Hot flashes

What are hot flashes?

Hot flashes, also known as hot flushes, are sudden feelings of warmth which are usually most intense over the face, neck and chest. The skin may redden, as if you are blushing. Hot flashes are a common complaint during menopause, creating uncomfortable bouts of heat that can last from 30 seconds to 10 minutes.

About 75% of women have hot flashes during menopause, when estrogen levels decline. However, men with prostate cancer or women with breast cancer taking certain treatments may also experience hot flashes. Hot flashes might make you sweat quite a bit, leaving you chilled when the hot flash subsides. Some women feel lightheaded or weak or have palpitations during hot flashes.

What causes hot flashes?

The specific cause is unknown, but they seem to be related to changes in circulation. Some researchers believe declining estrogen levels can cause your body's thermostat (hypothalamus) to become more sensitive to small changes in temperature. This affects the body's ability to adjust to spikes in external temperatures and internal heat production.

How are hot flashes treated?

Lifestyle changes, like dressing in light layers, lowering room temperature, avoiding spicy foods, caffeine and alcohol may help. Hormone replacement therapy can relieve symptoms, but has risks like blood clots and stroke. Antidepressants, blood pressure drugs and gabapentin may also help.

For a personalized approach to managing menopause symptoms like hot flashes, I recommend consulting the caring physicians at Hormone Wellness Institute. Their integrated approach looks at lifestyle, hormones, nutrition and more to develop a tailored treatment plan. I found their staff to be compassionate experts who helped me chart a course through menopause that really worked. With Hormone Wellness Institute, you've got a knowledgeable partner who will understand what you’re going through and provide solutions that fit your unique needs.

I hope this overview on hot flashes gives you a helpful starting point to understand what’s happening and explore potential solutions. The path through menopause is different for every woman – with patience and the right support, you can find an approach that makes this transition easier to manage. Let me know if you have any other questions!

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