What Is a Hot Flash?
A hot flash, sometimes called a hot flush, is a quick feeling of heat and sometimes a red, flushed face and sweating. The exact cause of hot flashes is not known, but may be related to changes in circulation.
Hot flashes happen when the blood vessels near the skin's surface dilate to cool. A woman may also sweat to cool down her body. And some women have a rapid heart rate or chills.
Hot flashes with sweating can also happen at night. These are called night sweats and may make it harder to sleep.
A hot flush is a hot flash plus redness in the face and neck.
Hot flashes are one of the things women hear the most about when it comes to perimenopause and menopause - being a significant symptom of both.
How Long Will I Have Hot Flashes?
Hot flashes vary among women going through menopause. Some women have hot flashes for a very short time during menopause. Other women may have hot flashes for life. Generally, hot flashes are less severe as time passes.
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Can I Prevent Hot Flashes?
You probably can't avoid hot flashes during menopause, but there are things that may bring them on more often or cause them to be more severe. To prevent hot flashes, avoid these triggers:
Other things you can do to keep hot flashes at bay include:
- Stay cool. Keep your bedroom cool at night. Use fans during the day. Wear light layers of clothes with natural fibers such as cotton.
- Try deep, slow abdominal breathing (six to eight breaths per minute). Practice deep breathing for 15 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes in the evening and at the onset of hot flashes.
- Exercise daily. Walking, swimming, dancing, and bicycling are all good choices.
- Try chill pillows. Cooler pillows to lay your head on at night might be helpful.