Hot flashes often occur during menopause and Peri menopause. It almost always occurs in those with induced menopause.
Hot flashes or hot flushes as they are called too, is a feeling of warmth or intense heat of the body or a part of the body. It may be accompanied with perspiration too.
What are Hot Flashes?
Hot flashes are a feeling of warmth or intense heat. They may last for a few moments only. They are most commonly experienced over the face, neck and chest.
There may be reddening of the skin, noticed as blushing of the face. Hot flashes, as mentioned previously occur during peri menopause or menopause.
For some this may last only for a short time, while others may experience this life long. The severity of the symptoms changes from women to women. Hot flash may occur few times a week. If they occur at night, it can disturb your sleep.
What Causes Hot Flashes?
Hot flashes are symptoms of menopause and are caused by hormonal changes. The changes in circulation cause the redness and heat. The blood vessels dilate to cool off, resulting in hot flashes. The hypothalamus is the regulator.
The withdrawal of estrogen during menopause is a triggering factor for hot flashes. Stress, alcohol, obesity, smoking, caffeine, physical inactivity, heat, tight clothing, spicy food etc. are some of the triggering factors.
How Can you Recognize Hot Flashes?
Hot flashes is difficult to miss. There is a feeling of intense heat or warmth. There may be flushing of skin as well. Perspiration too may be experienced. It is usually on upper part of the body. Hot flash are sometimes accompanied by a rise in heart beat. You may feel a chill after the hot flash subside.
How to Cope with Hot Flashes?
If hot flashes are mild, few lifestyle changes are enough to cope with hot flashes. It is important to prevent the triggering factors. It is advisable to keep cool. Wear light cotton clothes. Use fan, air conditioner or open the window to cool off. Sipping a cool drink during the hot flash may help to cool off too.
Avoid hot and spicy food. Avoid caffeinated drinks. Avoid alcohol. Stop drinking. Involve in some physical activities like walking, jogging etc. Take some time to relax yourself. Try yoga or meditation. Deep abdominal breathing may help too. Soy products claim to help relieve the symptoms of hot flashes.
There are several treatment options for hot flashes. Hot flashes are most often caused by a withdrawal of estrogen. As such Hormone Replacement Therapy is the best option. Estrogen alone is given to women, who have had their uterus removed. But for others going through natural menopause, a combination of estrogen and progesterone is recommended.
This is to reduce the chances of endometrial cancer from occurring. The lowest dose is given. Heart diseases is a contraindication for the treatment with hormones as also is breast cancer. Certain anti depressants are given in low doses to help relieve the symptoms of hot flashes. However, these are accompanied with some side effects like nausea, dizziness etc.