For most women menopause occurs between the ages of 40 and 50. The hormonal fluctuations responsible also account for accompanying indicators such as hot flashes. Most hot flash symptoms last between one and ten years, discontinuing alongside a woman's monthly period. However, some women experience hot flashes at the age of 60 and well into their postmenopausal years.
What Are Hot Flashes Postmenopause?
There are four levels of hot flash severity:
- Quick hot flashes. Don't interfere with daily activities.
- Mild hot flashes. Barely detected.
- Moderate hot flashes. More intense and obvious, generally accompanied by sweating.
- Severe hot flashes. These are intensely hot episodes. Often cause disruption to the daily routines and drive women to seek immediate relief.
Hot flashes experienced postmenopause share the features of hot flashes experienced earlier in menopause. The sensation is characterized by feelings of intense heat in the upper body, perspiration and occasionally chills.
The longevity of postmenopausal hot flash episodes varies from woman to woman but can last between thirty seconds to five minutes. The intensity and frequency of hot flash episodes also varies, but commonly lessen with age.
Many factors affect hot flash experience. Being aware of these allows women to reduce the intensity and frequency of the episodes.
What Causes Hot Flashes during Postmenopause?
The exact cause for hot flashes is unclear. What is known however, is that decreased estrogen levels cause the hypothalamus (the area of the brain that controls body temperature) to malfunction and produce a 'hot flash'. The hypothalamus falsely detects increased internal temperature, and forces the body to react quickly in order to cool down. A women experiences the consequence of an increased heart rate and dilated blood vessels dilating releasing heat and perspiration.
What Triggers Hot Flashes?
The effects of hormonal imbalance can be intensified by various factors.
- Stress is a common trigger.el
- Foodstuffs like caffeine, alcohol, and spices can prompt hot flashes.
- Warm environments can provoke hot flashes.
- Those overweight tend to experience more severe and frequent hot flashes.
How Can I Manage Hot Flashes during Postmenopause?
Hot flashes are the consequences of decreased estrogen levels. To treat the symptoms of this natural experience you can:
- Follow a healthy diet with less caffeine and sugar, and more whole grains
- Implement exercise into your routine. Exercise gets blood evenly flowing throughout your body and helps to balance out hormone levels.
- Revise your tolerance to spicy or heavily-seasoned foods
- Sleep in a cool room and use light-weight pajamas
- Dress in easily removed layers
- Drink cold water
- Take a cool shower to reduce your body temperature
- Keep a diary and note down when you get hot flashes. Over time, this could reveal a pattern and prompt lifestyle alterations.
If your symptoms are severe and affect your daily life, dealing with the root of the cause, hormonal imbalance, should be considered. Your doctor can recommend various hormone-balancing treatments. Click on the following link to learn about the best treatments for hot flashes currently available.