Menopause is a time when women are susceptible to hot flashes as well as a number of other symptoms. However, hot flashes are not always the result of menopause. Women may experience hot flashes for other reasons during different stages of life. Read on to find out more.
Not Just Menopause
Contrary to popular belief, not all women who have hot flashes are menopausal. In fact, pregnant women have been known to suffer from hot flashes, especially in their last two trimesters. Also, women who are prone to hot flashes during pregnancy may continue to have them even after giving birth. Especially for new mothers who breastfeed, hot flashes can keep happening for some time. This is likely due to changes in hormone levels during and after pregnancy.
Even if you are a new mother who regularly suffers from hot flashes, it's important to keep track of your body temperature. The period after giving birth is a particularly vulnerable one, and a rise in body temperature could be the first sign of a fever. If your temperature doesn't return to normal within a few minutes, you should call your doctor.
Hot Flashes during Menopause
Several factors can increase a woman's risk of experiencing hot flashes. These include:
- Older age
Black women tend to report more hot flashes than white women in the U.S., though it is uncertain whether this is due to genetics, likelihood to report, or a combination.
In the past decade years, there has also been substantial research regarding the link between hot flashes and risk of breast cancer. Researchers found that women who have hot flashes saw their risk of getting breast cancer cut in half. This may suggest that women with lower levels of estrogen and related hormones are more susceptible to hot flashes but at the same time less vulnerable to breast cancer.
If you're experiencing uncomfortable hot flashes, there are certain triggers that you can avoid that may help you stay cool. Try cutting back on spicy foods, caffeinated beverages, alcohol, and hot showers to reduce the occurrence of hot flashes.
Click on the following link to learn more about how to handle hot flashes properly.
- National Health Service UK. (2015). Hot flushes: how to cope. Retrieved January 22, 2016, from http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/menopause/Pages/hot-flushes.aspx
- Miller, S.R. et al. (2006). Association between race and hot flashes in midlife women. Maturitas, 54(3), 260-269. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16423474
- Sikon, A. & Thacker, H. (2004). Treatment for Menopausal Hot Flashes. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, 71(7).
- Weir, E. (2004). Hot flashes ... in January. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 170(1), 39-40. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC305309/