Hot Flushes

Hot flushes or hot flashes?

They're the same thing, and are the most common symptom of menopause.

hot-flush

What are hot flushes?

A hot flush, or hot flash as it sometimes called, is a quick and unexpected onset of body heat usually accompanied by redness in the face and neck, and sweating.

Because they come on suddenly they can feel quite distressing and embarrassing especially when in the company of strangers.

What causes hot flushes?

During menopause estrogen levels fluctuate, causing a part of the brain that regulates body temperature to become confused.

Like a faulty thermostat it responds to these fluctuations as if it is sensing an increase in body temperature.

In an attempt to cool you down the brain sparks your blood vessels to dilate, creating the hot flush, then triggering sweat glands to produce sudden perspiration.

Estrogen has a lot to answer for!

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Post-menopause


This is the time when menstruation is well and truly over, the ovaries have stopped producing high levels of sex hormones and for many ladies, perimenopause symptoms subside.

Estrogen has protective qualities and the diminished levels mean organs such as your brain, heart and bones become more vulnerable. It’s also a key lubricant so your lips may become drier, your joints less supple and your vagina might be drier. In addition, your thyroid, digestion, insulin, cortisol and weight may alter.

At this juncture, a woman might experience an increase in the signs of reduced estrogen but she should have a decrease of perimenopause symptoms. That said, some women will experience symptoms like hot flushes for years or even the rest of their lives.

Perimenopause

Peri = ‘near’

Most females begin to experience the symptoms of perimenopause in their mid-forties. Your progesterone levels decline from your mid-30s but it’s generally from around 40 that the rest of your sex hormones begin to follow suit. 

Perimenopause is a different experience for every woman and some women may barely notice it. The first indicators are usually changes to the monthly cycle. This means that for some ladies, this can be accompanied by things like sore breasts, mood swings, weight gain around the belly, and fatigue as time goes on.

For those with symptoms it can be a challenging time physically, mentally and emotionally.

Importantly, perimenopause lasts – on average – four to 10 years. The transition is usually a gradual process and many women enter perimenopause without realising.