Hot flashes are defined as a sudden burst of intense heat, often starting in the face or chest, and spreading quickly across the rest of the body.
They are one of the most common symptoms of menopause: more than 75% of women between the ages of 44 – 55 experience hot flashes, and of these, 85% experience them more than once a year.
Flashes are uncomfortable and can seem unpredictable, so it’s helpful to know what causes them in order to understand and avoid the symptom’s triggers.
The Principal Cause: Hormonal Imbalance
The most significant cause is hormonal imbalance that occurs in a woman’s body as she approaches menopause. Lack of estrogen causes the hypothalamus (which regulates body temperature) to falsely detect an increase of temperature in the body, which then reacts to cool down.
To regain a normal body temperature, blood vessels near the skin’s surface dilate, and the skin flushes, radiates heat, and exudes sweat.
Unexpected Causes of Hot Flashes
Though there is little a woman can do to prevent this natural imbalance, there are some unexpected causes that you can address to help limit the frequency and intensity of hot flashes:
- Poor diet. An excess of processed or refined foods in the diet will have a detrimental effect on the way the body functions. Nuts, grains, and beans have been proven to help facilitate normal activity in the hypothalamus, so replacing junk food in your diet with these could decrease the occurrence of hot flashes. Eating spicy food can also provoke an increase in your body temperature and trigger a hot flash.
- Lack of exercise. Similarly, regular exercise has a significant effect on the way the body functions. It is recommended that women exercise 30 minutes a day, five days a week. As well as decreasing the likelihood of recurrent hot flashes, exercise could address other symptoms of menopause, such as weight gain and mood swings.
- Smoking. Smoking causes blood vessels to lose some of their ability to radiate heat, which is likely to make hot flashes more intense. Quitting smoking could make your hot flashes significantly milder.
- Stress. A survey taken in 2010 found stress to be one of the most common triggers by women experiencing regular hot flashes between the ages of 44 – 55. It is worth reassessing your routine if you regularly feel stressed, as this may be triggering hot flashes, as well as impacting your sense of well-being and overall health. Exercising regularly can also provide a distracting antidote to stress. If you are concerned that stress is affecting your quality of life, it is advisable to make an appointment to consult with your doctor.
- Warm environments. Environments such as saunas, hot rooms, hot tubs, hot baths, and showers can trigger hot flushes. If you are going to be in these environments, it may be useful to situate yourself close to the exit so you can easily leave to cool down, or bring something to help you cool down, such as cold water or a fan.
Hot flashes are an uncomfortable and, at times, overwhelming symptom of menopause. It can be difficult for a woman to feel fresh while flushed and sweating.
Though inevitable hormonal imbalances mean that hot flashes are sometimes unavoidable, understanding other triggers can help you prepare for them, so you can make adjustments to your lifestyle where possible to alleviate the flashes intensity and frequency.
If you are suffering with hot flashes, we recommend that you change to a healthy lifestyle as given in the free Manna Diet e-book. To increase estrogen levels in the most natural way without the worry of side effects, take the Manna Menopause Support supplement. This product was formulated with the best phyto-estrogens, vitamin D as Calcium to help counteract menopausal symptoms.