Hot flashes are caused by fluctuations in the levels of sex hormones. This is estrogen for women and testosterone for men. There are various causes for hot flashes, but the vast majority is experienced by women going through menopause, known as female hot flashes. There is no danger to hot flashes at all, but they can be incredibly uncomfortable. However, since some 85% of women will have a hot flash at some point in their lives.
Hot Flashes Causes
The most common cause of hot flashes in women is menopause. However, because hot flashes are relating to the sex hormones, they can happen to both men and women and for various reasons (men won’t go through the menopause obviously). Sometimes, male hot flashes happen because of age, but most often it is because they have had to have one of their testicles surgically removed. Generally, hot flashes in men are caused by testosterone deficiency, which can be medically controlled, so do go see the doctor.
Another type of hot flash is the night sweat, for which there is no obvious cause either. It is important to seek medical advice when you experience night sweats to rule out serious conditions, but most of the time it is a case of making yourself more comfortable. Have a blanket with less tog and open windows, or perhaps wear layers, so you can remove pieces of clothing as you start to heat up.
How to Deal with Hot Flashes
As much as you may understand that hot flashes are a part of life, it doesn’t make them any more pleasurable. Hence, it is likely that you are looking for ways to alleviate the symptoms at least somewhat. Here are a few pointers that you may find beneficial:
• Learn your triggers and avoid them. Whenever you have a hot flash, look at the circumstances around it and see whether that was actually a trigger. Heat, spicy food, alcohol, tobacco and stress are all common triggers for hot flashes.
• Chill out. You will feel your hot flashes coming and when you do, learn to accept it rather than get stressed about it. If you stress, you will find that the flash gets much worse. Also, take at least 15 minutes a day out to meditate or do some deep breathing exercises. Menopause hot flashes can stay with you for quite some time and if you get stressed every time, you will have a rough few years.
• Keeping it cool. Try to wear clothing that doesn’t make you feel too hot, or wear layers that are easy to take off. If you have night sweats, put a fan on, change your blankets and use cotton bed sheets as much as possible.
• Hydrate. When you sweat, you lose a lot of fluids and you must replenish these if you don’t want to end up feeling tired and have headaches. Make sure you always have some water with you, carry a bottle in your bag and have one next to your bed. As soon as you feel the symptoms of hot flashes coming, start to drink some water. This may also stop the hot flash from getting as bad as it can be.
• Be healthy and active. If you exercise regularly and consume the right types of healthy foods, you will notice that you don’t have as many hot flashes either. People who are overweight tend to have much more frequent and severe flashes, so losing weight may be needed if you are overweight. Naturally, eating healthy and being active is always a good idea.
• Layers. Always try to wear layers and wear cotton. Ban all synthetic fabrics and wool from your closet, and put your silks away for a while. Silk is gorgeous, but it doesn’t breathe. Make sure you can take a few of the layers off as you start to experience heat.
• Acupuncture. Acupuncture is a great way to relieve the symptoms of menopause in general. This is true particularly for hot flashes, which have been proven to be reduced with the alternative therapy. In fact, it is one of the most respected types of hot flashes treatment to date.
• Supplements. The issue of supplements is always controversial. This is mainly because they don’t have to be FDA approved. There are also some that have positively dangerous effects. However, some are truly beneficial but you must always seek advice from your doctor before supplementing. This is also because you may have certain underlying medical conditions that make using supplements a bad idea. So, before you turn to hot flashes remedies, albeit over the counter, make sure you do your research. Even natural remedies for hot flashes are not always the best.