Menopause and Hot Flashes and Cold Flashes
Hot flashes are temporary sensations of overwhelming heat. They are often accompanied by flushing and sweating. Some women also experience chills or a rapid heart rate along with the sweating, flushing and sensations of heat. A hot flash that is accompanied by redness in the face and neck may be called a hot flush while a hot flash that occurs at night and is accompanied by profuse sweating is often called a night sweat.
Hot flashes, hot flushes and night sweats are common symptoms of menopause, and while the exact cause is unknown, it is believed to be linked to complex interactions between the hypothalamus, the circulatory system and hormonal fluctuations. Severity of these symptoms can vary. Some women may experience symptoms only during perimenopause, or the period right before menopause, while others may have them their entire lives.
Cold flashes, or chills, may occur in addition to hot flushes or flashes. Hormone fluctuations throw the brain’s ability to regulate body temperature off balance, and your body temperature raises suddenly, which causes a sudden, intense cold sensation. You will begin shivering until your body temperature adjusts to the new set point.
Identifying triggers can often help reduce the severity or frequency of your menopause symptoms. Caffeine, spicy foods, alcohol, stress, smoking, excess heat and tight clothing may all trigger a hot flash. Wear loose clothing made of natural fibers, use a fan, and exercise regularly. If you suffer from cold flashes, wear layered clothing, move around frequently to increase circulation, eat a well-balanced diet and stay hydrated.
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