Everything you need to know about hot flashes in Perimenopause
Hot flashes (or hot flushes) are a common perimenopause/menopausal symptom that affects 75% of women. That's a lot! So if this is you you're so not alone.
If they occur during the night they're called Night Sweats. Night sweats are a massive yucky pain also disturbing your sleep - boo! Read our post on getting better sleep during peri here and get the best possible zzzz’s every night.
I wanted to answer some of the most common questions we're asked about hot flashes.
Right, let's go…
What causes hot flashes in perimenopause?
Hot flashes happen during perimenopause and menopause because of changing estrogen levels. The only other time they might happen is because of certain types of medication, cancers or thyroid issues.
So if you think you aren’t in peri, it’s always a good idea to get checked out by a medical professional.
Unsure if you're in peri or not, have a read of this to give you a steer in the right direction.
It's not known exactly how hormonal changes cause hot flashes (which we find mind-blowing!) even with women going through peri and menopause for centuries now.
Research suggests that hot flashes occur when fluctuating estrogen levels cause your body's thermostat (the hypothalamus) to become more sensitive to slight changes in body temperature. The range of temperatures that your body thinks is normal is narrowed. When the hypothalamus thinks your body is too warm, it starts a chain of events to cool you down which causes hot flashes.
It is believed that stress management is really important during perimenopause, as serotonin and adrenaline both neurotransmitters are affected by the dropping estrogen levels that narrow our temperature gauge. So the more stressed you are the more likely you are to have hot flashes.
It's worthy of note that hot flashes are more affected by the highs and lows of estrogen rather than consistently low estrogen. So they tend to be more of a symptom of the late perimenopausal years when estrogen is fluctuating wildly and the first year of menopause.
After that first year of menopause, your brain should settle down and recalibrate your temperature gauge. If this doesn't happen it can be because of insulin resistance or stress levels. That’s why it’s important to work on stress levels and reversing insulin resistance.
Also, if you are on estrogen you might experience hot flashes when you are coming off treatment.
What does a hot flash feel like during perimenopause?
Hot flashes in perimenopause can come on slowly and suddenly. You will feel an intense feeling of heat and maybe experience tingling, a red or flushed face, sweating, burning skin.
Some women might also experience stronger symptoms such as dizziness, chills, nausea, pressure in the head and heart palpitations.
How long do hot flashes last?
The average hot flash can last four minutes but they can be anywhere from seconds to 10 minutes.
How often do hot flashes occur in perimenopause?
They can happen every few days but can also happen up to several in an hour.
Are hot flashes normal during perimenopause?
YES, 75% of woman will experience hot flashes during perimenopause and menopause (lucky us. Boo!).
Diet/Lifestyle/Supplement tips to reduce hot flashes
With perimenopause, it can feel as though our bodies are out of control and just doing their own thing but there are things you can do that will reduce the severity if peri symptoms like hot flashes.
Try the following to get rid of hot flashes:
- Focus on activities that soothe your nervous system - yoga, meditation,
- Take Magnesium Glycinate (you'll find this in our Peri Chai Latte)
- Reduce or no alcohol
- Daily movement
- If you have insulin resistance, reverse it through diet.
- Identify your food and drink triggers - keep an eye on things like alcohol, sugar, spicy foods.
- Start a symptom diary and when you have a hot flash each time note what you were doing/eating/drinking before they happened.
Magnesium Glycinate and taurine are very helpful in treating hot flashes and might be all you need to make a big difference to your experience of hot flashes.
Hormone therapy - Estrogen therapy is helpful for hot flashes. Please refer to your GP to discuss.
As always I hope this post has sparked some ideas on how to reduce/stop your hot flashes.
We always love to hear if you've found ways that work for you so please do share in the comments below.
Got questions? We're here for it! Comment below and we'll do our very best to answer.
Looking for support as you go through peri? Join the SheBANG! PeriSisterhood here.