What Causes Hot Flashes
A hot flash is that sudden, intense, hot feeling you get in different parts of your body and face. It is normally accompanied by sweating, anxiety, nausea, and rapid heartbeat. This happens when the body is undergoing hormonal changes, especially among women. It is caused by the sudden drop of estrogen in the body and is common in women that are undergoing menopause. However, even those that are on their premenopausal stage are at risk of experiencing hot flashes, especially when one is experiencing hormone imbalance.
The Hormone Estrogen
When there is not enough estrogen, the hypothalamus (the part of the brain responsible for regulating sleep, appetite, body temperature, etc.) gets the signal that the body is under too much heat. This message triggers the heart to pump faster and dilate blood vessels to eliminate the heat. This is the body’s cooling mechanism during hot days. However, it causes discomfort when it misreads the drop of estrogen, thus, the occurrence of hot flashes.
When women are about to menopause, the body’s production of estrogen slows down. In the U.S., 85% of women about to hit menopause reported experiencing hot flashes. However, women that had breast cancer or had ovarian problems may also experience hot flashes, sometimes even more severe than those experiencing menopause.
Hot flashes can keep you from performing your daily tasks and according to studies, stress is the number one trigger. If you are about to go in a meeting or perform a stressful task, it is best to prepare yourself and keep yourself calm to avoid experiencing a hot flash. Avoiding other triggers like alcohol, caffeine, spicy food, diet pills, and smoking may prevent you from experiencing hot flashes while you are at work.
If you are experiencing hot flashes, it may mean that you are experiencing hormone imbalance (if you are not taking hormonal therapy, especially tamoxifen). Hormone imbalance may lead to other serious diseases if left untreated. It is important to get tested when you constantly experience hot flashes. You can use estrogen hormome level test kits and then consult with your doctor about the results.