Hot Flushes

What are Hot Flushes?

Hot flushes (also known as hot flashes) are sudden feelings of warmth in the face, chest, or other areas of the body, which are usually accompanied by sweating, a racing heartbeat, and sometimes red blotchy skin on the face as well. They can last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes, and usually occur at least once a day for long periods of time.

Hot flushes are a symptom of menopause in women, and are also seen in people dealing with certain types of cancer, taking certain medications, and in those dealing with hormone imbalances.

What Causes Hot Flushes?

Hot flushes are most commonly caused by hormonal changes during menopause. When the body's levels of estrogen drop, it can cause an abrupt jump in core body temperature, resulting in a hot flush. Hormonal imbalances due to certain medications such as the chemotherapy drug tamoxifen can also cause hot flushes.

What Are the Symptoms of Hot Flushes?

Common symptoms of hot flushes include:

  • A sudden, intense feeling of heat in the chest, face, and/or other areas of the body
  • Red blotchy skin on the face, chest, and/or other parts of the body
  • Sweating
  • A rapid and/or irregular heartbeat
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Headaches

Treatment Options for Hot Flushes

Treatment options for hot flushes may include:

  • Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) – this is a method of replacing hormones in the body to help reduce or eliminate the symptoms of hot flushes.
  • Antidepressants – some antidepressants may be prescribed to help reduce the symptoms of hot flushes.
  • Vitamins and Supplements – some vitamins and supplements such as Vitamin E, black cohosh, andSt. John’s wort may help reduce the severity and frequency of hot flushes.
  • Herbal Remedies – herbs such as ashwagandha, red clover, and sage have been used in traditional medicine to help reduce hot flushes.
  • Lifestyle Changes – making changes such as eating a healthy, balanced diet, avoiding certain triggers (such as alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods), and reducing stress can help reduce the symptoms of hot flushes.