Hot flashes are known to turn your face red and increase anxiety. Whether two minutes or thirty minutes, the increased heat, flushing, and quickened heartbeat are common and unquestioned. Do not be surprised, however, if some additional symptoms come alongside these moments when your body temperature skyrockets. Sometimes, women can come out of a hot flash feeling far more than sweaty, making them feel even more dreadful. In rare cases, women may even be terrified of a hot flash arriving due to these uncommon symptoms.
Feelings of Suffocation
Breathing can become much shallower during a hot flash. When your heart rate quickens, you begin to breathe faster in an effort to calm down. However, this does not soothe you at all. If you continue breathing this way, even though you are getting more than enough oxygen, you will feel like all of the oxygen has been sucked out of the room. This is because you are not giving your body a chance to expel carbon dioxide (CO2). In such moments, you may begin hyperventilating and feel like you are suffocating. It is extremely important to practice deep, slow breathing every single day if you are prone to this symptom.
Claustrophobia is the fear of small or enclosed spaces. Many woman, even if they were not necessarily claustrophobic in the past, begin to develop this fear during hot flash episodes. When the heat rises, and especially when feeling suffocated, it can be made much more severe if you are in a small or stagnant space. Your chest may tighten and, accompanied by the supposed lack of oxygen, the room may begin to feel smaller and smaller.
Elevators, airplanes, crowded restaurants, and enclosed stairwells will give you the feeling that you are trapped and cause your heart to pound. It is important to be in spacious, well ventilated rooms as much as possible. If you are not, it's best to close your eyes, breathe deeply, and hum to yourself.
If your body feels like it is a million degrees paired with hyperventilation and claustrophobia, you will likely begin to panic. Panic is extreme anxiety that may have you screaming, crying, running out of the room, or ripping your clothes off. While panic attacks can be scary, they usually pass quickly.
That blotchy redness on the chest and face that you know so well, in some cases can become chronic if often experienced during hot flashes. Rosacea is a skin condition where redness remains in the long term, meaning continuous flushing, swelling, and burning even after your hot flash.
Electric Shock Sensation
For some women, an electric shock sensation may precede a hot flash. It is a brief feeling of sharp snapping electricity that jolts through the limbs or head. It can be very painful and start your distressing hot flash on a very uncomfortable note. Though the exact cause is unknown, research has found that it is likely caused by activity in the brainstem, which is connected to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord, just before the flash. The unknown function of this activity is highly likely to affect nerve endings in your extremities.
Hot flashes are more than meets the eye. There is so much going on in a women's body and brain during this time that it can become overwhelming. If you are prone to these uncommon symptoms, make sure to practice relaxation techniques.
- American Academy of Dermatology. (2014). Rosacea: Who Gets and Causes. Retrieved January 30, 2014, from http://www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/diseases-and-treatments/q---t/rosacea/who-gets-causes
- NYU Langone Medical Center. (2013). Claustrophobia. Retrieved January 30, 2014, from http://www.med.nyu.edu/content?ChunkIID=100695
- Office on Women's Health. (2013). New Clues about Hot Flashes and the Brain. Retrieved January 30, 2014, from http://www.womenshealth.gov/news/HealthDay/EN/2013/Jul/31/678437.html