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15Jun

Are you experiencing hot flushes? If so, then you could be experiencing some health problems.

Hot flushes are something women expect to experience at some point in their lives, usually heralding menopause – but it’s not always menopause that causes them.

What Is A Hot Flush?

Firstly what exactly is a hot flush?

Usually it’s a sudden warm feeling that starts in the face or chest and radiates out to the rest of the body. Your skin may redden, your heart may pound and you may sweat or feel anxious. Severity varies between women, they can happen day or night, and last from a few minutes to half an hour. They can be hard to cope with particularly in social or work situations.

 

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Here are a few of the main causes of hot flushes.

Menopause

Let’s start with the one we’ve all heard about. Menopause does cause hot flushes in some women, but not all.

Menopause is when a woman stops producing the hormone oestrogen. Periods begin to cease, although in some women they can worsen first. Menopause is natural and to be expected but that doesn’t make managing the symptoms any easier.

It usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55. The UK’s average age is 51 but about 1 in 100 women have the menopause before the age of 40. Some women choose to take hormone replacement therapy to lessen the symptoms associated with the menopause such as, hot flushes, night sweats, anxiety and irritability amongst others.

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Heart Disease

Hot flushes can be a symptom of heart disease, especially if you have already started the menopause with no hot flushes or sweats.

A study shows that menopausal women experiencing a lot of hot flushes may be facing the early stage of heart disease. It compared thickness of arteries with frequency of hot flushes and found those who had up to 12 hot flushes a day had thicker arteries than women having up to four flushes a day.

Researchers say that ‘super-flashers’ need to pay close attention to their cardiovascular health and get screened for heart disease.

Medications

Hot flushes can be a side effect of some medications. Check the side effect information of your meds and see if it’s listed. Some depression meds can cause hot flushes as can Tamoxifen for breast cancer.

Infections

Some minor illnesses can make you feel hot including a cold! Urinary tract infections or a stomach upset can increase your temperature too. These are not true hot flushes but your body’s reaction to kill the bugs. If they persist seek some treatment.

Osteoporosis

Post-menopausal women are at a greater risk of osteoporosis because their bodies speed up the process of bone loss before new tissue is replaced.

Women who have hot flushes and night sweats during their menopause may have lower bone density and a higher hip fracture rate according to a study in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. They also found that women with severe menopausal symptoms had lower bone mass at the neck and spine than women with no symptoms.

Thyroid

Hot flushes and sweats can be a symptom of an over-active thyroid. Other symptoms are anxiety, unexplained weight loss, diarrhoea, muscle weakness and light periods. In the UK thyroid disorders affect 1 in 20 people.

Hyperthyroidism is when there are too many thyroid hormones as opposed to hypothyroidism where there are not enough. Hot flushes can also be caused by thyroid cancer.

Cancer

Hot flashes can happen to men and women with cancer particularly if the cancer affects a hormone-producing organ. Cancer Research UK says that 7 out of 10 women who’ve had breast cancer have hot flushes because breast cancer treatment may reduce sex hormone production.

What are the remedies?

Hot flushes indicate your body is doing something out of the ordinary – it’s important to get a check-up if you experience hot flushes or night sweats.

There are some help remedies, which you can take to manage hot flushes:

  • Cut down on caffeine
  • Cut down on alcohol
  • Sip cool drinks
  • Spray your face with a mister
  • Wear layers of clothing so you can remove some as necessary. The same for bed sheets.
  • Wear natural fibres like cotton that breathe more easily.
  • Speak to a doctor about hormone replacement therapy if you are experiencing menopause. There are several medicines that can help control the symptoms.

Hot flashes are a good indication of your health status; it’s unwise to ignore them. If you’re suffering from hot flushes a check-up is important to rule out any underlying health issues.

Sources: 

http://www.everydayhealth.com/menopause/what-hot-flashes-can-tell-you-about-your-health.aspx
http://www.webmd.com/menopause/news/20151007/hot-flashes-menopause-heart-disease
http://www.healthline.com/health/menopause/hot-flash-causes#Overview1
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/12/141218131249.htm
http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Thyroid-over-active/Pages/Symptoms.aspx
http://www.btf-thyroid.org/
http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/coping-with-cancer/coping-physically/sex-hormone-symptoms-and-cancer/coping-with-sex-hormone-symptoms/hot-flushes-sweats
http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/menopause/Pages/hot-flushes.aspx

  

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