Losing Your Cool: Why You Get Hot Flashes During Menopause

woman suffering from hot flash

Despite the good riddance of monthly periods and the cramps that come with it, a lot of women hate the menopause phase partly because of this one frustrating problem: hot flashes. It’s so uncomfortable turning red on the face, neck, ears, and all over, sweating profusely, and feeling that your heartbeat going faster than usual. But what exactly causes such a symptom in the first place?

When the Heat is On

The culprit behind hot flashes is that thing you would usually blame for all the other changes in your body: hormones. When you stop menstruating, estrogen level decreases dramatically. This affects the way your body regulates temperature.

Health experts from St. George explained that at a normal state, the thermal neutral zone in the brain keeps the body temperature stable even though outside temperature changes. When you experience a drop in estrogen levels, that stability is thrown off and the thermal neutral zone narrows, making you more sensitive to slight differences in outside temperature. As heat rises, sweating happens, which is the body’s way of cooling off and keeping a stable core temperature.

Women who have sensitive skin are the ones more at risk of hot flashes, as their blood vessels tend to easily dilate. A chemical imbalance in the brain, particularly when the level of hormone leptin increases, also makes some people vulnerable. This hormone is produced by fat cells. This explains why doctors highly recommend losing weight to reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flashes.

What to Do

woman with cramps

The easiest way to find relief from hot flashes is to keep an optimal temperature at your home. Turn your AC on, especially at night when the symptoms tend to get worse. If you do notice some leaks or weird sounds on your air conditioning, My Buddy The Plumber Heating & Air, LLC and other HVAC experts say that you might have clogged filters or loose parts that interfere with the cooling capability of your unit.

Of course, thermal comfort is also influenced by what you wear. That’s why wearing light clothes during summer and layers that can be easily removed during winter is advisable.

You can also reduce hot flashes by adopting lifestyle changes. Watch out what you eat and drink. Spicy food, alcoholic beverages, and caffeine can aggravate hot flashes, so avoid them altogether. Consider adding soy into your diet. Stack up on tofu, miso, and soy milk to prevent the symptom.

Another change that would be beneficial is to stop smoking. In the general sense, smoking is bad for your health, but it’s especially bad for your menopausal health, as it alters hormones and neurotransmitters that play a role on hot flashes.

It’s also worth trying stress-reducing techniques, like yoga and meditation, as the hormone cortisol, produced when you’re in tense situations, make you more vulnerable to hot flashes.

Hot flashes are a normal part of hitting menopause. It doesn’t have to be hellish, literally and figuratively. With adjustments in your room temperature and your lifestyle, you can make menopause cooler than ever.

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