Mere Hot Flashes or Menopause?

By  //  March 3, 2023

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Hot flashes are most frequently caused by menopause — the periodtime when menstrual cycles start to become irregular and eventually end, however they can also be caused by other medical disorders.

The most common symptom of the menopausal transition is hot flashes.

The abrupt sensation of warmth in the upper body also called a hot flash is typically most acute across the face, neck, and chest. Hot flashes and night sweats are medically termed vasomotor symptoms. Although there is no permanent cure for hot flashes, researchers are conducting hot flashes clinical trials in your area to find a potential treatment option for managing the symptoms. 

At What Age Does Hot Flashes Appear?

Hot flashes are a common symptom of menopause. This transitional phase — menopause — happens in the late ’40s to early 50s. The duration can differ depending on the person.

What Do Hot Flashes Look Like?

Hot flashes typically feel like a fleeting sensation of heat across your body, though many women may experience them slightly differently. Women can get flushed and start sweating during a hot flash. They might feel chilly after the feeling of heat.

Every woman experiences hot flashes differently, and they can persist for varying lengths of time and vary in intensity. For one person, what might be a brief discomfort might be extremely draining. 

What Causes Hot Flashes?

In reality, a lot of things in your everyday life could cause a hot flash. Hot flashes may be caused by:

  • Warm conditions,
  • Heat,
  • Smoking,
  • Caffeine,
  • Alcohol,
  • spicy cuisine,
  • slender clothes, and
  • Stress

Being mindful of eating is frequently a necessary part of avoiding factors that cause your hot flashes. You may get hot flashes as a result of a number of things, including spicy meals, caffeine, and alcohol, as mentioned above.

Another element that could contribute to hot flashes is heating. You can experience more hot flashes when it’s hot outside or if you feel too hot while doing something. When working out, be careful not to get too heated because this could induce a hot flash.

Risk Factors Of Menopause

Hot flashes are not a common symptom of menopause in all women, and it is unclear why some experience them. Your risk may be impacted by the following characteristics:

  • Smoking: Hot flashes are more common in female smokers.
  • Obesity: Hot flashes occur more frequently in those with greater body mass indices (BMI).
  • Race: Compared to women of other races, more African American women report experiencing hot flashes during menopause. Asian women experience hot flashes the least commonly overall.

Do Hot Flashes Go Away On Their Own?

The duration of hot flashes differs from person to person. Sometimes, a woman might only experience hot flashes for a short time during menopause. Once a woman is post-menopausal, hot flashes stop. Whereas sometimes hot flashes persist for a longer period of time, they may turn severe. 

How To Treat Hot Flashes?

Hot flashes may seem like they are inevitable and you would think that you will have to deal with them throughout. However, there are certain treatment options available that can help in managing the severity of the symptoms. There are two types of treatment options available for hot flashes:

  • Prescription medicines
  • Over-the-counter medications 

Natural Ways To Ease Hot Flashes

Before considering taking medication, try making lifestyle changes. If hot flashes keep you up at night, lower the temperature in your bedroom and try taking sips of cool water before bed. A fan should be on, and your bedding should be layered so it may be easily changed as needed. Here are a few other lifestyle modifications you can make.

  • Dress in layers that you can take off when a hot flash starts.
  • Carry a little fan so you can cool off if a hot flash occurs.
  • Steer clear of coffee, alcohol, and hot foods. These may exacerbate menopausal symptoms.
  • Avoid smoking: Try to stop smoking if you do, not just to prevent hot flashes but also for your general health.
  • Maintain a healthy weight: Obese or overweight women may get hot flashes that are more frequent and intense.
  • Examine mind-body techniques: Hypnotherapy and mindfulness meditation are considered to aid in the treatment of hot flashes as per some preliminary research.

How Do Hot Flashes Affect Quality of Life?

Nighttime hot flashes can keep you awake and eventually lead to chronic sleep disruption. According to research, women who have hot flashes may be at a higher risk for heart disease and bone loss than women who do not. It interrupts with day to day activities and results in mood swings and mental exhaustion. Even women who are physically fit during menopause can be severely affected by vasomotor symptoms. It can take a toll on their productivity and energy levels and result in the adoption of a more sedentary lifestyle. 

Hormone Replacement Therapy

The main hormone used to lessen hot flashes is estrogen. Most hysterectomy patients are able to take estrogen by themselves. However, if a woman still has a uterus, she should take progesterone together with estrogen to stave off uterine lining cancer (endometrial cancer).

With either regimen, the therapy must be personalized. For symptom control, guidelines advise using the lowest dose that is still effective. The balance of your hormone therapy dangers and advantages will determine how long you need to utilize the treatment. Your quality of life is to be maximized. 

The hot flashes may return if you stop taking hormone replacement therapy. Certain types of short-term hormone replacement therapy can increase the risk of blood clots, breast and endometrial malignancies, and gallbladder inflammation.

Additionally, progesterone-related adverse effects can occur in some women who are receiving estrogen therapy while taking progesterone.

The Bottom Line

Hot flashes are certainly not the best part of menopause. They drain one completely and severely affect the quality of life. Therefore it is important to take care of yourself during menopause and try to identify the triggers so that you may avoid them. Every phase of life must be enjoyed, and so does the menopause phase. Having sound knowledge regarding the condition can help manage the symptoms and live a happy life. 

Additionally, clinical trials are a great way to manage the symptoms of those conditions which do not have a permanent cure.

Many clinical research organizations in Michigan conduct hot flashes research studies to evaluate the safety and efficacy of drugs that may be able to help women in their menopause phase.