Menopause symptoms can impact almost every aspect of a person's life. This also goes for hot flashes, the most common symptom of menopause, and one that can't interrupt a woman at work, disrupt her sleep, or make her feel generally uncomfortable and overheated on a regular basis. Hot flashes are also complicated because they are not completely understood, and many different treatment options are available for them.
Why Do I Get Hot Flashes?
As with most menopause symptoms, hot flashes are caused by hormone imbalances in your body. Hormones act as a chemical messaging system inside your body, they let you know when you are cold, tired, or hungry. When your hormone levels fluctuate, such as when estrogen levels decline during menopause, a person can experience a variety of symptoms and body changes. Decreasing estrogen levels disrupt the body's internal temperature, causing the body to try to heat itself up when it's already hot.
Are Hot Flashes a Serious Problem?
A hot flash can be a symptom of some serious medical conditions, so if you are experiencing hot flashes and you are not going through menopause, it may be a good idea to talk to your doctor.
However, hot flashes in and of themselves are not dangerous. Menopausal hot flashes are a symptom of a life transition, they are not a symptom of a disease. It is important to note that there is a correlation between hot flashes and some mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. Treating an underlying mental health condition may help reduce the occurrences of hot flashes.
How Can I Get Rid of Hot Flashes?
Some of the most common treatments of hot flashes are lifestyle changes. For example, if your hot flashes are triggered by stress, you can try practicing yoga or relaxation techniques. Many women also use hormone replacement therapy (HRT), one of the most effective ways to treat menopause symptoms. Natural options such as acupuncture and herbal supplements are also popular. Talk to your doctor to identify the best treatment plan for you.
- National Health Service. (2015). Hot flushes: how to cope. Retrieved November 17, 2015, from http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/menopause/Pages/hot-flushes.aspx
- Medicinewise. (2014). Managing hot flushes in menopause. Retrieved November 17, 2015, from http://www.nps.org.au/publications/consumer/medicinewise-living/2014/managing-hot-flushes