Hot flushes are probably one of the most talked about and most common symptoms of menopause. If you’ve never had a hot flush, it’s quite difficult to explain just how dilapidating they can be to one’s life. However, if you’re reading this, it’s likely you know exactly what it’s like to experience them on a regular basis.
What is a Hot Flush?
Hot flushes strike when you least expect them and usually when they are least welcome. Some women have reported having up to 40 hot flushes a day during menopause; this type of suffering is a more extreme case, but whether it’s 5 or 40 a day, they have a huge impact on daily life. Not all women will have hot flushes, but it’s typically 3 in 4 that will experience them during menopause and even in the years following menopause.
During a hot flush the blood vessels at the surface of the skin dilate, this helps the body to cool down, this is also why you sweat during a hot flush; to cool down quicker. Most commonly it’s your upper body, around your face and neck that will get hot and red. However, some women’s hot flushes effect the whole body.
Women have likened a hot flush to ‘being on fire’, or ‘feeling like a furnace’. Not only this, but they can be extremely embarrassing when they occur in public. One thing’s for sure, no-one enjoys them and everyone wants to get rid of them!
Why Does it Happen?
Usually hot flushes come out of nowhere, although some women will have ‘triggers’ that often bring on the onset of a hot flush. These are typically things like stress, eating spicy foods, drinking caffeine, wearing thick clothing, drinking alcohol or smoking. Avoiding your triggers will help avoid unnecessary flushes. However, more often than not a hot flush will occur for no particular reason.
The scientific reason as to why we must suffer through these awful episodes, is due to the reduction of progesterone and oestrogen. Without this hormone, or with reduced levels of it, an imbalance is caused to the ANS (autonomic nervous system), part of this controls body temperature. An imbalance in the ANS stops our body functioning in the same way, and as a result we suffer from a range of different menopause symptoms. Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy can also cause a reduction in oestrogen, this is why sometimes people receiving cancer treatments also experience hot flushes.
How to Reduce Hot Flushes
We have various recommendations for reducing hot flushes. The first one is to drink plenty of water, at least 8 glasses a day which can reduce the onset of hot flushes. Eating the right foods can also help with a number of menopause symptoms, we’ve made some helpful suggestions in a previous blog post. Our number one top tip to reduce hot flushes as well as up 23 other menopause symptoms, is to use the LadyCare device. It’s a small discreet device that clips on to your underwear and works by rebalancing your ANS (autonomic nervous system). Find out how it works here.