Hot flashes, sweats, and chills often go hand-in-hand. Upsetting and annoying, such menopause symptoms can become a real burden to menopausal women. A frequent symptom of menopause, hot flashes, sweats, and chills can stop a woman in her tracks and greatly impact her day-to-day life. It is important for women to know how best to manage their hot flashes, so that they can make the transition into menopause as easy as possible.
Read on to learn more about the causes of hot flashes, sweats, and chills, and how to treat these symptoms accordingly.
What Are Hot Flashes, Sweats, and Chills?
During menopause, women commonly complain about hot flashes. Hot flashes are feelings of intense heat in the upper part of the body, accompanied by an increased heart rate and flushing of the chest, neck, and face, as well as profuse sweating. Hot flashes are often followed by chills and cold sensations. Hot flashes, sweats, and consequently chills vary in length and intensity, but most women report episodes of hot flashes lasting between thirty seconds and five minutes. During the three years leading up to menopause, half of all women will experience hot flashes, and around 75% of them will suffer from hot flashes during the menopausal transition.
Women suffering from hot flashes, sweats and chills usually develop a pattern of symptoms. For some, these are infrequent, and for others, they happen more than once per day. Hot flashes are a vasomotor symptom of menopause. This means that they can disrupt the usual functioning of the vascular and motor systems of the body, causing intense heat, perspiration, and other symptoms ranging from mild to severe.
Hot flashes, sweats, and chills can occur at any time of the day and night. When a woman experiences hot flashes at night and her sleep is interrupted, she is said to have had a night sweat.
What Causes Hot Flashes, Sweats, and Chills?
The exact cause of hot flashes has yet to be determined, but it is widely understood that decreased levels of estrogen cause a hormonal imbalance which, in turn, affects the biochemical function of the body. The fluctuation of hormones specifically affects the hypothalamus, (the part of the brain that regulates temperature) making it believe that the body is too hot. The body then releases chemicals that cause blood vessels near the skin to expand, so that heat can be released and the body cooled down. As a result, women experience hot flashes.
As well as other vasomotor symptoms, such as heart palpitations and dizziness, hot flashes are less intense after a woman has reached menopause. The majority of women will stop having hot flashes five years after menopause. Unfortunately, for some women, hot flashes can persist for up to ten years or longer.
In addition to identifying and avoiding the triggers of hot flashes, alternative medicine can provide a more precise and effective way to manage hot flashes. They work by targeting the hormonal imbalance and can help prevent hot flashes from occurring. Often a combination of alternative medicine and a healthy lifestyle is the most effective method of treating hot flashes. Click on the following link in order to find the best treatments for hot flashes available.
- "Hot flashes ... in January". Canadian Medical Association Journal. 2004: 170 (1).
- Miller, Heather and Rose Maria Li, M.D. "Measuring Hot Flashes: Summary of a National Institutes of Health Workshop". Conference report. Mayo Clinic. June 2004: 79.
- Sikon, Andrea and Holly Thacker M.D. "Treatment for Menopausal Hot Flashes". Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. July 2004: 71 (7).