Hot flashes, aka flushes, are an intense feeling of warmth that suddenly explodes out of the core of your body causing excessive sweating and flushing. The heat generally only lasts for a short time, yet the sheer flash of intensity almost immediately leaves many soaked in perspiration.
About four years is the average duration most experience hot flashes and night sweats of varying occurrence rates and intensity. Hot flushes tend to begin a couple of years before menstrual cycle cessation and continue a few years afterwards.
The exact cause of hot flashes is not completely understood. An endocrine imbalance due to hormonal changes, particularly declining estrogen levels as menopause nears, is believed to be the basic cause of hot flushing sweats and night sweating. But how declining estrogen affects thermoregulation, which is responsible for the heat, is a bit of a mystery.
Hot flashes may also be caused by other health conditions, like:
Hot flush sweating can develop as a drug side effect of some medications.
Just before the onset of your hot flash episodes you may experience symptoms of:
Beyond your excessive sweating, night sweats and flushing, accompanying symptoms of hot flashes might involve:
- dry eyes
- joint pain
- memory loss
- reduced libido
- vaginal dryness
- irregular periods
- sleep disruptions
- increased bone loss
- attention span issues
- depression, weepiness
- abdominal weight gain
- abnormal rage, impatience
Possibly the only thing certain about this sweat producing time of life is that there’s tremendous variation to the hot flash experience. As such, some seek treatment for their excessive sweats, while others will not.
There’s an assortment of treatments for hot flashes, some scientifically proven to help and others self reported to be beneficial. One of the most widely known forms of treatment for flushing perspiration is hormone therapy.
However, many decline this established treatment to halt perspiration because of its associated risks, such as:
Along the estrogen replacement lines, bioidentical hormone therapy that have the same chemical formula as those produced naturally is gaining popularity. The hormones in this treatment are created by altering compounds derived from plants.
It’s argued that because the product is introduced through your skin it’s not metabolized in your liver, thus avoiding potentially dangerous side effects. Yet, studies establishing safety and effectiveness are lacking.
Some other drugs that have been effective for treating hot flashes, but predominantly used to treat other health conditions, are:
- gabapentin (Neurontin) ~ treats seizures
- selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) ~ treats depression & anxiety
- clonidine (Catapres) ~ lowers blood pressure; side effects include dry mouth, constipation, drowsiness, insomnia
You may have heard that phytoestrogens, found in soy, chick peas and lentils, assist with relieving your hot flush sweats. They have a similar chemical structure as natural estrogens, but their effectiveness is substantially lower.
Some report gaining hot flash sweat relief via complementary treatment by use of:
- wild yam
- vitamin E
- dong quai
- black cohosh
- evening primrose oil
No science supporting safety and effectiveness of these products. And before you use them make sure you educate yourself on any vitamin toxicity or other toxicity potentiality.
Exercising regularly may ease your daytime perspiration and nightsweats caused by hot flushes because it:
A simple anti-perspiration treatment is to stay cool!