Menopause can cause several physical and psychological symptoms. Hot flashes are the most common symptom experienced by women during menopause and perimenopause. Hot flash is also called a hot flush. It is sensation of heat experienced by a woman in which, she may have other symptoms such as red, flushed face and sweating. When hot flashes occur with sweating at night they are called night sweats. At night hot flashes may interfere with sleep.
What causes hot flashes?
The exact cause of hot flashes is not known. Many experts think that it is probably caused because of very high levels of gonadotrophins as the ovaries fail. Hot flashes are not experienced by men, as there is not a similar rapid decline in male hormones.
Hot flashes are experienced by about 50 per cent of women in the menopausal age. Most women who experience hot flashes will have them for about 1 to 2 years. Some women may not experience hot flashes all together. But some can have them for five years or more. A hot flash usually lasts for a couple of minutes. However in some women the symptoms may last up to 30 minutes. They may happen at any time of the day, even several times in an hour (as many as 20 times per day). Most women have hot flashes 2 to 4 hours apart.
Factors which increase the risk of severe symptoms in hot flashes are:
Symptoms experienced by a woman who has hot flash include:
Hot flashes become less severe as time passes (even without treatment). Women who do not have bothersome symptoms may need no treatment at all. However if the symptoms interfere with your life consult a doctor. Many effective treatments are available for management of hot flashes. Treatment options for hot flashes include:
Self care to improve symptoms of hot flashes: Lifestyle changes that can probably help to improve symptoms of hot flashes and enhance your general well-being include eating healthy, doing exercises regularly, quitting smoking and alcohol.
Hormone therapy: Hormone therapy with estrogen and progesterone is the most effective treatment for hot flashes. It helps to relieve the symptoms of the hot flashes by correcting the hormone levels.