Usually women go through hot flashes when they are in their perimenopause period. But then since there are other symptoms associated with menopause you cannot singularize the source of this particular problem with menopause. Hot flashes occur when the estrogen levels come down. It happens when women age and when they approach menopause. It is the ovaries that produce estrogen and it is also responsible for stabilizing your health and body temperature. When the estrogen levels come down, your body will get heated up and you will experience night sweats. But estrogen levels may not be the only reason for hot flashes once you rule out menopause.
Even men suffer from hot flashes and they have their own reasons for it. Men get hot flashes when they undergo treatment for prostate cancer. They will have to suffer through it if they take a lot of hot liquids and alcohol. Testosterone in both men and women play an important role in combating hot flashes. And if the levels of testosterone come down, they will experience night flashes and constant sweating.
If it is not menopause, then what?Everybody associates hot flashes with menopause, but before you really think it is menopause you have to rule out other health conditions. So if you are not exactly in the right age for menopause you need to find out exactly why you are suffering from hot flashes. It also depends on how often you get these flashes, if they happen only once a month or so then the reason could be something else. If you are not able to singularize the source of your problem you can approach your doctor. Sometimes changes in your lifestyle and eating habits will minimize or stop the occurrence of hot flashes.
Here are the reasons for hot flashes in a glance:
• Unhealthy lifestyle
• Hormonal imbalance
• Medical problems
• Certain kinds of medication
• Symptoms of hot flashes
It is indeed a bit intimidating when you experience hot flashes. You will be at a loss when this happens because you lose sleep and get your night clothes all soaked. Most of the time it is just a transition phase. But here are some simple symptoms that you can identify:
• Your body feels like it is on fire
• Increased palpitation
• Unusual sweating; like rivulets of water flowing down
• Rashes and flushing
• Shivering due to chilling spells
• Feeling of suffocation
• Dizziness and nausea
Reasons for hot flashesThe most common reason for hot flashes is definitely menopause. But changes in lifestyle, eating disorders and lack of exercises will change the body temperature. And this temperature change will cause a great deal of sweating.
When estrogen levels come down, it will affect the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that is responsible for maintaining body temperature, your appetite, sexual urges and even sleep cycles. Hypothalamus is considered to be the body’s thermostat; something that controls and maintains the heat levels in the body. When there is a hormonal imbalance, especially when there is a change in the estrogen levels it will confuse the hypothalamus.
The brain will not be able to read the signals properly and it sends outs an alert alarm to all the important nerves in the body including the heart muscles, blood vessels and the central nervous system. Meanwhile your brain realizing that the body is heating up will try to cool it by generating the sweat glands. The blood vessels in the skin will get dilated to get the blood flowing at a rapid rate and the heart starts beating faster.
How long do they last?In short, hot flushes is the body’s self defense mechanism. But it is extremely uncomfortable and you start shivering when you least expect it. The condition will keep going for 30 seconds or more and when the frequency increases you will have to seek treatment.
Treatment for hot flashesYour doctor will ask you to note the time for each hot flash episode before seeking a treatment pattern. They will ask about your emotional state, your eating patterns and your activities throughout the day. The doctor will be able to recognize if you need a special treatment. However, if it is something that can be easily cleared, then a mere change in lifestyle will do.
Find out the answers to your hot flashes frequently asked questions.