Hot flashes, also called “flushes” are characterized by a feeling of intense and transient heat, often localized in the neck, face, and bust. It is a common disorder of menopause or occurs during premenstrual syndrome. As a result, hot flashes affect women more than men.
Let’s try to understand together this physical phenomenon to better prevent and relieve it.
Hot flashes: definition
Hot flashes result in a sudden, transient, but intense sensation of the heat of the face, neck, and bust. They are usually accompanied by sweat and chills and usually last only a few seconds or even minutes.
This is a phenomenon that affects women more frequently than men because it is mainly due to hormonal imbalances. These hot flashes occur especially at night, uncontrollably and variably, and therefore affect the quality of sleep.
They are physical disorders and can really become troublesome on a daily basis.
Causes of hot flashes
Hot flashes in women
In women, the causes of hot flashes are mainly hormonal. They can be caused largely by menopause, which leads to hormonal upheavals.
Why? Since estrogens (ovarian hormones) that are involved in regulating body temperature decrease and influence this regulatory mechanism. Menopause is a phenomenon that appears in women aged 45 to 55. But, other reasons of hormonal origin can explain hot flashes:
- Hysterectomy or removal of the ovaries causes the same hormonal changes as during menopause.
- Pregnancy (especially in the second and third trimesters).
- In hyperthyroidism, in this case, the thyroid “works” excessively which leads to an overproduction of heat.
- Hypoglycemia, because the blood sugar level decreases and the body secretes a substance that increases sweating to counter the withdrawal.
- Chemotherapy and anti-estrogen treatments to treat breast cancer can cause early menopause.
- Premenstrual syndrome (during menstruation).
Hot flashes in humans
The man may also be affected by this problem at the time of andropause. It is manifested by a drop in testosterone levels related to natural aging and affects men over 50 years old. Andropause causes hormonal changes and for women, hot flashes can be one of the symptoms.
Other possible causes
Apart from hormonal reasons, hot flashes can also occur in the case of:
- food intolerances;
- poor diet and lifestyle (spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol, salt, tobacco, etc.).
Finally, hot flashes can be related to emotions and the production of too much cortisol (stress hormone). Stress and anxiety that set in chronically unbalance the hormonal system. The overproduction of cortisol stimulates the cardiovascular system. It is therefore also one of the symptoms of an anxiety attack.
The consequences of hot flashes
When you are a victim of hot flashes, you sometimes say that you have “sweats”. These sweats affect the quality of sleep and can therefore cause stress, fatigue, and overwork. They would also cause a feeling of discomfort as soon as the phenomenon occurs in society, during the day.
After a hot flash, cooling may be felt suddenly, causing discomfort due to the temperature difference felt. In rare cases, there may be hypothermia (below 35°) or fever (above 38°).
How to treat hot flashes and night sweats?
Several simple solutions exist to prevent or relieve hot flashes. A healthy lifestyle can undoubtedly help prevent their occurrence. For this reason, it is advisable to:
- engage in regular physical activity;
- avoid consuming alcohol in excess;
- avoid foods that are too spicy;
- simply learn to relax (sophrology, meditation).
Turning to alternative medicine can be an effective way to fight sweat. Acupuncture, homeopathy, herbal medicine, or aromatherapy are recommended methods that can relieve intense heat sensations.
In case of hormonal imbalance, certain treatments may be prescribed by a doctor. For example, prescribing sex hormones like estrogen and progesterone for women.
Hot flashes can be due to food intolerances or other diseases like hyperthyroidism if they become too frequent. In these cases, remember to contact your doctor.
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