Do you experience a sudden feeling of warmth that makes you want to switch on the AC even when it’s freezing outside? Does it turn your face red as a tomato and make you sweat profusely? Well, these sudden bouts of hot flashes can leave you uncomfortable and confused. But here’s all the info on why this happens and how to deal with it to give you some clarity:
What Is A Hot Flash?
A hot flash is a sudden flare of heat in the upper body. It is usually more intense over the face, neck, and chest and can leave your skin red. It can also cause profuse sweating and make you feel chilled afterward.
How Long Does A Hot Flash Last?
A single episode of a hot flash can last for one-five minutes. It can be mild or intense depending on the cause and can happen at any time of the day or night. While hot flashes in the day can be managed, night time hot flashes can wake you up and cause long-term sleep disruptions. One may continue to experience sudden bouts of warmth and sweat for a few months or continue to experience them for the rest of your life too. Additionally, the frequency of hot flashes may vary from person to person. Some may experience a few hot flashes weekly, while others may experience them on an hourly basis. However, their intensity and frequency is likely to decrease with time.
Signs & Symptoms Of Hot Flashes
Wondering what hot flashes feel like? Here are a few signs and symptoms to look out for:
-Sudden warmth that may spread down to your chest, neck, and face
-A flushed appearance with red, blotchy skin
-Feelings of anxiety
-A chilly feeling once the hot flash subsides
-They can be accompanied by vaginal dryness, headache, weakness, fatigue, faintness
Causes Of Hot Flashes
Now that you know what hot flashes feel like, let’s talk about why they happen in the first place. Here are the potential causes of hot flashes:
From metabolism to sexual function, menstrual cycle, and even sleep–our hormones coordinate all our bodily functions. While a good overall health is an indicator of a sound hormonal balance, symptoms like acne, irregular periods, fatigue, and hot flashes can be indicative of a disturbance in your hormonal heaven. According to a 2021 study, hot flashes happen when decreased estrogen levels cause your body’s thermostat (hypothalamus) to become more sensitive to slight changes in body temperature. When the hypothalamus thinks your body is too warm, it breaks into a hot flash to cool you down.
Hot flashes are usually caused due to menopause. It is defined as the point in time 12 months after one’s last period. It usually happens between the age of 40-50 and is preceded by a natural decline in reproductive hormones including estrogen over a span of a year or so (perimenopause stage) before one stops getting their period. Again, estrogen drop is the main cause of hot flashes during this stage.
Hot flashes could also be an early symptom of pregnancy. Elevated pregnancy hormone levels during this stage and a faster metabolism can result in an increase in your core body temperature. Your body makes up for the increased temperature by sweating more to help you cool down.
Underlying Health Conditions
Even though menopause is the most common cause of hot flashes, they can also be caused due to medication side effects, thyroid problems, mental health issues like anxiety and underlying health conditions like breast cancer. One must always check with a doctor to identify the exact cause and seek timely treatment for it.
How To Manage Hot Flashes
Folks, these six these tips can help you manage the episodes of hot flashes better and keep you comfy during the tough times:
Stay Away From The Triggers
Even though menopause and the resulting hormonal changes are inevitable, certain triggers can kickstart or aggravate hot flashes and make them even tougher to deal with. Factors like stress, smoking, consumption of excessive caffeine or alcohol, sedentary lifestyle, obesity, spicy foods, and tight clothing are on top of the list in this case. Steering clear of these triggers can help you prevent or decrease the frequency and intensity of hot flashes. So stay active, eat healthy, home-cooked meals, ditch synthetics for comfy, breathable fabrics and avoid alcohol, smoking, and caffeine like a plague if you’re perimenopausal or experience hot flashes.
Apple Cider Vinegar Solution
According to an excerpt from the book titled Multi-Tasking & Miraculous Apple Cider Vinegar & Coconut Oil, raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar possesses powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which can reduce the intensity of hot flashes. You can add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water, mix well, and drink it up once or twice a day to keep hot flashes in check.
Check For Nutritional Deficiencies
Studies suggest that deficiency of nutrients like vitamin B, E, C, and folic acid can increase the severity and duration of hot flashes in menopausal women. So get regular blood tests done to identify these deficiencies and start consuming a balanced diet and doc-recommended health supplements to cover up for them. Increasing your intake of green, leafy vegetables like spinach and citrus fruits can help you a great deal too.
Include Flax Seeds In Your Diet
According to a 2007 study, consuming 1-2 tablespoons of powdered flaxseed daily can reduce the symptoms as well as the intensity of hot flashes, making them an excellent remedy to combat this condition. Simply sprinkle them over your sabjis, cereals, and curd to include them in your diet.
Count On Coconut Oil
While a soothing body massage with coconut oil can reduce stress, including it in your diet can reduce inflammation, restore hormonal balance, and keep your body cool. You can ditch your regular cooking oil for it or simply have a teaspoon of coconut oil on an empty stomach in the morning.
Practical solutions like keeping a small electric fan handy or using an ice pack can help you stay cool during those uncomfortable episodes of hot flashes. Additionally, staying hydrated can keep your body temperature controlled and prevent dehydration and weakness due to excessive sweating during a hot flash.
We’re sure that these home remedies will help you battle those uncomfortable hot flashes like a champ. But don’t forget to consult with your doctor if hot flashes are too intense and disrupt your daily life activities.
*This article has been reviewed by Dr. Queen Aditya.
Dr. Queen Aditya is an MBBS, MD in Obstetrics and Gynaecology and has 21 years of experience as a specialist. She is a member of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and the Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI). As a consultant, she is associated with four hospitals based in Kolkata, where she specialises in high-risk obesity, gynae endocrinology, and vaginal surgeries.
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