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What Is A Menopausal Hot Flush Like

Ask Yourself The Following Questions:

What are Hot Flashes? | Menopause
  • What is the treatment?
  • What are the side effects?
  • Is it effective?
  • How much does it cost?

Once you answer these questions, discuss the therapy with your doctor. Make sure your doctor knows what therapy you are considering in order to discuss possible interactions or side effects with your current treatment.

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.

Exercise daily. Walking, swimming, bicycling, and dancing are all good choices.

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 Long Do Hot Flushes Last

A hot flush can occur at any time of the day. It usually lasts several minutes, but on average they last around four minutes. You may have them a couple of a times of week or up to every hour. Hot flushes that happen at night are known as night sweats. You may carry on getting them for several years after your periods stop.

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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.

What Are Signs And Symptoms Of Hot Flashes

What Every Women Should Know about Hot Flashes
  • Hot flashes are typically brief, lasting from about 30 seconds to a few minutes.
  • Redness of the skin, known as flushing, may accompany hot flashes.
  • Excessive perspiration can also occur when hot flashes occur during sleep they may be accompanied by night sweats.
  • Feelings of anxiety may accompany hot flashes.
  • Occasionally, palpitations may occur during hot flashes.

The timing of the onset of hot flashes in women approaching menopause is variable.

  • While not all women will experience hot flashes, many normally menstruating women will begin experiencing hot flashes even several years prior to the cessation of menstrual periods.
  • It is impossible to predict if a woman will experience hot flashes, and if she does, when they will begin.
  • About 40% to 85% of women experience hot flashes at some point in the menopausal transition.

Some of these have not been tested by clinical studies, nor are they approved by the US Food and Drug Administration .

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Emerging Areas Of Interest

Brain imaging techniques such as functional MRI are being used to examine brain function during hot flashes. Initial studies of brain activation during hot flashes have found that the insula and anterior cingulated cortex are activated during hot flashes . Better understanding of the neural control of hot flashes will provide further insight into mechanisms.

Another area of growing interest is the relationship between hot flashes and polymorphisms of genes involved in estrogen function, such as sex steroid metabolizing enzymes and estrogen receptors. Given that estrogen plays some role in the hot flash phenomenon, investigators are examining variation in genes coding for enzymes involved in estrogen synthesis and hormone interconversion for a possible role in the variance in observed circulating hormone levels . Genetic polymorphisms are also being studied in an attempt to explain observations of race/ethnic differences in hot flash prevalences , such as seen in the Study of Women Across the Nation in the US. Two studies indicate that there are certain race/ethnicity associations between polymorphisms for sex metabolizing hormones . This line of research is in its infancy but may provide new insights into the often conflicting and variable results of studies examining factors that might predict who most is at risk for hot flashes.

Treatment Of Hot Flushes

Alternative Herbal Therapies:

Based on current research, black cohosh is most likely to relieve symptoms related to reductions or imbalances in the hormone oestrogen

Black Cohosh

Black cohosh is an herb native to Eastern North America.

Various studies conducted on black cohosh have shown potential benefits for people with menopausal symptoms however evidence of effectiveness is inconclusive.

Black Cohosh may be beneficial for hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings, low libido and poor sleep. However, studies suggest positive benefits did not exceed 6 months to 1 year of use.

Due to this and possible side effects on the liver and liver damage, use of Black Cohosh is not recommended long term.

Based on current research, black cohosh is most likely to relieve symptoms related to reductions or imbalances in the hormone estrogen

Red Clover

Red Clover is a plant native to Europe, Western Asia and Northwest Africa. The flower top is the section of the plant that is used to produce medicinal products.

There have been mixed findings on the effectiveness of Red Clover for the treatment of hot flushes, night sweats and breast tenderness. Some research has shown that taking red clover by mouth for up to one year does not reduce these symptoms although some evidence suggests that certain products containing red clover reduces the severity of symptoms but not the frequency.

Hormone Replacement Therapy

Oestrogen only hormone therapy

Oestrogen only HRT can come in many forms:

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Hot Flashes: The Phenomenon

The terms hot flash and hot flush are used interchangeably and are typically synonymous, referring to a sudden sensation of heat and sweating, most notably on the upper body. Hot flashes occur primarily and most intensively in peri- and postmenopausal women. They also may occur when estrogen drops suddenly and rapidly, such as after removal of the ovaries of premenopausal women, with chemically induced menopause, and also in breast cancer patients treated with selective estrogen receptor modifiers such as tamoxifen. Men can experience hot flashes, particularly when testosterone levels fall rapidly, such as in men with prostate cancer treated medically or surgically. In both women and men, these are situations where there is an abrupt drop in sex steroid hormones, resulting in hot flashes.

