What are Hot Flashes?
The most common symptom of menopause and the one most often complained about is the hot flash, where you get a sudden overwhelming feeling of being hot, your face and neck gets red, and you start sweating profusely. Although its uncertain as to the cause of hot flashes, its thought that they are caused by changes in the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that regulates body temperature. If the hypothalamus mistakenly perceives the body as being too warm, a chain of events occurs resulting in the hot flash to cool you down. First, the blood vessels near the surface of the skin begin to dilate (enlarge), which increases blood flow to the surface. This is your body’s attempt to get rid of body heat. It can cause your face and neck to turn red and you may start to sweat to cool the body down. Your pulse rate may go up and you could get a sensation of a rapid heartbeat. Oftentimes, the hot flash is followed by a cold chill. Only some women experience only the chill.
Hot flashes usually go away on their own, but sometimes treatment is necessary. When treatment is administered, hot flashes typically dissipate.
What is the Treatment for Hot Flashes?
Treatment for hot flashes depends on how severe they are, how they are impacting the quality of your life, your personal philosophy and preferences, and your overall health. Treatment usually involves lifestyle changes, non-prescription remedies, and prescription therapies. The only therapy approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Health Canada for treating hot flashes is systemic estrogen therapy.