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Hot Flashes in Women




By. Dr. Vishalakshmi Batchu, M.D.

Board Certified Internal Medicine

Menopause
Menopause is a natural phenomenon that occurs in every women’s life. It is defined as cessation of menses for 12 consecutive months happening naturally and not due to any other pathological condition. Estrogen levels drop markedly causing several physiologic (natural) changes in the body during transition and after obtaining menopause

Hot Flashes
Hot flashes is the most common symptom of menopause in up to 80% of women, only 20 to 30% seek medical

attention. It is defined as sudden warm sensation on the face, neck/chest that becomes generalized and may be

associated with profuse sweating, palpitations, chills, shivering and a feeling of anxiety. It can last from 2 to 4

minutes.  They are bothersome, unpredictable and may even be disruptive. When they occur at night they are

called night sweats. Night sweats are more disabling.

Physiology
Occurs due to thermoregulatory dysfunction at the level of hypothalamus (inside the brain). Estrogen withdrawal in menopause causes this phenomenon. Blood vessels near skin surface dilate to cool and gives symptoms of warmth, perspiration, shivering and night sweats
 
Risk Factors
Poor Lifestyle Choices, Obesity, Smoking, Reduced Physical Activity, Ethnicity (more common among African decent)

Impact
Negative quality of life, increased cardiovascular risk, Osteoporosis (greater bone loss), sleep disturbances, dementia.

Treatment
Avoiding triggers like spicy foods, stress, Anxiety, alcohol, consuming high quantities of processed foods/sugars,

smoking.
Obese individuals have more estrogen which is not being utilized. Weight loss helps.
Hormonal, high dose progesterone preparations and non-hormonal therapies are available.

It is required to consult your Primary Care Physician /Gynecologist for these prescriptions as

they are given based on individual medical history
Alternative Therapies include consuming Phytoestrogens (Plant Estrogen), Soybeans, chickpeas,

lentils, flax seed, grains, fruits, vegetables, black cohosh.
Diet, physical activity, yoga – specifically pranayama (deep breathing), meditation. 
 

Dr. VISHALAKSHMI BATCHU , MD
Internal Medicine