All women will inevitably go through the phase of menopause. It can set in as early as their 40s and as late as their 50s. Menopause is a process when the ovaries stop producing estrogen and progesterone. Along with this phase come several changes and symptoms that can be bothersome and uncomfortable, such as hot flashes.
What are Hot Flashes?
Hot flashes are one of the vasomotor symptoms that are connected with menopause. According to statistics, more than 50 million women in the United States experience hot flashes every day. A hot flash is the sudden rush of heat that generates warmth and discomfort among women. Some may experience it just as it is, while some hot flashes are accompanied by sweating, blushing and even palpitations. Hot flashes typically last around 30 seconds, although some women experience a hot flash for longer periods of time.
According to Dr. Melissa Stoppler, MD, hot flashes are caused by the drop of estrogen in the body. Thermoregulation, or the process of balancing the temperature in the body may be disturbed which in turn generates extreme heat. How the hormones or loss of hormones, for that matter, affects body temperature is not yet fully understood.
A Hot Flash is Not a Disease
While constant, long and extreme hot flashes can be very uncomfortable, it is manageable and it is not a disease. It is only a symptom of something else going on in the body, but it’s not serious.
Women may find themselves in awkward situations when a hot flash strikes, such as an important meeting or going to an important event. It is important to know how hot flashes can be dealt with in order to manage them with poise.
How to Deal with Hot Flashes
The best thing to naturally treat hot flashes is to perform some lifestyle changes. Some of these changes include:
- Avoiding spicy foods
- Avoiding excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages
- Wearing light clothes
- Layering clothes
Spicy foods and alcoholic beverages are common triggers for hot flashes. It is best to avoid them whenever you can. Opt for light clothes when going out. You can also layer your clothes while at work so you have the option to take a layer off when it gets a little warm a hot flash becomes unbearable.
Other treatment options include undergoing Hormone Replacement Therapy and antidepressants. HRT is less preferred by most women because it is found to increase the risk of breast cancer and heart disease. Some antidepressants are also available through a doctor’s prescription or over-the-counter.
Menopause symptoms such as hot flashes can be uncomfortable, but they can be managed. Understanding why they occur is the first step to getting rid of it. Once you determine what is causing it, you can avoid this and prevent hot flashes from occurring. There are also several treatment options to choose from. It is up to you and your doctor to find the best treatment plan for you.