Hot flashes - Vitality Wellness Clinic

What are hot flashes?

Hot flashes, also known as hot flushes, are sudden feelings of warmth spreading through the body, often most pronounced in the face, neck and chest. They may also be accompanied by sweating and rapid heartbeat and typically last from 30 seconds to several minutes.

Hot flashes are very common during menopause, affecting up to 80% of women as their estrogen levels decline. They can vary widely from mild to severe, coming infrequently or even multiple times an hour. Lifestyle changes like dressing in layers, avoiding triggers like stress, hot drinks or environments, and managing risk factors can provide relief. If very frequent or severe, hormone therapy may be an option for some women.

What causes hot flashes?

The exact causes are still unclear but involve the complex interplay of various hormones and brain chemicals. As estrogen declines in perimenopause and menopause, this seems to affect the body's thermoregulation - causing blood vessels to dilate rapidly leading to flushing and sweating in an attempt to cool down.

Changes in serotonin, norepinephrine and endorphins also likely play a role in regulating temperature. The hypothalamus, responsible for maintaining internal equilibrium, becomes more sensitive and triggers hot flashes at smaller changes during menopause.

Managing and treating hot flashes

Lifestyle changes and home remedies are the first line of defense in handling hot flashes:

For moderate to severe hot flashes, hormone therapy may provide the most relief. Low-dose formulations containing estrogen, often with progesterone, directly replace what the body is missing. Localized estrogen creams may also help vulvovaginal symptoms.

If hormones are contraindicated for health reasons, certain antidepressants like venlafaxine, gabapentin or clonidine may offer some relief.

At Vitality Wellness Clinic, our compassionate staff can help identify the most appropriate treatment options for your individual hormonal changes and related symptoms. From lifestyle adjustments to customized bioidentical hormone therapies, we develop personalized care plans so you can feel like yourself again. Contact us today to find the right solutions for your menopause journey.

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