Hot flushes are one of the most common symptoms experienced by women around the time of menopause. In fact, approximately half of all perimenopausal women and 75 to 85% of all postmenopausal women experience hot flushes.
While the onset, duration, frequency, and severity of hot flushes varies greatly between women, hot flushes often begin one or two years before a woman’s last period and can last anywhere from six months to fifteen years.
Hot flushes are caused by hormonal fluctuations that occur during the menopausal transition. Fortunately, treating this underlying hormonal imbalance naturally and making simple lifestyle changes can significantly help a woman manage this symptom.
What causes hot flushes?
The following are the most common signs and symptoms of hot flushes:
- Sudden, intense feelings of heat. In the face, neck, arms, torso, and sometimes the whole body.
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat and pulse. Including heart palpitations.
- Flushing or reddened face and neck, particularly in lighter skinned women.s
- Perspiration. Ranging from mild to profuse.
- Cold chills. Often follow hot flushes, though sometimes women only experience the chill.
- Sleep disturbances. Are characteristic of hot flushes that occur at night, which are also known as night sweats. – Oestrogen levels are often lowest at night, which is why women often experience nocturnal hot flushes.
- Other Symptoms. Nausea, dizziness, anxiety, and headaches.
While each woman will experience the symptoms of hot flushes in a pattern that is unique to her, some women are at a greater risk for more severe and prolonged hot flushes. Women taking the breast cancer treatment drug tamoxifen may experience more severe and prolonged hot flushes. Additionally, women who go through rapid menopause will often experience hot flushes more severely and for a longer duration.
What causes hot flushes during menopause?
The most common cause of hot flushes in menopausal women is changing levels of oestrogen in the body. Diminished amounts of oestrogen have a direct effect on the hypothalamus, the part of the brain responsible for controlling appetite, sex hormones, sleep, and body temperature.
Lowered levels of oestrogen confuse the hypothalamus, causing it to inaccurately sense that the body is overheating. This provokes an internal chain of reactions that women experience as “hot flushes”.
In addition to these completely normal hormonal causes of hot flushes, other medical conditions can also cause hot flushes.
Other causes of hot flushes
Certain medical conditions and medications can sometimes cause a person to experience hot flushes.
For this reason, women for whom menopause is unlikely or women with other unexplained symptoms should consult a doctor to rule out these other potential causes of hot flushes.
If you would like to know more about how Hot Flushes in Menopause can be resolved please book a free consultation with our form above.