Hot flashes are one of the most well-known, hated and feared symptoms of menopause .
Often their appearance is taken as a worrying sign of the passing of time, to the point of becoming synonymous with the imminent loss of fertility .
This kind of disorder affects 70% of women on average and, again in general, begins to appear around the age of 47-48 , together with the first, important, changes in the cycle.
From now on, hot flashes will accompany the woman’s life for at least three or four years.
This obviously does not mean that the phenomenon can occur even before this age, already between the third and fourth decades of life.
In particular, the hot flashes generally become more intense and annoying when the dreaded moment arrives prematurely (in this case we speak of premature menopause , or early menopause , which can be natural or a direct consequence of the surgical removal of the ovaries or a anticancer).
Hot Flashes In Menopause: Why Do They Come?
A typical climacteric disorder, hot flashes are caused by irregular estrogen levels and reach their peak in the months following the last menstrual cycle , only to gradually subside after one or two years.
Even the intensity and frequency of hot flashes, similarly to the date on which they occur, are not immune to a certain individual variability. Thus, some women can enter menopause peacefully without experiencing any sign of the disorder, while in other cases hot flashes can become an uncomfortable life companion even for several years after the last menstruation .
Intense and frequent hot flushes have been linked to an increased incidence of mood disorders in menopause, such as anxiety and depression , loss of sexual desire , sleep disturbances and cognitive disturbances (easy loss of concentration and/or memory). .
Hot Flashes In Menopause: How Do They Manifest Themselves?
When describing the symptoms associated with hot flashes, women are used to using various and colorful expressions.
They are often described as a sensation of heat that rises from the chest to the face and neck ; the result is profuse sweating which disappears after a while giving way to shivering .
During a flush, the skin temperature rises considerably, going from the usual 28-30 to 34-35 degrees Celsius within a few minutes.
Treatments And Useful Advice
Treatments, Remedies And Advice For Hot Flashes In Menopause
Various precautions can be taken against hot flashes and sweating ; useful, for example, a clothing consisting of several layers of thin and breathable clothing , as well as a temporary departure from one’s diet of spicy foods , spices and hot drinks , such as tea and coffee.
The same care and attention must be paid to the choice of sheets , strictly in cotton, and duvets , preferably surrounded by a fresh and ventilated environment: this will prevent hot flashes from interrupting your night’s sleep , bringing tiredness and fatigue upon awakening.
Always in the food field, fresh foods , such as vegetables , should be preferred, while it is advisable to stay away from alcohol and too fatty foods , especially in summer or in the evening (if hot flashes usually occur during night rest). Obviously, these dietary precautions must be respected more strictly the greater the severity of the disorder.
Among the foods useful in the presence of hot flashes, the universally recommended soy stands out which, thanks to its isoflavones (substances of natural origin with similar estrogenic activity), is often proposed by wellness experts ; the same goes for the red clover and its extracts .
It should be noted, however, that the favorable action of isoflavones on hot flashes has been considerably reduced in recent years.
Regular physical exercise increases the body’s thermoregulatory capacity; for this reason women who constantly perform a certain motor activity experience less intense and frequent hot flashes than more sedentary women.
A well-trained body also improves mood , promotes weight loss and helps maintain an ideal body mass index , which has also proved useful in preventing the intensity and frequency of hot flashes (which are in fact more burdensome in obese women ). On the other hand, the insulating effect of adipose tissue is well known , which tends to oppose heat loss .
A cool environment or a simple fan can be a regenerating relief in case of hot flashes.
Women smokers should know that among the innumerable disadvantages of smoking there is also its aggravating effect on the severity of unwanted heat waves (in addition to promoting the onset of an early menopause, smoking also increases the osteoporotic and cardiovascular risk).
Finally, self-control is of fundamental importance at the first omens of a flash ; a few deep and slowed breaths help relaxation and help to dampen the symptoms.
Only when the hot flashes are particularly severe and frequent, gynecologists usually recommend, after a careful clinical evaluation to examine the risks and benefits, a hormone replacement therapy based on estrogens , possibly associated with progestogens .