Hot flashes are one of the primary signs of the onset of menopause, along with irregular periods
A hot flash is a sudden feeling of intense heat in the upper part of the body, not caused by external sources. Hot flushes are one of the most commonly experienced symptoms during menopause.
1. Approximately 80% of the females experience hot flushes during menopause.
2. Hot flushes are also known as hot flashes.
3. Hot flushes may begin from the face, neck or chest before spreading.
4. A hot flush is a sensation of heat along with redness in the face and neck.
5. Hot flushes arise when the blood vessels near the skin’s surface widen to cool. This gives rise to the red, flushed look of the face.
6. Hot flushes accompanied with sweating occurring at night are known as night sweats which may interfere with sleep.
7. Generally, hot flushes occur occasionally in women and fail to cause much distress. Though, in few women hot flushes can be quite intense and may interfere with their quality of life and sleep.
Some other symptoms accompanied with hot flashes are:
- Tingling in fingers.
- Fast heartbeat.
- Warm sensation on the skin.
- Flushed face and chest.
- Sweating particularly on the upper part of the body.
Duration of Hot Flashes
- Hot flashes may vary in intensity and duration.
- A typically hot flush may last for between 30 seconds to 10 minutes.
- Usually, the intensity of hot flushes reduces as time passes.
- Hot flushes can occur at any time of the day.
- The exact cause of hot flushes is unknown, but it is considered to be related to changes in circulation.
- They are caused by fluctuating levels of hormone particularly estrogen and progesterone.
- Hormone fluctuations cause an impact on the functioning of the hypothalamus (the part of the brain responsible for controlling body temperature).
Triggering factor for every woman may be different. They may vary from woman to woman. Some of the common triggering factors are as follows:
- Spicy foods.
- External heat sources such as a hot bath or an overheated room.
There is not much that can be done to prevent hot flashes during menopause. But one can avoid the triggering factors that make hot flashes more severe.
The aim of treatment of hot flashes is generally to reduce the intensity and frequency.
1. Drug Therapy
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). Hormone therapy is the most useful therapy for hot flashes.
Non-Hormonal treatments. If HRT is not appropriate then Non-Hormonal treatments can be considered. Prescription treatments include:
- Low-dose anti-depressants.
- Blood pressure medication – Clonidine.
- An anti-seizure drug – Gabapentin.
- Conjugated estrogens formula designed to treat hot flashes.
- Oral contraceptives.
- Vitamin B & vitamin E.
2. Lifestyle Modifications
There are certain lifestyle modifications which can be helpful in easing hot flashes. Some of them are as follows:-
- Stay cool. Keep the bedroom cool at night. Wear lightweight & loose-fitting cotton clothes.
- Perform regular exercises such as swimming, walking, cycling, etc.
- Reduce alcohol, caffeine, spicy food & cigarette smoking.
- Consume nutritious diet.
- Consume plenty of water.
- Ensure that your bowel movements are regular.
- Perform stress managing techniques.
- Increase intake of walnuts, whole grains, low-fat yogurt, soy milk, leafy greens & pineapple.
- Perform deep & slow abdominal breathing exercises.