool. Rather than using one heavy duvet, try layering a few light blankets and sheets made from natural fabrics. Sheets made with 100% cotton are usually cool and comfortable.
Use a fan. Keep a fan in your bedroom and on your desk for times when you need to cool down. You can also carry a battery-powered mini-fan in your bag, or go for vintage glamour with a traditional hand-held fan.
Carry a cooling spray. Keep a small spray bottle in your bag, on your desk or close to hand when youre at home. Fill it with water and give yourself a little spritz to cool down during a hot flush.
Take a lukewarm shower. When you take a shower, aim for a temperature thats a happy medium rather than too hot.
What Are The Risks Of Using Hormones For Hot Flashes
In 2002, a study that was part of the Women’s Health Initiative , funded by the National Institutes of Health, was stopped early because participants who received a certain kind of estrogen with progesterone were found to have a significantly higher risk of stroke, heart attacks, breast cancer, dementia, urinary incontinence, and gallbladder disease.
This study raised significant concerns at the time and left many women wary of using hormones.
However, research reported since then found that younger women may be at less risk and have more potential benefits than was suggested by the WHI study. The negative effects of the WHI hormone treatments mostly affected women who were over age 60 and post-menopausal. Newer versions of treatments developed since 2002 may reduce the risks of using hormones for women experiencing the menopausal transition, but studies are needed to evaluate the long-term safety of these newer treatments.
If you use hormone therapy, it should be at the lowest dose, for the shortest period of time it remains effective, and in consultation with a doctor. Talk with your doctor about your medical and family history and any concerns or questions about taking hormones.
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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.
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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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.
What About Vitamin E
The jury’s still out on whether popping a capsule of E can keep hot flashes at bay. Although the âComplementary Therapies in Medicineâ study suggests taking a 200-milligram capsule of vitamin E a day reduces hot flashes, it’s not a widely recommended strategy.
“There is a theory that oxygen stress contributes to hot flashes and other menopause symptoms,” Dr. Scott says. “Vitamin E is an antioxidant that fights free radicals, but there has not been enough data to suggest that it helps with hot flashes.” She does point out that it can improve vaginal dryness, though, so there’s that.
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Hot Flashes: What Can I Do
Hot flashes, a common symptom of the menopausal transition, are uncomfortable and can last for many years. When they happen at night, hot flashes are called night sweats. Some women find that hot flashes interrupt their daily lives. The earlier in life hot flashes begin, the longer you may experience them. Research has found that African American and Hispanic women get hot flashes for more years than white and Asian women.
You may decide you don’t need to change your lifestyle or investigate treatment options because your symptoms are mild. But, if you are bothered by hot flashes, there are some steps you can take. Try to take note of what triggers your hot flashes and how much they bother you. This can help you make better decisions about managing your symptoms.
How Often Do I Need To See My Doctor After Menopause
You should still see your healthcare provider for routine gynecological care even though you aren’t menstruating. This includes Pap tests, pelvic exams, breast exams and mammograms. You should continue to schedule annual wellness appointments. Since you are at an increased risk for osteoporosis, providers usually recommend bone density screenings as well. Talk to your healthcare provider to determine how often you should make check-up appointments based on your health history.
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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.
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 oneâs self of hot flashes and live in comfort once again. Keep reading to learn more about these treatment options.
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What Can I Do To Ease A Hot Flash
So if youre one of the 80% of perimenopausal or postmenopausal women who are experiencing hot flashes and youre concerned about your heart: Yes, lose excess weight, keep exercising, dont smoke, and eat healthily. But you also may want to rethink the tough it out approach to hot flashes. Since there are safe, effective hormonal and nonhormonal options that can ease them , theres no reason to suffer-and there are now compelling reasons to reduce the heat. Try these methods:
Estrogen therapy: This can be oral or transdermal .
Nonhormonal Rx options: Paroxetine is an oral SSRI thats been approved by the FDA for menopause-related symptoms. Other meds used off-label for hot flashes include Gabapentin , Clonidine , and Oxybutynin .
