Do you feel hot, even in the winter? Is it hard to peel yourself away from the air conditioner? If you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat and exhausted from poor sleep, you should know you’re not alone. And no, it’s got nothing to do with global warming.
Three out of four women suffer from hot flashes and consider this symptom the most unpleasant aspect of menopause, as it can have significant implications on your quality of life. It can impact your work performance, what you wear, and how much sleep you get at night.
Hot flashes are caused by hormonal changes. Starting in your late forties, the amount of estrogen your ovaries release, gradually decreases. Estrogen is a female sex hormone that regulates body temperature. Lower levels of estrogen cause blood vessels to dilate near the surface of the skin, particularly in the areas of the chest, neck and head, causing hot flashes. These intense waves of heat appear suddenly, and usually consist of flushed skin, profuse sweating, cold chills, and dizziness among other symptoms.
Beyond hormonal changes, other causes that can trigger a hot flash include nutrition, body temperature, exercise and hereditary factors, but there are various ways to address this problem.