Hot Flashes – Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Hot Flashes – Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

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Deal with hot flashes effectively

Hot flashes occur when you are suddenly overcome with a feeling of warmth. Your face might feel flushed and your neck and chest might also redden. Hot flashes can also cause sweating. Some people experience a fast heart rate or chills, too.
Hot flashes are a common symptom of menopause.

 

Symptoms

During menopause, most women who experience hot flashes, have them daily. A single episode may last up to five minutes. These episodes can vary in intensity. Some hot flashes may be mild while others can disrupt your daily activities. Hot flashes at night (night sweats) can also cause sleep disruptions.

Symptoms of hot flashes include:

  • Having skin that suddenly feels warm
  • Experiencing redness on parts of the body, such as the face, neck, ears, or chest
  • Sweating, especially in the upper body
  • Tingling in your fingers
  • Experiencing a heartbeat that’s faster than usual

On average, hot flashes can last for 7 years.

 

Causes

Changing hormone levels, before and after menopause, is the most common cause of hot flashes. Scientists are unsure about why hormonal imbalances cause hot flashes.

But most research suggests that hot flashes occur when decreased estrogen levels cause your body’s thermostat (hypothalamus) to become more sensitive to slight changes in body temperature. When the hypothalamus thinks your body is too warm, it starts a chain of events — a hot flash — to cool you down.

There are other medical conditions that also cause hormonal imbalances such as diabetes, tumours, eating disorders and certain forms of birth control.

 

Triggers

It is unclear why some women experience hot flashes and others don’t. However, people who smoke or are obese are more likely to experience hot flashes.

You can also watch out for the following triggers:

  • Spicy foods
  • Alcohol
  • Hot drinks
  • Caffeine
  • Being in a warm room
  • Wearing tight clothing
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Pregnancy, particularly during the first and second trimesters
  • An overactive or underactive thyroid
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Spinal lesions
  • Some medications, including the osteoporosis drug raloxifene (Evista), the breast cancer drug tamoxifen (Soltamox), and the pain reliever tramadol (Conzip, Ultram)

Treatment

1. Prescription medication

If hot flashes don’t interfere with your daily life, you don’t need to take prescription medication. There are women who experience hot flashes but never get treatment.

If your hot flashes are severe, prescription medication can help a lot. The most effective way to treat hot flashes is through hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Typically, treatment lasts for 5 years. HRT can also relieve other menopausal symptoms like virginal dryness and mood disorders.

The hormone used to combat hot flashes is estrogen. However, if you did not have a hysterectomy you need to take progesterone with estrogen to protect against cancer of the lining of the uterus (endometrial cancer). Estrogen treatment is most beneficial if you start it within 10 years of your last menstrual period and before the age of 60.

Hormone treatment should be closely monitored and treatment should be tailor-made for you as there are many side effects. Some short-term HRT can make you more likely to have blood clotsbreast and endometrial cancers, and gallbladder inflammation. Some women who take progesterone with estrogen therapy experience progesterone-related side effects.

Other prescription medications that are used the treat hot flashes include:
      • Antidepressants
      • Gabapentin (Neurontin), an
      • Antiseizure medication
      • Clonidine (Kapvay), which can be used for high blood pressure or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

2. Alternative medicine

Some women find relief from hot flashes through alternative medicine and techniques. Research on contemporary health practices is still relatively new but you can try the following:

      • Cognitive behavioural therapy.

CBT is talk therapy that helps you manage problems by helping you to think differently. CBT will not help with the frequency of hot flashes but it might help manage how much they bother you.

      • Hypnosis

Some research suggests that hypnosis might help with the frequency and severity of hot flashes.

      • Acupuncture

A 2016 study of 209 women experiencing four or more menopause symptoms a day found that acupuncture significantly reduced their menopause symptoms, including hot flashes and night sweats. Acupuncture might help with the severity and frequency of hot flashes.

3. Lifestyle changes

Many women rely on lifestyle and diet changes rather than medication to combat hot flashes.

Here’s what you can do:

Stay cool:

A straightforward way to control hot flashes is to keep your body cool. Hot flashes are triggered by an increase in body temperature.

          • Sipping something cold when you feel a hot flash starting
          • Keeping a fan on while you sleep
          • Lowering the room temperature
          • Keeping an ice pack on your bedside table
Wear the right clothes:
          • Dress in layers. Layer your clothes even on the coldest days, so you can adjust your clothing to how you’re feeling
          • Wear cotton. A natural, breathable fabric like cotton, absorbs moisture and sweat.
Watch what you eat and drink:
          • Steer clear of spicy food.
          • Limit caffeinated and alcoholic drinks.
Use stress reduction techniques:

Many women have vouched that they find relief from mild hot flashes through mind-body therapies. The scientific evidence is inconclusive but even if it does not address hot flashes directly, these therapies have copious other benefits.

You can try:

          • Meditation
          • Yoga
          • Guided breathing
Stop smoking:

Smoking is linked to increased hot flashes.

Lose weight:

Women who have a higher BMI are at risk of having more severe hot flashes. Losing weight would help minimize hot flashes.

4. Herbs and supplements

There are many herbs and supplements that many help with hot flushes but more research needs to be done.

      • Vitamin E

Taking a vitamin E supplement can combat hot flashes. Be sure to not take a high dosage as it may increase your risk of bleeding.

      • Black cohosh

Black cohosh is a root that grows in North America. Scientists are in disagreement about the effectiveness of the root in treating hot flashes but many women have been using it to combat menopausal symptoms. The root does not have many side effects but you shouldn’t use it if you have liver disease.

      • Dong quai

Dong quai is a plant native to East Asia and is used to treat menopausal symptoms but studies suggest that the effect is minuscule. The supplement should not be taken with blood-thinning medications like warafin.

      • Soy isoflavones

The chemical compound, isoflavones is a plant estrogen – it has the same effect on the body as estrogen. Asian women, who eat soy regularly, are less likely to get hot flashes and this may be contributed to soy isoflavones.
Research has shown that soy isoflavones can have a passable effect on menopausal hot flashes. A 2014 study found that soy isoflavones can reduce the effects of hot flashes by 25.2 percent but the results are slow as it takes isoflavones 13.4 weeks to reach half of their maximum effects.

      • Evening primrose oil

Evening primrose oil is extracted from a flower.

A recent study has found that the oil improves symptoms of hot flashes- women took two 500-milligram doses for 6 months. Study participants saw a 39 percent improvement in frequency, a 42 percent improvement in severity, and a 19 percent improvement in duration.

 

Takeaway

Hot flashes are a common symptom of menopause that can last for many years. Luckily there are many treatments to try. If hot flashes are severe and interrupt your daily life, prescription medication might be needed. Hormone replacement therapy is the most effective. However, many women never take prescription medication. You can make some lifestyle changes, try alternative medicine and herbs and supplements to help with hot flashes.

 

How does Manna Hot Flush Gel work?

The Manna Hot Flush Gel offers fast and effective relief from menopausal hot flushes and night sweats. It has a fast cooling effect, that relieves muscle spasms, has a calming effect, is anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, non-toxic, and non-irritant. 

 

How do I use the Manna Hot Flush Gel?

Apply gel lightly – but do not rub it in – on the back of the neck during a hot flush or night sweat episode. Or use it preventatively, by applying it in the morning or before bedtime.

 

Manna Hot Flush Gel is available at:

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