Hot flashes can occur day or night when they occur at night, they are called night sweats. Each particular episode lasts between 3 and 10 min and can recur with varying frequency . Some women experience hot flashes hourly or daily, while for others they may occur only occasionally a small percent of women report not having any hot flashes. Whether this is a matter of a threshold of perception or there are genetic, environmental, or lifestyle factors that preclude hot flashes is a subject of increasing interest.

What Other Menopause Symptoms Will I Get Along With Hot Flushes

What a Hot Flash Feels Like & How to Cope with Peri-menopausal 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

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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.

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.

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Why Hot Flushes Occur

Hot flushes occur due to changes in the bodys thermoregulatory system, which regulates body temperature and maintains it within the thermoregulatory zone . However, the specific causes of hot flushes are complex and not well understood.

As hot flushes occur at the same time as hormonal changes associated with menopause, it is thought that they are triggered by these hormonal changes. More specifically, it is hypothesised that the rapid decline in oestrogen which characterises the peri- and post- menopausal period causes oestrogen withdrawal. Hot flushes are thought to be a symptom of the rapid withdrawal of oestrogen , rather than low oestrogen levels .

The action of hormones which play a role in regulating the bodys temperature are also influenced by levels of oestrogen in the body. Thus, declining oestrogens levels at the time of menopause are also thought to induce hot flushes by influencing the action of nonepinephrine and serotonin.

There is some evidence that women who have a narrower thermoregulatory zone compared to other women are more likely to experience hot flushes, as their bodies are more sensitive to temperature change.

What Women Experience During Menopause

Hot Flashes After 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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Other Menopause Symptoms And Treatments

For most women, hot flashes and trouble sleeping are the biggest problems associated with menopause. But, some women have other symptoms, such as irritability and mood swings, anxiety and depression, headaches, and even heart palpitations. Many of these problems, like mood swings and depression, are often improved by getting a better nightâs sleep. Discussing mood issues with your doctor can help you identify the cause, screen for severe depression, and choose the most appropriate intervention. For depression, your doctor may prescribe an antidepressant medication.

If you want to change your lifestyle to see if you can reduce your symptoms, or if you decide any of your symptoms are severe enough to need treatment, talk with your doctor.

Roman Chamomile Essential Oil

Roman chamomile essential oil is a sudirific agent capable of inducing profuse perspiration. This particular feature will help you cool the body in an acceptable manner, simultaneously making hot flash episodes less and less frequent. Furthermore, sweating as one of the most important purifying mechanisms of the human body will help you get rid of the toxins responsible for your fatigue as well.

The fatigue is usually worsened by emotional instability and depression. Luckily, the essence derived from roman chamomile is effective in eliminating the feeling of depression, sadness, and sluggishness, replacing it with more uplifting mood and thoughts.

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Severe Hot Flashes: The Sensations Of A Severe Hot Flash

This type of a hot flash could be unbearable at times. You might experience reddening of face, sweat, fast heartbeat and intense heat through out your body. A severe hot flash can last for 10 20 minutes. It has the tendency to make you go crazy, and it could be really dangerous if you are in public, because the first thing you would want to do is to strip off your clothes You would even want to put your face in an ice bucket or jump in a cold pool. Not dangerous enough? Well, imagine doing that during a formal party or some business meeting What do you think now? Quite dangerous.

If you have ever experienced this during menopause then you can call it a severe hot flash. Painful and severe discomfort are the terms you can use to describe this sensation. Sometimes, you might feel that your body has turned into a hot furnace. It is imperative to understand this is a physical condition and has nothing to do with your mental health. There are many natural remedies that can help you avoid hot flashes. Here are some quick relief tips.

Quick Tips for Symptom Relief:

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Stress And Emotional Causes

What Causes Hot Flashes In Menopause?

In reaction to emotional stimuli, your body may release the stress hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine, which pump up blood flow and produce a warming sensation throughout the body. Similar to blushing, flushing can result from a wide variety of factorsfrom stress to spinal cord lesions and migraine headachescausing entire sections of your body to turn red and feel extremely warm. Sometimes, flushing is simply an allergic skin reaction to outside stimuli like food or environmental elements.

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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

What Is Relaxation Breathing

Deep breathing, relaxation breathing, and paced respiration all refer to a method used to reduce stress. It involves breathing in deeply and breathing out at an even pace. Do this for several minutes while in a comfortable position. You should slowly breathe in through your nose. With a hand on your stomach right below your ribs, you should first feel your stomach push your hand out, and then your chest should fill. Slowly exhale through your mouth, first letting your lungs empty and then feeling your stomach sink back. You can do this almost anywhere and several times during the day, whenever you feel stressed. You can also try this if you feel a hot flash beginning or if you need to relax before falling asleep.

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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.

Your body is programmed to keep your core temperature the same, so when the air temperature rises, blood pours into blood vessels in your skin. Youâll become flushed and start to sweat.

There are a couple of other theories about why menopause and excessive sweating tend to go hand in hand.


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