Understanding hot flashes---- Women's health

Mostly felt in the head and neck region, a hot flash is an extreme feeling of warmth experienced by women who are in the early stages of menopause.

A product of complex hormonal changes, accompanied by the ageing process, hot flashes happen because of the declining levels of estrogen in the body. As a matter fact, hot flashes can also occur in men because of an uncommon medical condition that affects the procedure of thermoregulation. A result of the carcinoid syndrome, endocrine tumor, secretion of hormone serotonin, night sweats and pre-menopausal, let us understand the concept of hot flashes in detail.

Hot flashes are experienced by women at menopausal age (before, during or after menopause). It is a feeling of warmth in the body, mainly over the face, neck and head. It may or may not be associated with sweating in these areas. Hot flashes are typically brief, lasting from about 30 seconds to a few minutes. Accompanied with redness of the skin (known as flushing), hot flashes may vary in menopausal women depending on case-specific situations. The declining levels of a hormone called estrogen might result in hot flashes.

Mentioned below are the top 4 symptoms or features of hot flashes:
- Typically, the hot flash comes and goes in 30 seconds.
- One might also encounter excessive sweating, especially at night. This phenomenon is called night sweats.
- Redness of the cheek area. This process is called flushing.
- The timing of the onset of a hot flash is unpredictable. You could be sitting right under an air conditioner and experience a hot flash.

What triggers hot flashes? It has been observed that caffeine, alcohol, hot drinks, spicy foods, and stressful or frightening events can sometimes trigger a hot flash. However, it is important to note that avoiding all the above mentioned food items and instances, might not evade a hot flash completely.

Ways to cope with hot flashes. Following are various ways to cope up with hot flashes:-

- Dress in layers so you can remove them at the first sign of a flash.
- Drink a glass of cold water or juice at the onset of a flash.
- At night keep a thermos of ice water or an ice pack by your bed.
- Use cotton sheets, lingerie and clothing to let your skin "breathe."
- Sleep in a cool room.
- Avoid spicy foods, alcohol and caffeine.

Although it is often believed that Vitamin E helps in combating hot flashes effectively, there is no relavent study to back this fact. There are instances when women have severe symptom in which situation the hormonal therapy (HRT hormone replacement therapy) would be needed. But it must be remembered that hormonal treatment is only taken in the minimal dose and for short time durations till the symptoms disappear.

Similar Threads: