Hot flashes are one of the most common and uncomfortable symptoms of menopause. They are characterized by a sudden sensation of intense heat, and can strike at any time of the day or night. They can come as a surprise, leaving you flustered and over-heated.
It is important to understand menopausal hot flashes in order to know how to treat them. Hot flashes can be triggered by hormonal, environmental, or medical factors. Read on to learn more about hot flashes, and how they can be treated.
Hormonal Causes of Hot Flashes
Hormones are responsible for many of the bodily changes that occur during menopause. During the menopausal process, hormones are in a state of constant change. This fluctuation disrupts the body's balance, and results in menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes. There are a number of natural and hormonal treatments available to help manage hot flashes, including herbal remedies, bioidentical hormones, and hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Environmental Causes of Hot Flashes
Environmental factors can also cause hot flashes. The climate you live in, the season, and the fabric of your clothes, can cause your body to heat up. Activities such as cooking or cardiovascular exercise can also trigger menopausal hot flashes. It is a good idea to be prepared in these situations by wearing layers that can be easily removed, by always having a water bottle, or by carrying a fan.
Medical Causes of Hot Flashes
It is possible that the hot flashes that you are experiencing are not symptomatic of menopause, but of other medical conditions. Hot flashes may also signal that you are suffering from the following:
- Panic disorder
- Thyroid disease
If you are experiencing other symptoms related to the medical conditions listed above, it is recommended that you consult a doctor.
There are various factors that cause hot flashes. To a degree, the hormonal and environmental causes of hot flashes can be controlled or even eliminated. By making simple changes to lifestyle, diet, or by exploring alternative or hormonal remedies, it is possible to tackle hot flashes at the source and reduce your discomfort.
Click on the links below to learn more about hot flashes, how they are caused and how to manage them.
- "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).