As women, our reproductive cycles run into each other. You must be having menstrual cycles that produce an egg on a regular basis before you can have a baby. After birth, breast feeding babies interfere with the hormonal cycle that allows us to have another baby before our bodies are ready raise another it.
As we age, the cycle becomes less regular, which prevents us from having a baby that someone else will have to raise. From an evolutionary standpoint, this is worth the lack of investment in pregnancy, and delivery. The periods of time leading up to those events are a maelstrom of hormones that regulate all the activity. So why are we surprised when hot flushes occur, along with other symptoms, when we are entering a period of transition? There are some very basic hormones that cause the symptoms of hot flushes and menopause.
There is one caveat. Hormone imbalances are the most common cause of menopausal hot flushes, but there are other causes. There are cancers and other physical diseases that will cause this symptom, so it is very important to see your doctor before deciding it is just menopause.
Hot flushesWhat is a hot flush? Basically, it is a sensation of warmth or feeling flushed. Usually felt in the face or upper portion of the body, or sometimes felt to be rising up from deep within their bodies. It results from blood vessels in your body opening, which increases the surface area the blood is exposed to and cools it off. Some ladies and men may sweat but not everyone does.
It may be helpful to know that both men and women have problems in this area. Male menopause is known as andropause, which is a fancy word meaning declining testosterone. In both sexes, estrogen, progesterone or testosterone decline as we age. As that happens, the brain thermostat resets itself. The hypothalamus is the part of the brain that regulates both the body temperature and the appetite. When those hormones change, your body responds as if it is overheating. Increased blood flow to the skin causes the flushing of the skin. An actual temperature change may result from a hot flush.
There are other causes of hot flushes that are within your control. Emotions, too much or too little thyroid hormone, increased cortisol level (caused by stress), high insulin levels, alcohol and food with MSG can all trigger these episodes. Medications may cause this as well- Niacin, used to lower cholesterol, Viagra, and the family of calcium channel blockers can all cause hot flashes. If you think one of these medications may be causing the problem, please see your doctor to find an alternative medication. Your health is too important to risk.
What can you do to prevent hot flushes? When you are in the middle of a hot flash - not much. Cold showers, sitting outside if you are in a cold climate may help temporarily. Most hot flashes only last three to five minutes. That is poor consolation when you wake up soaking wet at three am. Lowering the temperature in your bedroom, layering clothing so you can remove them when needed, sleeping in separate beds may help temporarily. See more
Food can trigger hot flushes or make them worse, so keep an eye on your diet. Hot or spicy foods and food with nitrates can all do that. Hot dogs, lunch meats, and bacon are all offenders. A diet high in fruit and vegetables that are raw or only lightly cooked will also help. Lifestyle modification can dramatically decrease hot flashes. Regular exercise, stress reduction and medication which reduces tension and anxiety which will decrease hot flashes. There is no need to suffer any longer- get help today! Read more about signs of hot flashes.