The Cold Hard Facts About Hot Flashes
About 80% of women will experience them…before, during, or after menopause.
They can feel anywhere from warm…to blazingly hot.
When they’re severe, your skin could flush and you might sweat.
Your heart could feel like it’s beating faster. Or the tips of your fingers could tingle.
They can happen occasionally, or back-to-back. And their effects can range from annoying to downright debilitating.
We’re talking about hot flashes…or night sweats if they occur at night.
And anyone—including men—can experience them.
What Causes Hot Flashes?
Hot flashes usually occur in response to fluctuations or deficiencies in hormones.
For women these can include:
- Rapid or irregular fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone levels.
- Progesterone levels that are too low relative to estrogen (a condition known as “estrogen dominance”).
- Deficiencies in both estrogen and progesterone.
For men the culprit is typically low testosterone.
While less common, women and men can both suffer from hot flashes as a result of thyroid hormones that are out of balance, or cortisol levels that are too high.
So what exactly is happening during a hot flash? Thanks to these hormonal imbalances or deficiencies, your body is essentially overreacting to perceived temperature increases as it attempts to cool down by dilating blood vessels near the skin’s surface.
Apart from any underlying issues with hormones, hot flashes can be triggered by a number of factors, including:
- Warm air temperatures
- Consuming hot liquids like tea, coffee, or soup
- Drinking alcohol
- Eating spicy foods
- Wearing clothes that are tight or made from non-breathable fabrics
However, hot flashes can also occur in the absence of any identifiable trigger.
How Long Will You Have Hot Flashes?
How long a woman will experience hot flashes can vary widely.
On average, women will experience hot flashes to varying degrees for a total of seven years either before, during, or after menopause. Some women will only suffer from them for a brief period of time. For others, they can persist indefinitely into post-menopause. Only about 20% of women won’t experience them at all.
While some men will experience hot flashes during the day, it’s far more common for men to suffer from night sweats. This will typically persist for as long as testosterone levels are deficient.
Can You Manage Hot Flashes With Lifestyle Changes?
In some cases, hot flashes can be reduced or eliminated by making lifestyle changes.
Here are some things to try:
- Keep a “hot flash” diary.
Write down when your hot flashes occur…and what you were doing at the time.
Do your hot flashes tend to happen under a particular set of circumstances?
If you see a correlation between certain factors and when your hot flashes occur, try to avoid those things to see if there’s an improvement.
- Wear breathable fabrics.
Tight, non-breathable clothing can set off hot flashes. Inversely, breathable fabrics can help you to maintain a more comfortable body temperature, thereby minimizing hot flashes.
- Cool down at night.
Turn your thermostat down at bedtime—way down if necessary. Research has shown that sleeping in a cool room can help to ward off night sweats.
Also, make sure your mattress and your bedclothes are made from breathable materials.
Other things to try at night include using a self-cooling pillow (designed to stay cool while you sleep), and running a fan in your bedroom.
- Change your eating habits.
Avoid spicy foods and hot liquids. But also…re-evaluate your diet if you’re overweight. Unfortunately, people who are overweight are more likely to experience hot flashes.
While all of the above is worth trying, in many cases the only effective solution to persistent hot flashes is properly supervised bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT). By restoring hormones to optimal levels, BHRT addresses the root cause of hot flashes. Research even suggests that the earlier BHRT is started, the greater its benefits.
How Renew Youth Can Help
At Renew Youth we’re specialists when it comes to bioidentical hormone therapy. If hot flashes and other symptoms of hormone imbalance are sucking the joy out of your life, we can tailor a treatment plan to your body’s unique needs.
Want to learn more? Give us a call at 859-7511 or use our contact form to schedule your free consultation.