Natural remedies: Theres some evidence that isoflavones such as S-equol supplements can ease hot flashes.
This story originally appeared in the February 2020 issue of Prevention.
Donnas Night Sweats Are Like Being In A Tropical Climate She Has Them Two To Three Times A
I very rarely have them in the day, I usually have them at night, just before going to sleep and its just extraordinary rush of energy, and breaking out in a complete sweat, can sweat right through your night clothes, even into the sheets. I dont actually mind it in a way. I guess if I hadnt known about it I might have found that quite disturbing, but actually my sisters been going through that prior to me so I was quite aware in a way. But in some ways its quite nice because Ive always been a person whos cold in bed at night, now I feel like Ive got my own hot water bottle to keep me warm at night.Did you have to change the bedding and your clothes at night when it happened?Sometimes. Yeah, sometimes. And how did that affect your partner?Hes just kind of curious actually. Yeah, hes asking questions, hes asked me like, What does that feel like? I said I thought it was a bit like having a panic attack, something that happens, that you dont really have any control over.Can you describe it?Its really, I find it really hard to describe but I guess it would be like being in a tropical climate, a kind of clamminess and sweating, and its not, I dont find it particularly unpleasant, actually.How long does it last?Well it comes and goes, its like waves of heat so they might last a few minutes at a time, and then it kind of recedes and then it,How many times a night?For me, two or three.
Coping with hot flushes and night sweats
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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.
How Do I Stay Healthy After Menopause
It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, especially as you age and your risk for certain medical conditions increases. Some ways for people in postmenopause to stay healthy include:
- Exercising regularly. Walking, doing yoga or strength training can help lower your risk for many medical conditions.
- Weight-bearing exercises can strengthen your bones and muscles.
- Eating a healthy diet. Foods like fruits, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains should make up the bulk of your diet. Avoid lots of salt or sugar and limit your consumption of alcohol.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Going through menopause can be uncomfortable and present new challenges and health concerns. Speak with your healthcare provider about any symptoms you feel or questions you have. They can help make sure you are supported through this time and get the care you need.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/05/2021.
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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.
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 Factors Influence How Long Menopause Lasts
Although there is a usual range for how long menopause symptoms last, each woman’s journey is unique. The transition often takes about four years, but some symptoms may last longer. There are no hard and fast rules as menopause begins and ends on its own schedule.
Natural Remedies For Hot Flushes
- Black cohosh may help relieve hot flushes. Do choose a licensed preparation like MenoHerb® – there have been occasional cases of serious side effects, including liver damage, with unlicensed versions. And it shouldn’t be taken if you have any liver or kidney problems.
- Red clover – this remedy seems to have natural oestrogen-like properties and 60-80 mg a day of red clover isoflavone may help with hot flushes. There have been no safety concerns about using it.
- Evening primrose oil – although it’s widely used, there is no evidence that this option helps with symptoms of the menopause.
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Other Causes For Hot Flashes
When someone experiences hot flashes, a doctor can tell with a simple blood test if the problem is related to menopause or due to some other reason. Menopause usually occurs in the 50s, so when someone much younger has hot flashes, physicians will often look for additional causes. Some of the most common ones include:
- 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.
- Food and drink, including spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol, can trigger hot flashes. While the symptoms appear after a meal or a few drinks, this type of hot flash can often be stopped by eating lighter and limiting or eliminating caffeine and alcohol.
- Medication can bring on flushing and continue as long as you are taking them changing medications often makes the condition go away.
- Stress accompanied by a rush of adrenaline can produce a feeling of warmth like a hot flash, so if you live a stress filled life, you may set off this reaction.
- Hormone-secreting tumors such as pancreatic tumors override the organs ability to help the body function properly and can lead to hot flashes and sweating.
- Other conditions such as HIV and tuberculosis can produce symptoms similar to hot flashes and night sweats.