Have you ever wondered what causes hot flashes? One cause is due to the onset of menopause later in a woman’s life. The part of brain that regulates body temperature called the hypothalamus, is falsely reacting due to a change in estrogen. The hypothalamus believes that the body is too warm, which causes blushing in the face and neck, sweating, and even increased heart rate.
Some men on the controversial andropause, men on hormone restriction therapy for prostate problems, persons with hyperthyroidism, low blood pressure and low blood sugar are also prone to hot flashes. The mechanism of hot flashes is simple. The blood vessels on the neck and head enlarge and allow more blood than normal to pass. This gives the hot feeling and causes other symptoms. The cause of the blood vessels’ dilating is still unknown.
Hot flashes are caused by hormonal changes that take place in the female body during or after menopause. The particular hormone connected with hot flashes is estrogen. A fall in the estrogen level directly ‘confuses’ the hypothalamus, which is the body’s thermostat. Thus confused, the hypothalamus mistakes the change as excessive heat. This triggers the brain’s heat-releasing mechanism.
During pregnancy, estrogen levels tend to fluctuate in some women. Even among menopausal women, where 75% suffer from hot flashes, it is not the level of estrogen or other hormones that cause the problem, but the fluctuating hormone levels. Hot flashes are a hot feeling on the neck and face, making the face red, and may be accompanied by sweating, dizziness, head ache and heart palpitation.
To cool the hot area there is perspiration. This could be anything from slight moist skin to profuse sweating. The heart beats faster to compensate. There may be palpitation or irregular heartbeats. Since the head is directly affected, there is a chance of headache and dizziness. All this put together makes you feel weak and suffocated. Insomnia is a common complaint after hot flashes. After the attack is over you feel very chilled, as the body temperature is very low.
The most effective treatment had been hormone replacement therapy. But its side effects, specially the chances of getting cancer, make it a last resort. There are other management techniques and herbal medications available to treat hot flashes. For the persons prone to hot flashes, some things trigger them. By keeping a record of certain lifestyle events and the occurrence of hot flashes, you may be able to pinpoint the trigger and stop the attack.
With the onset of puberty, hormone production increases, which protects the women from many an illness. With menopause, these hormones decline. For some women the reduction is gradual, and their problem with hot flashes is mild or nil. With others, the hormonal levels fluctuate widely, and this causes most of the menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes.
Estrogen therapy has proved to be the most effective therapy for hot flashes. But the potential side effects, like endometrial cancer, make it the last resort. An anti-depressant drug, venlafaxine, offers a good nonhormonal treatment for hot flashes. The Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Charles says, “I am not aware of any other non-hormonal treatment that has been studied that is as effective.
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Good morning and happy Monday!
About a year ago I had my first hot flash and life has not been the same since! They are so unpredictable and uncomfortable that it’s been an ongoing journey to pinpoint and change any habit or food preference that may in any way contribute to their occurrence.
Menopause is such an interesting and often difficult time. Hot flashes is the most common symptom but mood swings can be a problem as well as sleeplessness. Navigating these issues requires your attention and participation in order to find relief.
If you’ve had a hot flash you know how awful they can be. For those who haven’t, it’s a sudden sensation of rising heat that turns you red and makes you feel like you could burst into flames 🙂 . It lasts less than a minute and then dissipates quickly often leaving you dewy with sweat which serves to cool you off. Because stress is a trigger, it can come on in the middle of work, when speaking with your boss or a client which can be embarrassing for some women.
But there is so much you can do to manage hot flashes and perhaps eliminate them entirely. In today’s video I share with you why we experience hot flashes, what foods and habits can aggravate them and what to do to find relief. There’s a lot of information on this video, so if hot flashes are a concern for you, grab a pad and pen and write things down… I don’t want you to miss any suggestion that might be helpful.
After you’ve tuned in, I’d love to hear your feedback. If you have hot flashes, do you find there to be a particular food that aggravates it? Is there a food or habit that you’ve changed in order to manage them? Or do you take vitamin supplements to help keep them under control? Let me know in the comments below.
I hope you enjoy today’s video and that it gives you a lot to work with to help keep you cool and comfortable~
Wishing you a great week!
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