Menopause affects everyone differently, but according to the North American Menopause Society, about 75% of women will experience hot flashes during perimenopause and menopause. Often times, this symptom causes night sweats that disrupt your sleep and leads to such extreme discomfort during the day that many women turn to their doctors to try and find some relief. If you are experiencing mild or more severe hot flashes, keep reading to learn more about causes and potential solutions that can help you feel more cool and comfortable and better manage the symptoms of menopause.
What Causes Hot Flashes in Menopause?
While hot flashes are one of the most common symptoms of menopause, doctors still aren’t completely sure why they happen are where they originate from. The most popular theory is that hormonal changes in the body affect the hypothalamus, which is the part of the brain that acts as a thermostat and helps you to regulate your body temperature. During menopause, the hypothalamus can make the mistake of thinking that your body is too warm and begin taking measures to cool you down. This can include dilating blood vessels near the skin’s surface to help disperse heat and causing the body to perspire. As a result, many women experience red, blotchy skin and sweating.
It is important to keep in mind that other conditions and medications can also cause hot flashes. Thyroid disease, different types of infections and even cancer can create similar symptoms. Even if your hot flashes aren’t interrupting your life, it is still important to talk to your doctor and pinpoint the exact cause.
How Long Do Hot Flashes from Menopause Last?
Hot flashes vary from woman to woman, however, research shows that the earlier you begin having them, the longer they tend to last. In addition, African American and Hispanic women tend to have them for significantly longer than Caucasian and Asian women. Typically, you will also find that your hot flashes follow a certain pattern that is specific to you.
That being said, most women experience hot flashes for a period of 6 months to 2 years. However, they can last for 10 years or more and some women even continue to experience hot flashes after menopause. Ultimately, there is no way to predict how long they will last or when they will stop, which can make dealing with hot flashes especially stressful.
Natural Treatments Hot Flashes
If you are experiencing hot flashes, there are some steps you can take to find relief and cope with these episodes so that they are less uncomfortable and disruptive to your daily life. Making some lifestyle changes can help you reduce the severity of hot flashes. Those who smoke, drink alcohol and are overweight are more likely to experience severe hot flashes. Improving your overall health can help with both the severity and frequency of hot flashes.
While there is no cure for hot flashes, there are some techniques you can use to help manage this symptom. Night sweats can affect your sleep patterns and prevent you from feeling well-rested. Try lowering the temperature in your home at night and using a bedside fan. Drinking cold water right before bedtime can also provide some relief.
To cope with hot flashes during the day, be sure to dress in layers. This will allow you to remove clothing as needed so that you can stay cool and comfortable. A portable fan can also be a lifesaver during a hot flash. Finally, self-calming techniques, such as yoga, meditation, relaxation breathing, and tai chi have proven helpful in creating a stronger mind-body connection that will allow you to naturally soothe your systems.
Medical Treatments for Hot Flashes
Studies show that taking small doses of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can be effective in treating patients with severe hot flashes. These types of drugs are usually prescribed in higher doses to treat depression, but the FDA has also approved them for treating hot flashes. Keep in mind that these medications do come with side effects and will affect everyone differently. It is important to work with your doctor to find the right medication and talk to them about any side effects you are experiencing.
Hormone Treatments for Hot Flashes
Menopause causes the body to go through a variety of changes. During this period, the ovaries stop releasing eggs and the production of estrogen significantly declines. This hormonal shift is responsible for many symptoms, including hot flashes. Hormone therapy can be used to create a better balance of estrogen and progesterone so that women can experience some relief from their most severe symptoms.
As with any medical treatment, it is important to work with your doctor to determine the best course of treatment based on your medical history and symptoms. If you are a strong candidate for hormone therapy, your doctor can make sure you are receiving the right dosage, monitor any side effects and make adjustments as necessary.
Schedule Your Free Consultation Today
If you are dealing with the symptoms of menopause and hot flashes have become a disruptive part of your daily life, there are solutions available. You don’t have to suffer through uncomfortable and embarrassing hot flashes. Restorative Health offers free consultations for first-time patients who want to speak with a hormone specialist and learn more about their options. We can create a customized plan to meet your needs. Take advantage of our financing and payment plans and allow us to work with your insurance provider so that you have to pay minimal out of pocket costs. Now is the time to call (314) 300-9199 to schedule your free consultation and start managing your hot flashes.