Managing Menopausal Hot Flashes | Gleneagles Hospitals
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Women’s Health
Preventive Care

Managing Menopausal Hot Flashes

03 May 2024 · 3 mins read


Learn about the triggers of menopausal hot flashes and how to manage them.

Menopausal hot flashes are sudden, intense feelings of heat and sweating, often accompanied by rapid heartbeat and flushing of the skin, commonly experienced during menopause.

Causes of Hot Flashes During Menopause

A woman's body naturally produces less oestrogen during menopause. This then affects the hypothalamus, which is the brain structure that regulates body temperature. The hypothalamus becomes sensitive and wrongly perceive the body as too warm, causing hot flashes.

Duration of Hot Flashes

Hot flashes can start during perimenopause (the stage before menopause) or during menopause (absence of period for 12 consecutive months).

Hot flashes can vary from mild (feeling hot without sweating) to moderate (feeling hot and sweating but manageable) or severe (intensely hot and sweaty, prompting a pause in activities).

Some may only experience mild hot flashes lasting 30 seconds, whereas others may experience hot flashes lasting over 5 minutes that can be severe; or it may even cause chills and rapid heartbeat. When these episodes occur at night, they are called night sweats.

The average duration of hot flashes experienced by menopausal women can range from 4 to 10 years or into a woman's 60s and 70s.

Triggers of Hot Flashes

Triggers can differ from one woman to another, and they usually include alcohol, caffeinated drinks, warm temperatures, poorly ventilated areas, eating hot or spicy foods, smoking, and having stress or anxiety.

By identifying and avoiding these triggers, the risk of hot flashes can be reduced.

Hot flashes are a common symptom of menopause. However, if they begin to disrupt your daily life, do seek medical advice.

Severe and frequent hot flashes, especially at night, can reduce sleep quality and increase sleep deprivation, thus putting you at risk of fatigue, mood changes, and other medical conditions.

Treatment and Management of Hot Flashes

The common treatment and management of hot flashes include:

  1. Non-hormonal medications: Antidepressants (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors – SSRIs), anti-seizure medications (gabapentin), and blood pressure medication (clonidine).
  2. Hormonal therapy: Oestrogen and sometimes progestin are prescribed to alleviate symptoms. Combining oestrogen with progesterone or the synthetic alternative progestin is typically recommended to mitigate the potential risks of uterine cancer and breast cancer associated with using oestrogen alone.
  3. Healthy body weight: Include physical activity to maintain a healthy body weight and reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flashes. Studies indicate that the severity and occurrence of hot flashes are higher in overweight women.
  4. Stay hydrated: Drinking enough water can help regulate body temperature and reduce the frequency of hot flashes.
  5. Quit smoking: Smoking is linked to the increase the severity of hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.
  6. Cool environment: Keep your home environment cool and wear breathable materials to manage your body temperature during a hot flash
  7. Relaxation: Relaxation techniques like breathing, meditation, yoga, and mindfulness can reduce stress and the occurrence of hot flashes.

Make an Appointment at Gleneagles Hospitals

Hot flashes are a common symptom experienced by many women, particularly during the menopausal transition. Manage triggers, adopt a healthy lifestyle, and discuss treatment options with your doctor.

Get in touch with us to book an appointment with our team of gynaecologists today, or find out more about our Obstetrics and Gynaecology Services at your nearest Gleneagles Hospital.

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