Hot Flashes

Hot flashes are characterized by heating sensations felt mostly in the chest, neck and the face. These flashes are mostly accompanied with sweating and can also cause the skin of these areas to redden as well. Hot flashes are mostly the result of menopause. However, there are other hormonal conditions that might also be held responsible for them. In most cases the hot flashes are experienced during the day time but they can also occur at night as well. Hot flashes can easily be treated using a number of treatment methods.

Symptoms of Hot Flashes

Symptoms

The following symptoms are usually felt by a person during a hot flash.

  • Heating sensation felt in the face that quickly spreads throughout the body.
  • Excessive sweating
  • An increase in heartbeat
  • Reddening of the skin
  • A chilling sensation is felt once the hot flash is over

When to See a Doctor

Hot flashes are generally thought to be not much of a problem by women. However, if the frequency of the hot flashes increases so much so that it starts disrupting the daily routine then it becomes necessary to consult a doctor.

Causes of Hot Flashes

Causes

Hormonal changes especially the depreciating levels of estrogen in the body when a woman nears menopause are considered to be the primary cause of hot flashes in most women. According to some researchers, a problem with the thermoregulation system of the body might be held responsible for the heating sensations that are felt during hot flashes however, there is no concrete evidence to back this statement.

Hot flashes can also be caused as a result of a reaction to a drug or medicine that you are taking for another medical condition. Even though hot flashes are experienced mostly by women, some men might also get hot flashes. For instance, patients of Carcinoid Syndrome, a tumor that affects the endocrine system, have to deal with hot flashes.

Risk Factors

While the primary cause of hot flashes remains menopause, they are not experienced by all women going through this phase of their life. Women who have a greater risk of experiencing hot flashes have the following factors present in them.

  • Smoking. If you are a regular smoker then you are at a higher risk of experiencing hot flashes.
  • Obesity. Women that have a higher BMI (Body Mass Index) are most likely to get hot flashes than women with lower BMI.
  • Physical Inactivity. Lack of exercise and physical activity is another factor that can increase the risk of hot flashes.
  • Ethnicity. American women of African origin are most likely to experience hot flashes during menopause than European, Japanese or Chinese women.

Home Remedies for Hot Flashes

Women that are not too bothered by their hot flashes and do not want to take medications for it can treat them at home using the following remedies.

1. Keep Cool

Remaining hydrated and wearing light clothing that can be easily taken off are among the lifestyle changes that can help you in keeping cool and thus, decreasing the chances of getting hot flashes. Since hot flashes are mostly triggered by changes in temperature of your body, you can control their occurrence by simply lowering the temperature in your room through a fan or air-conditioner.

2. Watch Your Diet

Avoiding the consumption of excess amounts of coffee, alcohol and spicy foods can help you in lessening the chances of getting hot flashes.

3. Relax

Indulging in activities that relax your mind and body such as yoga and meditation can also help you a great deal in limiting hot flashes.

4. Quit Smoking

Smoking is injurious to health and is considered to be a major factor that increases the risk of hot flashes in women. Thus, quitting this habit can help you in quelling your hot flashes as well.

5. Use Alternative Supplements

The intake of the following medicine is considered an effective way of treating hot flashes by most women.

  • Plant estrogens

Soy beans and red clover are used by Asian women for curbing the amount of hot flashes that are experienced during menopause. The effectiveness of these plant estrogens, however, has not been medically proven as of yet.

  • Black cohosh

Most women consider the use of Black cohosh as a means of treating menopausal symptoms and hot flashes. Continued use of this supplement however can damage the liver.

  • Ginseng

Ginseng is known to be quite effective in treating mood swings and sleeping disorders that are associated with menopause but has no effect on hot flashes.

  • Dong quai

Dong quai is considered excellent for thinning the blood by increasing the efficacy of the blood thinning medications but does not reduce hot flashes.

  • Kava

The use of Kava is a good way of reducing anxiety, but it is mostly ineffective when it comes to treating hot flashes.

Medical Treatment for Hot Flashes

The use of the hormone estrogen is by far the best way of treating hot flashes. However, this treatment method has many side effects and leaves you open to many diseases. Thus, it is better to make use of antidepressants and drugs for controlling seizures to minimize the occurrence of hot flashes. Doctors mostly recommend women to not use any medication if their hot flashes do not bother them much. However, it is best to consult a treatment plan with your physician if the occurrence of hot flashes increases and do not go away in a year or two’s time.

1. Hormone Therapy

Doctors recommend the use of estrogen and progesterone which are both hormones for treating hot flashes. However, women that have had breast cancer are advised not to use these hormones as they increase the risk of heart disease and cancer.

2. Antidepressants

The antidepressants that can be used for treating mild hot flashes include Venlafaxine, Paroxetine and Fluoxetine. These anti-depressants, however, should only be taken in low doses and after consulting with a doctor.

3. Other Prescription Medications

Gabapentin and Clonidine are among the prescription medications that can be used for reducing symptoms of hot flashes. Both these medicines have side-effects that include drowsiness, headaches and constipation.

 
 
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