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Is it hot or is it just me(nopause)?

Hot flashes are the epitome of menopause. You’ve seen it in your mom and her friends, but now you are starting to experience them. They start occasionally, and you’re not quite sure what is happening. But their frequency increases and while it may be hard to admit, they are a sign that hormones are changing.


Hot flashes are one of the most prevalent signs of menopause. You know it…a sudden sensation of warmth that spreads throughout the body, generally beginning in the face and neck. They last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes. They often result in perspiration, an accelerated pulse, and chills. Hot flashes can happen at any moment of the day or night and might interfere with regular tasks like sleeping.



What is happening in the body to cause hot flashes?


Although the exact reason for hot flashes during menopause is not entirely understood, it is believed to be related to hormonal changes that occur during this time.


As you begin approaching menopause, your ovaries decrease the amount of estrogen produced. Changes in the levels of other hormones, including progesterone, testosterone, and Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH), can also contribute to hot flashes during menopause.


The hypothalamus, the area of the brain that controls body temperature, is be impacted by the change in hormone levels. The hypothalamus interprets these hormone changes as a warning that the body is becoming overheated and must be cooled down. This is when it activates the body's cooling processes, including sweating and blood vessel dilation, to reduce body temperature.



Are there contributing factors to hot flashes?


Hot flashes can also be brought on or made worse by certain lifestyle choices. Many of these lifestyle choices we can control, including stress, drinking alcohol or caffeine, eating spicy foods, and smoking. Hot flashes may also be brought on by environmental factors such as hot weather or a stuffy, warm environment.



What treatment for hot flashes during menopause?


Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), which involves taking estrogen and occasionally progesterone to replace the hormones that the body no longer produces, may be used as a treatment for hot flashes during menopause. However, HRT is not appropriate for many women and may cause side effects, so it's crucial to go over the advantages and dangers with your medical professional.


Ultimately, it should be noted that hot flashes are a frequent symptom of menopause. They can be brought on by hormonal changes as well as lifestyle and environmental factors, some of which you have control over. There are some treatment choices that should be discussed with your medical provider, however you can also take steps to control the controllables.


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