Menopause and Hot Flashes

There is a reason why does menopause come to your mind as you hear about “hot flash”. More than 75 percent females going through the menopausal phase feel the warmth or heat. Is that the only reason that you lose your cool so often? No, it may be a sign of an illness or a reaction to a zesty or spicy food. And you do not require transforming into a female body.  Males too get hot flashes.

Hot Flashes – what are they?

In medico-lingo they are known as vasomotor symptoms. They come to you with the decreased levels of estrogen hormone.  Another name you may have heard is night sweats. They are nothing but hot flashes only, which wake you up suddenly while you are in your bed.

For most of the people, a hot flash is not an increased body temperature only, but a mixture of several factors:

  • An unexpected warmth that is too intense across your chest and head.
  • Speckled skin
  • Heavy or light sweating
  • Increased heartbeat
  • Anxiety

A symbol of change

Hot Flashes are not just a thing of menopause. But an indication, that you are prone to having them. They vary from one female to another. But they begin prior to or during your menopausal phase. As such there are no rules for how often they will emerge and how long will they last. You may experience none or many in a day. And, their duration may be somewhere between 30 seconds and 10 minutes.  They may appear once in a day or once in an hour or two hours.

Either, there is no regulation for how long you are going to have them. For several years, the answer used to be between 6 months and 2 years. But a recent nationwide study revealed that the period may be between 7 and 11 years. Besides, how early you have them upon attaining menopause? The earlier you start having them, the longer you are prone to continue.

In case you happen to be a smoker, anxious, depressed, and stressed or overweight, you are likely to experience them for a longer period. Your legacy also plays a vital role in this – African-American females experience the hot flashes for nearly 11 years, whereas the Asian females, experience them half of this time.

Things that mark the beginning of menopausal hot flashes are:

Working-out in hot climate

  • Eating spicy foods
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Smoking
  • Hot weather
  • Wearing tight clothing
  • Stress
  • Consuming a lot of sugar

Other Causes of Hot Flashes

With the following health conditions or their line of treatment irrespective of the medicinal side effects or their symptoms may give rise to hot flashes.

  • Treatment of Breast cancer such as radiation and chemotherapies
  • Removal of ovaries
  • Anti-estrogen therapy (It is used for chemically induced menopause wherein estrogen levels are brought down.  Hence, the females experience symptoms like hot flashes).

Hot flashes resulting from of breast cancer treatment may be more severe and frequent than the usual ones.

In case you are already going through the menopausal phase and getting hot flashes, you are likely to have them again with the use of tamoxifen medicine for treating your cancer. They may perhaps be as severe and occur as frequently as the first time you experienced.

Recent child birth or pregnancy:

There are many mysterious factors for getting hot flashes.  The very fact that they occur in menopausal females, expecting and new mothers prove their mystery. According to a study, the hot flashes reach their zenith at around 30th week of pregnancy and in new mothers around 2nd week subsequent to the child birth. But as happens with the onset of menopause, your hormone levels change dramatically and the females tend to put on extra weight.

Multiple sclerosis (MS)

MS – Multiple sclerosis not only affects the functioning of brain but also harms your spinal cord. The early symptoms of multiple sclerosis are numbness, weakness, blurred vision and tingling. Some other symptoms are urinary, thinking issues and muscle stiffness. Heat may worsen these symptoms, irrespective of the humid weather conditions or because of a running fever. As you get hot, you may observe changes in vision and other Uhthoff’s symptoms. Such symptoms disappear as you cool down back.

Certain people having MS may not experience hormone-related hot flashes. They are known as paroxysmal symptoms clinically. Instead of getting scared, report this to your doctor. These symptoms appear because of non-functioning of your autonomic nervous system properly.  This nervous system manages your blood vessels, body organs and some muscles and they may not work as they ought to.

Testicular and prostate cancer

Males having prostate cancer, at times, go through therapy treatment for suppressing androgen hormones. The treatment helps in regulating the radiation therapy and lowers the levels of testosterone. But it may bring hot flashes.

In case the treatment is used temporarily, the hot flashes may also disappear in a few months after stopping the treatment. But in case the treatment is prolonged, the doctor may prescribe medicines for easing symptoms.

Males, who have had cancer in their testicles and got them removed, may experience hot flashes.

Thyroid disease

If your body generates more than the required thyroid hormone, (clinically known as hyperthyroidism), it, in fact, turns up too much heat. It may even bring menopause earlier, even prior to the age of 40 or, at times, in early 40s. There are medicines for treating this issue. As you get these issues under control, your hot flashes may also get eased and your chances of the onset of menopause as per the schedule increase.

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