Hot flashes are a sudden feeling of the flow of extreme heat through your body and sometimes a red, flushed face with sweat beads all over your skin. Exact causes have been discovered but variations in the patterns of circulation are considered one of the reasons for getting hot flashes. According to many women, they started experiencing these hot flashes when the blood vessels near the skin’s surface start widening to cool off, breaking into sweat beads which result in profuse sweating. Some other women have also experienced rapid heartbeat and chills. Hot flashes when you sleep is termed as ‘Night Sweat’ in medical studies.
Now, knowing what hot flashes are, their longevity can be a common question in our heads. Medical experts say that it depends because it varies from person to person. While almost 2 out of every 10 women have never experienced these hot flashes, some women have been dealing with these flashes for more than 10 years now. There is no fixed duration, however, experts believe on average, women get hot flashes or night sweats for about a total of 7.4 years in their entire life and about 4.5 years after the last menstrual period.
What Can Cause Hot Flashes In Women?
As mentioned above, hot flashes have many underlying reasons which may not be the same for everyone, but below listed are some of the most common reasons on the backend that may cause these hot flashes:
- The complex hormonal changes that are a result of the inevitable process of ageing, peculiarly the fluctuating levels of estrogen as a woman approaches menopause are supposedly one of the most common reasons for hot flashes in women.
- A disorder in the usual process of thermoregulation (regulation of body heat) can be responsible for extreme heat flow.
- While hot flashes during pregnancy and hot flashes during menopause are very common, it can occur in men as well as women who are not approaching menopause as a result of certain medical disorders that can cause thermoregulation.
- For an easy example, carcinoid syndrome results from a type of specific endocrine tumour and secretes a hormone called serotonin which can result in hot flashes.
- Specific disorders/cancers which have fever as a side effect or any continuous medication often results in hot flashes.
Signs And Symptoms
To identify whether the sudden heat flow in your body is hot flashes or not, you can cross-check with some common symptoms. :
- Hot flashes are brief, from 30 seconds to a few minutes.
- Hot flashes cause your skin to get all flushed and redness on the skin can be observed.
- Excessive perspiration/sweating can also occur and if it is occurring while you sleep, it can result in night sweats.
- There can be a strong feeling of anxiety along with these hot flashes.
- Women also experience uneven palpitation from time to time
If you are someone who is getting hot flashes frequently, we bring to you some treatments to help you cure your hot flashes.
1. Hormone Therapy
Hormone therapy (Postmenopausal Hormone Therapy), formerly widely known as Hormone Replacement Therapy is a hot flashes treatment that consists of estrogen or a combination of estrogen and progesterone. The prescription estrogen medicines depend on the effectiveness of reducing hot flashes and their severity. But for a few years, medical experts have been observing the adverse effects it leaves on physical health and advises to avoid this.
2. Bioidentical Therapy
Bioidentical hormone preparations are medications containing the hormones with the same chemical formula as the ones present naturally in our body. The hormones are either made in a laboratory by altering the plant-based products or at special pharmacies called compounding pharmacies. Where case-by-case preparation is done, taking care of variation with each individual.
3. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor
SSRI medications like Paroxetine (Brisdelle) are used to treat and moderate the hot flashes caused by menopause in women.
It is an anti-hypertensive drug that helps in controlling the menopausal hot flashes in women and is taken in form of pills or skin patches and is observed to decrease blood pressure.
5. Megestrol Acetate
This is a progastrin that is sometimes prescribed as a medication for hot flashes but this is not recommended as a first-line treatment because it can cause serious side effects.
Home Remedies For Hot Flashes
1. Liquorice Root
According to a 2012 study, women eating 330 mg of liquorice root thrice daily for 8 weeks experienced fewer hot flashes than ones who didn’t eat it.
2. Valerian Root
A 2013 study showed that women taking 255 mg of valerian root thrice daily for 8 weeks experienced less frequent and less severe flashes. Valerian root also helps in improving the disturbed sleeping pattern which also has an association with these flashes.
3. Black Cohosh
It is a herb which Native Americans believe to have properties that can relieve menopause symptoms which include hot flashes as well.
4. Lifestyle Changes
Drinking cold water and splashing it over your body helps in thermoregulation and decreases the frequency of the hot flashes. Quitting smoking and good physical exercise is a must for effectively reduced hot flashes. Some other lifestyle changes include:
- Relaxed mind
- Avoiding spicy meals
- No alcohol
- Talk therapy
- Breathing exercises
- Hot flashes are common in women who are approaching menopause and even during pregnancy
- It can cause redness of skin, palpitations and heavy, rugged breathing
- The underlying cause can differ from person to person for these hot flashes
- Changing your lifestyle from sedentary to a more active and healthy would limit the frequency of hot flashes
- We need to take these measures to thermoregulate our body because changes in thermoregulation lead to hot flashes
- Go for home remedies and if you are undergoing medical treatment, make sure to take a professional’s supervision.
- If none of this helps, please visit your doctor and take medical help.
While most women deal with hot flashes, it is not something that we should stress about. Stress can worsen the severity and can result in increased hot flashes. If you experience them more frequently, visit a doctor and take medical assistance under professional supervision. You have to be cautious but also calm. A long way to go, ladies!
FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How often do hot flashes occur?
A. Usually, the severity and repetitive frequency varies from body to body and hence, woman to woman. They usually occur for a few minutes and can last for more than a year or so. Sometimes, they can occur several times a week or even multiple times a day. Night flashes can negatively affect sleep cycle and can also cause anxiety and depression.
Q. What kind of foods help with hot flashes?
A. According to alternative medicine various food items called ‘cooling foods’ can help prevent hot flashes. These foods include:
- Green Tea
Q. Can changes in the lifestyle prevent hot flashes?
A. Following changes in the lifestyle can help in preventing hot flashes:
- Losing weight and doing plenty of exercises regularly
- Dressing in layers and getting rid off those layers when hot flashes occur
- Keeping your environment cool and devoid of any heat source
- Managing your stress
- Eating a vitamin-rich diet that includes more vegetables and fruits and low flour and sugar
Q. Can hot flashes be triggered by something?
A. Hot flashes are believed to be easily triggered by:
- Hot weather
- Spicy foods
- Tight clothing
- Extreme stress
Sugar and vigorous exercise in an already warm atmosphere can worsen up the flashes.
Q. Can we ever get rid of hot flashes?
A. Hot flashes usually fade away with time. It requires no special medical treatment unless it becomes troublesome. However, few women experience hot flashes from time to time forever.