10 Things women above 40 should know about hot flashes
A hot flash is the sudden feeling of warmth in the upper body, which is usually most intense over the face, neck and chest. Your skin might redden, as if you are blushing.
A hot flash can also cause sweating. If you lose too much body heat, you might feel chilled afterward.
Hot flashes cause a sudden sensation of heat in the upper body. A person might experience symptoms in the chest, arms, neck, or face. The heart rate also tends to increase during a hot flash, intensifying the sensation of heat.
Hot flashes can be accompanied by a rapid heartbeat, sweating, nausea, dizziness, anxiety, headache, weakness, or a feeling of suffocation, followed by chills. Hot flashes are caused by a decrease in estrogen.
Hot flashes occur from a decrease in estrogen levels. In response to this, your glands release higher amounts of other hormones that affect the brain’s thermostat, causing your body temperature to fluctuate. Hormone therapy has been shown to relieve some of the discomfort of hot flashes for many women.
Hot flashes usually happen at least daily. In fact, about a third of women have more than 10 hot flashes per day. For some, hot flashes feel mild, but for others they are more severe and may seriously disrupt day-to-day life. Sometimes hot flashes happen at night.
On average, women report 4–5 hot flashes per day, although some women have as many as 20 per day. One in four women report having VMS every day. Daytime hot flashes are reported more often than night sweats, although this may reflect difficulty in perceiving or recording nighttime symptoms.
Research indicates that Black women are at a higher risk of more severe hot flashes than white women. One study showed that roughly half of Black women encounter VMS during pre-menopause, while just over one-third of white women experience the same.
Below are 10 things women should know about hot flashes….
1. Hot flashes, also known as vasomotor symptoms, are a medical condition and the symptom most menopausal women seek treatment for. They usually come on suddenly and cause intense heat and sweat in the face, neck and chest, and the skin may turn red, as if blushing. A hot flash may also cause chills and rapid heartbeat.
2. Women in their 40s suffer hot flashes: This is when most women start perimenopause. Some hot flashes and night sweats begin. (For some, perimenopause starts in the 30s.) 46-53: In the U.S., this is the average age for menopause, which is defined as 12 straight months with no period.
3. Hot flashes are mostly caused by the hormonal changes of menopause. As your estrogen level falls, this has a direct effect on the hypothalamus, the part of the brain responsible for controlling your appetite, sleep cycles, sex hormones, and body temperature.
4. According to the conventional medical wisdom, menopause-related hot flashes fade away after 6–24 months. Not so, says a new study of women going through menopause. Hot flashes and night sweats last, on average, for about 7 years and may go on for 11 years or more.
5. You can treat hot flushes by taking a cool shower, using a fan or having a cold drink. Try to reduce your stress level. avoid or reduce potential triggers, such as spicy food, caffeine, hot drinks, smoking and alcohol.
6. Prior research by Thurston found women who said they had frequent or persistent hot flashes during early menopause had a 50% to 80% increased risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks, stroke and heart failure.
7. According to an article published in “Social Science & Medicine”, ginger has been used to treat the symptoms of hot flushes and night sweats associated with menopause. There are also studies reporting the effectiveness of vitamin E in relieving vasomotor symptoms such as hot flashes.
8. During the night, hormone levels can swing even more drastically, which sometimes results in much more severe hot flashes that can leave clothes and bedding soaked. Diet – caffeine, spicy foods, and alcohol are just a few of the dietary contributing factors that can create more severe hot flashes at night. This is why hot flashes happen at night.
9. Spicy foods can make hot flashes worse. If you tend to feel hot or if you have high blood pressure, consider avoiding spicy foods like hot peppers, jalapenos and cayenne. Alcohol: Having a glass of wine a few times a week probably won’t affect your symptoms.
10. A cool, well-ventilated bedroom and loose clothing made of natural fibers like cotton that wick moisture away from your skin will go a long way to lessen the impact of hot flashes. Cotton sheets are also a good idea. Wearing socks to bed will help control your core body temperature. This is how you sleep with hot flashes.