75% of women suffer from hot flashes during menopause. Hot flashes are caused mainly by the reduced levels of the estrogen hormone. The widely accepted theory is that reduced estrogen levels affect the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that regulates body temperature. When the hypothalamus gets confused, the body begins to overheat. The blood vessels in the skin begin to swell and the sweat glands become activated. The sudden increase in blood flow to the skin causes a rapid increase in skin temperature, resulting in what is known as a hot flash (also known as hot flushes in some countries).
Hot Flashes and Cancer
Cancer or cancer treatments can trigger hot flashes and night sweats. Chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy with androgen, and drugs such as Tamoxifen, Aromatase inhibitors, Opioids, and steroids can result in chemical menopause. “Male menopause” in men can be caused by hormone therapy with estrogen or gonadotropin-releasing hormone.
Hot flash symptoms
Hot flashes vary in intensity and duration. Some can be spontaneous episodes of intense heat; others can be longer periods of sweating. Hot flashes commonly start in the face and chest, but can result in heat waves that affect the whole body. Some women suffer from hot flashes on a daily basis while others can go for weeks without.
Hot flashes that strike at night are known as night sweats. The overall period of time that women suffer from hot flashes also varies: from six months to ten or more years. For most women, a couple of years is typical.
Managing hot flashes
There are a number of known hot flash triggers that can be avoided – hot and spicy food and drink, smoking cigarettes, overconsumption of alcohol, caffeine, and sugar. Other triggers include warm environments, heat sources, stress, anxiety, and diet pills.
Simple tips to manage hot flashes include keeping the ambient environment cool, especially the bedroom, wearing light layers of clothes with natural fibres, drinking plenty of water, regular exercise, and relaxation techniques (deep and slow breathing exercises).
Physicool’s Cooling Mist
The Rapid Cooling Mist quickly draws heat generated by a hot flash, also hydrating and calming the skin. The resulting relief is instantaneous and long-lasting. Rapid evaporation technology, using evaporating alcohols, provides a much faster and greater drop in skin temperature compared to water evaporation.