Stop Hot Flashes In Their Tracks
What Are Hot Flashes?
Hot flashes or hot flushes, are often described as a “whoosh” sensation from the abdomen shooting upwards towards the head, often accompanied by heat.
A hot flash may be associated with excessive sweating, especially from the head and face. It may also be a feeling of heat, accompanied by extreme redness of the face and, or upper body.
Hot flashes can last anywhere from seconds to minutes, it is different for every woman.
Women may begin experiencing hot flashes during peri-menopause or menopause. Typically, once menopause is complete, the hot flashes subside, however, in some cases, hot flashes remain for years, even after the menstrual cycle has ended. The average length of experiencing symptoms due to menopause is between five and ten years.
Some women experience hot flashes during the day AND at night, while some only experience the flashes during the day, OR at night. Many women experience multiple hot flashes during the day and, or the night.
What Causes Hot Flashes?
It is thought that hot flashes are triggered by small increases in the core body temperature acting within a reduced thermo-neutral zone. The thermoneutral zone is considered to be the temperature between sweating (too hot), and shivering (too cold). This is due, in part but not entirely, to diminished estrogen levels.
When the core temperature is elevated, the peripheral blood vessels become dilated (larger) to move more blood to the surface to dissipate the heat. This is the reason for appearing red during a hot flash. Skin temperatures will rise in the face, hands, arms, chest, abdomen, and back. Sweating takes place to release the heat as well.
While it is thought that declining estrogen is part of the cause of hot flashes, it cannot be the only cause. It is obvious that it is part of the cause, because when women are supplemented with estrogen, hot flashes disappear. But it is known that lower estrogen is not the only cause, because pre-pubescent girls do not experience hot flashes, and they have low estrogen.
Other hormones are thought to be involved in the cause of hot flashes, such as pulsing LH (a hormone released from the ovaries that naturally increases during menopause). Norepinephrine has also been thought to be involved as it does play a role in thermoregulation. Injected norepinephrine has been shown to cause an increase in heat dissipation, followed by a decline in the core temperature. It is also seen that norepinephrine is released from the ovaries to modulate the effects on the central nervous system. These findings indicate that declining estrogen, and the presence of norepinephrine in the brain may lead to the occurrence of hot flashes.
How Do Hot Flashes Affect Women?
The experience of hot flashes affect all women differently.
- Some women experience hot flashes only at night and they disturb their ability to sleep through the night. Sleep loss then leads to increased negative symptoms during the day, such as mood swings, fatigue, unregulated blood sugar and weight gain.
- Some women experience very quick bursts of heat, like a “flash” that come and go very quickly. They may appear red for a short time, which can be embarrassing.
- Some women experience long hot flashes that cause excessive sweating. Many women feel embarrassed by this and avoid social situations where they cannot easily control their temperature.
- Some women experience hot flashes along with periods of feeling very cold. This leads to these women layering their clothing to stay warm, and then peeling each layer off once they are in the midst of a hot flash.
In most cases, hot flashes are described as:
How Can I Get Rid Of Hot Flashes?
To resolve the experience of hot flashes, we need to address the cause. We have found that the cause is linked to lowering estrogen and the unbalance of hormones. So, we need to re-balance the hormones, and then hot flashes will no longer be present.
Balancing hormones can be done through diet, nutrition, lifestyle, supplementation and, or bio-identical hormone replacement.