Hot flashes are one of the most common and bothersome symptoms of menopause. For those who have experienced hot flashes, they are probably all too familiar with the sudden heat, excessive sweating, and other side effects of this symptom. For those who haven't experienced them, an unexpected episode can be quite distressing. It is worth familiarizing yourself with some of the causes of hot flashes before seeking treatment. Keep reading for more information.
What Are Hot Flashes?
Hot flashes are sudden and intense sensations of heat in the face and upper body. They can be accompanied by profuse sweating, chills, increased heart rate, and by feelings of weakness, nausea, dizziness, and anxiety. The length and intensity of hot flashes episodes is different for every woman. However, on average an episode tends to last between 30 seconds and a few minutes. Hot flashes and other symptoms tend to disappear on their own after a woman has gone through menopause.
What Causes Hot Flashes?
Research has shown that hot flashes have a range of different causes. The most common belief suggests that they are caused by the lowered levels of estrogen in the body during menopause. However, hot flashes have also been linked to certain lifestyle habits and some medications.
The hormonal imbalance during menopause directly affects the hypothalamus, the brain's internal thermostat, making it falsely believe that the body is too hot. To cool the body down, the heart pumps faster and dilates the blood vessels near the surface of the skin, so that the sweat glands can release heat and sweat.
What Are Some Treatments for Hot Flashes?
There are several treatments available for women who suffer from hot flashes. The most common and one of the easiest methods is to naturally maintain a healthy and fit body. This involves reducing stress levels, eating a well-balanced diet, and exercising regularly.
Treating Hot Flashes
It is widely known that stress provokes hot flashes. To help reduce stress and anxiety try practicing some of the following relaxation techniques.
- Deep breathing exercises
In addition to relaxation techniques, changes in diet are also a proven treatment for hot flashes and hormonal imbalance. Research has shown that over an extended period of time, a low-fat diet can help relieve hot flashes for some women. Herbal solutions and foods containing soy may also work because of their high estrogen content. And though it is easier said than done, losing excess weight helps significantly.
While healthy lifestyle solutions are very beneficial, some alternative medicines have been proven to specifically target the hormonal imbalance. Often, a combination of both methods is the most effective way to treat hot flashes.