Hot flashes are one of the most definitive symptoms of menopause; however hot flashes causes are not something that is fully understood yet. The main cause for hot flashes is thought to be declining levels of estrogen in the body which causes disturbances in the way that body temperature is regulated (thermoregulation).
It is the hormonal changes that occur during menopause as well as its precursor Perimenopause, that are the hot flashes causes and which cause that sudden and uncontrollable rise of heat in the body causing flushing, sweating, and discomfort ranging from the mild to the acute.
The lowering levels of estrogen have an impact upon the hypothalamus in the brain, which is the part that controls the body’s thermostat.
Some experts theorize that what happens is this – the lower levels of estrogen sends confusing signals to the hypothalamus telling (erroneously as it happens) that it is too hot.
The body responds by trying to cool down in a hurry – the pumps faster (resulting in the elevated pulse), the blood vessels dilate and cause more blood to rush to the surface of the skin (causing the flushing or reddening) and the sweat glands pump out sweat to cool down the body (the sweating that could range from profuse to light).
These body responses are normally triggered in hot weather to help the body remain cool and prevent overheating, but when a woman undergoes menopause this is the body’s mistaken response that are hot flashes causes.
An estimated 85% women have hot flashes to some degree or the other, in the first two years after their periods stop. Nearly half of all menopausal women are estimated to have them for several years thereafter, however the intensity of the hot flashes decreases as time goes by. For about 10% women, the hot flashes can be so severe that they need medical intervention to help control them.
There are other hot flashes causes; beside the hormonal changes, which can worsen the symptoms for some women, certain lifestyle factors can impact how severe or light a woman’s hot flashes are. For instance women who smoke are known to experience more severe hot flashes than non smokers.
Also women are heavier or more muscular, may experience less severe hot flashes, because of the way that androstenedione from the adrenal glands is turned in estrone by muscle and fat cells.
It can help to know about hot flashes causes and arm oneself with the proper information regarding their triggers and so on. Several situations tend to trigger a hot flash – for instance many women report that being in stressful situations seems to bring on a hot flash. So indentifying and controlling hot flash triggers can help greatly in managing them.
Other hot flash causes or rather triggers could be certain kinds of foods (hot and spicy), caffeine, alcohol saunas or hot tubs/beds/showers, which should be indentified and then avoided so far as possible; in order to control their occurrence and intensity.