A hot flush is a sudden temporary symptom of heat usually associated with the menopause time. It is usually caused by dilated blood vessels in the skin and it’s called vasomotor event. The symptoms of hot flushes and especially night sweats are a common thing for menopause. In most cases, hot flushes occur just for a few months, but there are rare cases in which these symptoms remain persistent throughout many years. Hot flushes are also associated with sudden drops of a hormone called estrogen, but as soon as the estrogen levels get stabilized the symptoms disappear.
Hot flushes may affect certain body parts or the entire body and can be triggered by blankets, warm beverages and spicy food. They can last from just a few seconds to a few minutes and can range from mild to severe intensity. The increase of blood flow to the particular area raises the temperature and creates a flush. Sweating occurs as a natural way of cooling down the body.
Ovaries are prone to failure after the menopause. The occurrence of hot flushes is a response to the decrease in estrogen which is the main female hormone. The deficiency on the blood vessels in the skin causes them to dilate and that leads to an increase in local blood flow. Decline in estrogen alters the neurotransmitters in the brain and the settings of hypothalamus thermal regulation become unstable. Hot flushes are also combined with labile moods, bladder problems, vaginal problems, headaches and reduced libido.
Mild hot flushes can be reduced by a healthier diet and lifestyle. Dressing in layers that can easily be removed if necessary and keeping cool helps a lot. The constant flow of fresh air is also necessary. Hot flushes can be triggered by spicy food, caffeinated beverages and alcohol so those should be avoided. Quitting smoking is a must since it’s directly linked to hot flushes.
Various complementary and alternative treatments can also be helpful in the treatment of hot flushes. Some of them can be potentially harmful so patients should be careful. The best known of them all are soy and red clover. Black choosy is very popular among women who suffer from menopausal symptoms.
Estrogen replacement therapy is one of medical ways of dealing with hot flushes. If the uterus is still present in the woman’s body then progestogen must be included in the therapy so that lining of the uterus will not thicken during the therapy. Therapy is available as tablets, sub dermal implants or skin patches.