If you are a woman who has hit or is approaching menopause, there is an 85% chance you’ve experienced a hot flash. Hot flashes typically occur as a result of hormonal imbalance through the process of menopause, but they also are the result of certain medications and lifestyles and can last anywhere from a few seconds to as long as an hour. Drops in estrogen directly influence a person’s hypothalamus, the part of the brain related to your appetite, sleep patterns, sex hormones and body temperature, bringing it to a state of confusion. When the hypothalamus is in this state of confusion, it may tell the body that its temperature is too hot.
Along with a feeling of sudden, intense heat, a person can experience an accelerated heart rate, sweating, nausea, dizziness, headache, weakness and shortness of breath. Some people also experience uneasiness before the hot flash which is a warning sign, known as an “aura”. The flash is followed by a flush, where you’re uncomfortably red and sweaty from your heart pumping faster to help with blood circulation and over-reaction of your sweat glands. This flush is the result of the hypothalamus sending the message “Cool down the temperature” to the heart, nervous system and blood vessels.
Replacing the estrogen that your body is lacking and adopting a low-fat diet are a couple of the best ways of diminishing the occurrence of hot flashes. At Sanctuary Medical Center, estrogen replacement is offered in the form of pellets, topical creams and in some situations, dissolvable lozenges. For more information or to book an appointment, please call 561.886.0974.