Menopause & Hot Flushes

Hot flushes are like your own personal heat wave, but far from enjoyable. They’re uncomfortable and irritating and can disrupt your quality of life.

What are they?

Hot flushes bring on a sudden sensation of hotness that commonly begins in your scalp, face, neck or chest area. They often cause sweating and leave you with a flushed, red face, and can last anywhere from 30 seconds to 10 minutes. Some women only feel slightly warm during a hot flush, while others find themselves completely drenched in sweat. You may also hear them referred to as a hot flush.

Hot flushes may also be accompanied by nausea, dizziness, feelings of weakness, a rapid heartbeat, headache and even a feeling of suffocation.

What causes hot flushes?

These uncomfortable symptoms take place when your internal thermostat becomes erratic – thanks again, to your changing hormones. They can also be triggered by your lifestyle habits or certain medications. Hot flushes occur when the blood vessels near the skin’s surface dilate, causing increased skin temperature and flushing.

What can you do?Woman cooling off with fan due to hot flushes

For many, hot flushes are inevitable. But there are precautions you can take to decrease their frequency and severity.

  • Keep your bedroom cool at night.
  • Wear light layers of clothes with natural fibers, like cotton. (Synthetic materials like polyester will make it more difficult for your body to cool off.)
  • Use fans during the day.
  • Avoid the “triggers” below, which seem to bring on hot flushes more frequently and increase their severity:
    • Caffeine
    • Alcohol
    • Cigarettes
    • Spicy foods
    • Tight clothing
    • Hot tubs
    • Saunas
    • Hot showers

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