Menopause can be a mystery to many women, largely due to the fact that every woman may experience menopause differently. This can refer to the severity or frequency of symptoms during the perimenopause (or pre-menopause) period when a woman is beginning her transition. However, one thing that most women entering menopause have in common is the occurrence of hot flashes. Hot flashes are the most common symptom associated with menopause. Roughly 75% of all women will experience some degree of hot flashes during the perimenopause period.
When a woman has a hot flash, she will experience a sudden feeling of warmth (most commonly in the face, neck and chest) that is not linked to an external source. It’s common for the skin to become red, similar to when you blush. Additionally, hot flashes can cause a woman’s heart rate to increase temporarily. Hot flashes that occur at night can also lead to night sweats, which can be very uncomfortable and affect your ability to sleep.
The degree of hot flashes that you experience can vary significantly from woman to woman. For some, hot flashes are simply a minor inconvenience. For others, they can be overwhelming. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to help manage your symptoms and reduce your risk of hot flashes. For starters, we recommend limiting your consumption of alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods, as these can all trigger hot flashes. Keeping your house at a cool and comfortable temperature, especially at night when you’re trying to sleep. Try to avoid smoking and secondhand smoke. Getting regular daily exercise can help as well.
Certain medications may be able to help. Since hot flashes may result from decreased levels of estrogen in the body during menopause, hormone replacement therapies (HRT) including estrogen supplements can help treat this hormone imbalance and potentially reduce the frequency of hot flashes. Other non-hormonal medications can also help some women, so we recommend speaking with one of our healthcare providers to hear and understand all your potential options.
While we may not know the exact cause of your hot flashes, we are confident that our experts who specialize in healthcare for women can find an appropriate and helpful treatment plan to help you best manage your symptoms. For more information or if you would like to schedule an appointment today, please contact Family Practice Center. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for additional tips and news on women’s health and other topics.