The Mayo Clinic tells us that hot flushes (hot flashes) are the most common symptom of menopause, affecting two thirds of North American women. Other sources tell us that a massive 80% of women experience hot flushes (flashes) during the three stages of menopause.
The symptoms can last for up to 5 minutes. These symptoms, triggered by the reduction in the oestrogen levels associated with the three stages of menopause, are many and (not so) varied (think hot and sweaty).
They result from changes in circulation, more specifically the widening of the blood vessels near to the surface of the skin when cooling is needed. This is a normal biological function known as vasodilation, allowing us to keep cool through a process known as thermoregulation.
Thermoregulation, along with much else, can go a bit crazy during the phases of menopause.
Symptoms of hot flushes (flashes) can include:
- A sudden feeling of warmth spreading through your chest, neck and face
- A flushed appearance with red, blotchy skin
- Rapid heartbeat
- Perspiration, mostly on your upper body
- A chilled feeling as the hot flash lets up
- Feelings of anxiety
All well and good, but what can you do to reduce their severity or manage it?
Anna has some wonderfully practical tips on managing temperatures and some of the underlying factors.
There are some more common, recognised triggers. You may find that reducing your exposure to these can help you to better manage your menopause.
- Spicy foods
- Tight clothing
- Cigarette smoke
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hot-flashes/symptoms-causes/syc-20352790 (Accessed 7 February 2022)
https://www.webmd.com/menopause/guide/menopause-hot-flashes (Accessed 7 February 2022)