Hot flashes are a very common symptom of perimenopause, with around 75% of women experiencing them during the transition. Signs include an intense feeling of heat in the face, rapid or irregular heartbeat, and redness or flushing in the face and neck.
Hot flashes during perimenopause are not only physically uncomfortable, but they can also evoke anxious feelings. However, there are ways you can fight back. Read on to learn more.
Perimenopause is the time directly preceding menopause, and it involves a number of significant changes in your body that eventually lead to infertility. In other words, it is the time of your life when the reproductive function of your body starts to shut down. During perimenopause, it is very common for a woman to experience a number of symptoms, including night sweats, vaginal dryness, and hot flashes. These symptoms of menopause are caused primarily by fluctuating hormone levels in your body.
Hormone levels are usually within an optimal range during a woman's reproductive years, with relatively small dips and peaks over the course of the menstrual cycle. Sex hormones control different bodily functions, including mood, the menstrual cycle, and sodium and fluid retention. When hormone levels start to fluctuate more drastically, menopause symptoms like hot flashes can appear.
Dealing with Hot Flashes
The primary cause of hot flashes during perimenopause is changes in estrogen levels. This hormonal imbalance can affect the hypothalamus, your body's internal thermostat, and cause your body to sweat to cool down unnecessarily. This results in the sensations of intense heat and visible redness during a hot flash.
While hormonal imbalance is the backdrop to hot flashes, certain triggers can offset an episode. Each woman may have different triggers, but some of the most common are:
- Spicy foods
- Strenuous exercise
- Excessive coffee or alcohol consumption
Avoiding this triggers as much as possible can help reduce the intensity and frequency of hot flashes. Another great tip is to dress in layers of garments made of breathable fabrics, like cotton. Removing or adding layers at will can help you control your body temperature and cope with hot flashes.
Check out the links below to learn more about treating hot flashes during perimenopause.