Hot Flashes and Menopause
Hot flashes are the most recognized symptom associated with menopause. While severity and frequency can vary, nearly 75% of United States women will experience hot flashes. The hormonal changes and transition through menopause is often what triggers these uncomfortable, unpredictable and highly disruptive sweats. For women who are “super flashers”, the sudden increase in body temperature throughout the day can be a serious threat to their quality of life and major disturbance to their sleep patterns.
What You Can Expect
During a hot flash, your skin temperature rises and you can experience sweating, flushing and a more rapid heart rate. For most women, the scenario lasts anywhere from 30 seconds to 10 minutes. You may find that the onset of your hot flashes is different than your sister or best friend. Some women start having these sweats in 40s and 50s, when they are still having menstrual periods. Others won’t encounter this disruptive symptom until their cycles have actually stopped.
What causes hot flashes exactly? While we know that the significant hormone changes of menopause clearly play a role, the full explanation and underlying biology of hot flashes is not yet clear. If you are currently suffering from hot flashes, however, you are probably less worried with why they are happening and more concerned with how you can stop them.
What You Can Do
Hot flashes can be treated with medicine or behavior changes, or both. Hormone therapy and anti-depressants are widely used and prescribed to reduce hot flash episodes. If you’re willing to make some behavioral changes as well, hot flashes can often be more tolerable or greatly reduced when women engage in mindfulness-based stress reduction, yoga, or other calming therapies. You should also keep a cool environment when possible to offset the malfunctioning internal thermostat of your body during menopause.
If hot flashes are threatening to ruin your life and your sleep, call North Pointe OB/GYN Associates today. We have a team of highly experienced and compassionate physicians who offer the latest treatment methods for menopause and hot flashes. We do our best to help you have the best quality of life possible during this unavoidable transition.