Hot flashes can be a daily occurrence for some women during perimenopause and through menopause. Approximately 85 percent of women in America suffer from hot flashes in their early 40’s. Other women, approximately 50 percent continue the “fan and dash” of hot flashes for years into menopause.
Symptoms of Menopause Hot Flashes
Reddening in the face or neck
Irregular or fast heartbeat
Cold chills after the hot flash
Menopause And Hot Flashes
These intense and sudden attacks of body heat result from ebbing estrogen and progesterone levels during menopause. As the time of fertility passes, the body no longer requires the same levels of female reproductive hormones. These chemicals, however, are responsible for monitoring many body systems such as sleep/wake cycles, moods, body temperature, digestion, and memory and concentration. Small changes in hormone levels lead to distract bodily changes. Women can lose up to 80 percent of their estrogen levels in a short time. With such abrupt drops hormone levels, hot flashes can be severe.
Spicy foods can often cause hot flashes. Alcohol and caffeine can also raise internal temperature and generate perspiration, facial flushing, intense heat, anxiety, and sleeplessness. The heat, flushing, and perspiration of a hot flash may last for just a minute or a half hour. Each woman’s reaction to ebbing estrogen and progesterone determines the frequency, duration, and severity of hot flashes. In extreme cases, a woman can suffer from between 30 to 50 hot flashes daily.
Hot flashes can increase anxiety, stress levels, and trigger nighttime sweats. Warm indoor temperatures and hot weather can activate hot flashes. Nicotine, caffeine, processed foods and refined sugars can elicit stress hormones that can also generate hot flashes.
Additional menopause hot flashes symptoms include a rapid and irregular heart rate, and rushes of heat to the face and neck followed by cooling chills. Other symptoms include sleep disturbances, soaking perspiration in the upper body while leaving the feet frigid. Anxiety or panic can accompany hot flashes as estrogen levels dip.
When to Seek Medical Attention
Hot flashes can be disruptive but can pass quickly. While hot flashes can be a mild annoyance for some, other women experience severe and debilitating symptoms. With severe perspiration, dizziness, intense facial flushing, their hot flashes are frequent and long lasting. Hot flashes and accompanying anxiety, sleeplessness, rapid heartbeat and nausea can require additional medical analysis and professional medical attention.
Hot flashes should cause undue stress or alter a woman’s quality of life. Women, who are unable to complete daily tasks, maintain regular sleeping patterns or control panic and anxiety may need to consult their medical health professional. The doctor can assess a woman's need for additional medication.
Alternative therapies that include estrogen therapy may be necessary for a small group of women. Synthetic estrogen can place women at risk for breast and ovarian cancers. With such risk, this medication is a last resort for treating severe and debilitating symptoms of menopause and accompanying hot flashes. Generally, herbal supplements, eating a healthy diet, exercising and drinking plenty of liquid goes a long way in reducing hot flash symptomology.
In addition, women who find healthy ways to reduce stress through relaxation techniques, massage, acupuncture, meditation, or yoga can reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flashes symptoms. Learn how to understand the symptoms of hot flashes.