Managing Hot Flashes During Menopause

Hot flashes are also known as hot flushes. These are a sudden, transient sensation of warmth or heat that spreads over the body, creating a flushing, or redness, that is particularly noticeable on the face and upper portion of your body.

Updated: June 16, 2022

Hot flashes are also known as hot flushes. These are a sudden, transient sensation of warmth or heat that spreads over the body, creating a flushing, or redness, that is particularly noticeable on the face and upper portion of your body. Your body temperature rises during a hot flash. It affect the top half of your body, and your skin may even turn red in color or become blotchy resulting in sweating, heart palpitations, and feelings of dizziness. After the hot flash, you may feel cold.
Hot flashes may come on daily or even multiple times a day. You may experience them over the course of a year or even several years.  The intensity of a hot flash can range from mild to very strong, even waking you from sleep. A hot flash generally lasts between 30 seconds to 10 minutes.
Consuming alcohol or caffeine, eating spicy food, feeling stressed or being somewhere hot can trigger hot flashes. Being overweight and smoking may also make hot flashes worse. Breathing exercises during a hot flash can help minimize it. Medications such as birth control pills, hormone therapy, or even other prescriptions may help you reduce hot flashes.
You can use a fan at work or in your home to help cool you down.

Symptoms of Hot Flashes:

Hot flashes are one of the most common complaints of menopause, as the periods of intense heat, warm skin, and sweating are uncomfortable. The common symptoms include:

  • your heart beating faster than usual or heart palpitations
  • your skin feeling warm, suddenly
  • tingling in your fingers
  • your face getting red or flushed
  • sweating, especially in the upper body

Causes of Hot Flashes:

When an women approach menopause, the estrogen level decreases naturally resulting in hot flashes. If the estrogen production decreases gradually, it produces fewer hot flashes. But if the ovaries stop estrogen production more abruptly hot flashes can be a rollercoaster ride in those cases.
Most women experience hot flashes for a year or two after their final menstrual period. Hot flashes may still continue after menopause, but they lessen in intensity over time.
Obesity and metabolic syndrome can also contribute to increase the incidence of hot flashes. The intensity of a hot flash can range from mild to very strong from women to women.

Hot flash triggers:

Some common triggers for hot flash include:

  • eating spicy foods
  • feeling stressed or anxious
  • wearing tight clothes
  • consuming products with caffeine
  • drinking alcohol
  • smoking or being exposed to cigarette smoke
  • being in a hot room or environment

Ways to Relieve Hot Flashes:

Here are some simple ways to find relief:

  • dressing in layers, even on the coldest days, so you can adjust your clothing to how you are feeling
  • wearing cotton night clothes and using cotton bed linens
  • sipping ice water at the start of a hot flash
  • keeping an ice pack on your bedside table

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT):

Estrogen supplements helps reducing the incidence and severity of hot flashes and night sweats by leveling out the amount of estrogen in your system. To reduce the risk of developing endometrial cancer, estrogen is usually taken with progestin. It can be taken as pill, through a vaginal cream or gel, or a patch.

Nonhormonal Treatments:

Although other medications used to treat hot flashes and night sweats are not developed directly for this purpose, they are effective for some women.
Gabapentin and pregabalin, usually given for nerve-mediated pain or seizures help relief for some women. Antidepressants venlafaxine (Effexor), fluoxetine (Prozac), and paroxetine (Paxil) can be effective for treatment of hot flashes.

Lifestyle Changes:

Living a healthy lifestyle can help reduce the incidence and severity of hot flashes and also reduce the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis.
 you can improve your health by:

  •     Eating a well-balanced diet and control portion size.
  •     Exercising regularly.
  •     Stop smoking.

Meditation can also be very helpful in managing stress levels which in turn reduce the incidence and severity of hot flashes. Stress is a common hot flash trigger for many women.
Acupuncture may also be helpful in some women.


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