When it comes to hot flashes, many women panic because they instantly draw a link to menopause. According to some studies, as many as 75% of all women experience hot flashes at some point. If you’re just starting to experience them, you’ll find more valuable information in this guide. What causes them? How do you treat them?
As the name suggests, a hot flash is the sudden feeling of warmth throughout the body. While some people get a flushed face, others start sweating. Unfortunately, despite the many advances in technology, scientists still don’t quite know why they occur. However, they believe it could relate to circulation changes in the body.
Although some people experience them during the night, and these are often referred to as night sweats, others experience hot flashes in the middle of the day. As a symptom of menopause and perimenopause, your hormones also play an important role.
Unfortunately, the very fact that they’re related to the menopause process means that there’s very little you can do to prevent hot flashes. Depending on the individual in question, these hot flashes can last for a few months, or they can go on for numerous years. According to scientists, the average duration for women is around seven years.
While you can’t prevent hot flashes, you can learn triggers for your own body. For example, you might notice that stress leads to more hot flashes. Elsewhere, it could be spicy food or tight clothing that leads to hot flashes. Other common triggers include:
- Cigarette smoke
- Cancer treatment
If you can steer clear of your triggers, you may limit the number of hot flashes you experience over the coming weeks and months.
Medical experts are aware of hot flashes and are generally unconcerned by the issue since it’s a common side-effect of menopause and doesn’t cause long-term damage. Although it makes women feel uncomfortable and self-conscious, hot flashes are harmless alone. This being said, you should seek medical attention if your hot flashes are paired with weakness, weight loss, illness, fatigue, or excessive diarrhoea.
If you’re not overly concerned about your hot flashes, the best solution is to just ignore them and deal with them in a way that suits you. If you are affected by hot flashes, there are some solutions that you can try.
For instance, doctors have developed HRT (hormone replacement therapy), and this is known to severely reduce hot flashes. Furthermore, you can make some lifestyle changes including the removal (or reduction) of alcohol, coffee, and smoking. Elsewhere, you can wear loose clothing, use fans around the home, and use a sheet on the bed rather than a thick duvet.
As time goes on, more and more women are also swearing by herbal treatment for hot flushes. Consequently, this is potentially another area to explore. A naturopath will offer a combination of herbal treatments to alleviate the problem.
If you speak to some women, you’ll also find that plant oestrogen is growing in popularity. Often found in soy products, these products offer an effect similar to oestrogen and could help with hot flashes.
Naturally, it’s best to have a conversation with your doctor if you’re concerned about your hot flashes. Equally, speak with a professional before you start treating hot flashes if you’re currently undergoing cancer treatment. Breast cancer and some other forms already affect the hormones in the body and, therefore, HRT isn’t recommended in these cases.