Hot flashes are one of the most common menopause symptoms. While women are taught that hot flashes are just that a sudden brief flash of heat, some women may experience more prolonged episodes during this unpleasant stage.
While the reasons for this are varied, and sometimes ill-understood, it is important for women who are affected to gain as much knowledge as possible about their symptoms, so that they can begin an effective treatment.
Some women report that they experience both the typical hot flash, characterized by a rapid rush of heat that dissipates as fast as it arrived, as well as a second type – the ember flash. With a name that conjures late-night bonfires or cozy wintertime hearths, the ember flash seems rather benign and almost comforting.
Unlike classic hot flashes, ember flashes can be quite troubling to women who experience them, ember flashes are less intense than classic hot flashes, but they last for half an hour, with some women reporting heat for up to a whole hour. While they appear just as quickly as hot flashes, ember flashes do not fade quite as rapidly, often leaving women wondering what else could be going on in their bodies. No evidence exists that these ember flashes some women experience are anything unusual or a cause of something more serious.
Prolonged Hot Flashes and Tamoxifen
Women who are taking the breast cancer treatment drug tamoxifen may also experience longer-than-average hot flashes. Tamoxifen is used to treat early and advanced stages of estrogen receptor positive breast cancer in pre and postmenopausal women. It is also sometimes used as a preventative treatment for women with a high risk for developing breast cancer.
Tamoxifen has been linked to prolonged hot flashes that occur in menopausal women and unlike the ember flashes, tamoxifen induced prolonged flashes may be just as severe as the classic hot flash, just longer-lasting.
Also, women who complete the entire menopause transition (premenopause to postmenopause) within three years report experiencing more intense and more prolonged hot flashes.
More Information about Prolonged Hot Flashes
Women who experience prolonged hot flashes, or any number of other menopause symptoms, have numerous options for potential treatment. These different treatments can be subdivided into three categories, ranging from least intense to most intense: lifestyle changes, alternative medicine, and medications and surgery. To learn more about treatments for hot flashes, click on the following link.
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