It often comes out of nowhere. You begin to feel the heat rising from your neck, sweat beads forming on your forehead. Maybe night sweats jolt you from your sleep. It is yet another sign of times, your body signaling its evolution into midlife. Hot flashes, or hot flushes depending what part of the globe you're in, are often regarded as one of the most common symptoms of menopause. Up to 80% of people on their menopause journey experience them, yet they feel a bit different for each person. While there are remedies created to help you weather your body’s heat wave, it is equally important to debunk the myth and remove the mystery around this natural side effect. Before rushing to your women's health specialist or gynecologist and get to know a bit more about this common symptom of menopause.
What Happens During A Hot Flash?
Let's dig into some women's health education. A hot flash feels like a burst of heat moving throughout your upper body, often beginning with a flash of warmth through your chest and spreading up towards your face. You may notice that you take on a flushed look with red, blotchy skin. Sometimes your heart rate will begin to speed up and it is likely you’ll start sweating. Since your body temperature has raised rather quickly, you may experience a “cold front” afterwards, where you feel chilled as the hot flash lets up. Other symptoms include a rapid heartbeat, dizziness, and a headache.
Hot flashes can be a unique experience - how often they occur is dependent on the person. Furthermore, the intensity of the hot flash is also unique to each individual. Some may have such mild hot flashes, it feels like nothing more than a quick burst of hot energy. Others may have such intense hot flashes that they disrupt daily activities. They can happen at any time of the day or the night. Hot flashes happening in the night are often referred to as night sweats and they can become so bothersome that they induce insomnia symptoms, waking you from sleep and causing sleep disturbances. The majority of those who report having hot flashes end up experiencing them daily.
When Do Hot Flashes Start?
They start during perimenopause (also known as the pre-menopause years) and persist throughout menopause. Perimenopause typically starts around age 40, though some may enter perimenopause in their late 30s. Ages 46 to 53 are the average ages for menopause in the United States. Just as a quick refresher, menopause is marked when you experience 12 months without a period. Hot flashes tend to hit their peak in frequency after two years of menopause. Once you hit your late 50s, hot flashes will continue to persist but will usually decrease in frequency and severity. Hot flashes continue for anywhere from four to 10 years post-menopause.
What Causes Hot Flashes?
The exact scientific causes of hot flashes are still unknown, but scientists generally agree that changes in the brain’s thermoregulatory center trigger these pesky heat waves. The thermoregulatory center is influenced by your hormones and basically functions as your body’s internal thermostat, controlling both heat production and heat loss. As you hit the perimenopause phase, your hormone levels begin to fluctuate with plenty of peaks and valleys. During these ups and downs, your progesterone and estrogen levels shift with wide variation. The shift in these levels triggers that internal thermostat. This is when your blood vessels closest to the surface of your skin will dilate to release heat and create that flushed and blotchy in your skin. Your heart will beat faster and your sweat glands open up in hopes of cooling down your body. Your body temperature may even rise a few degrees during the hot flash.
How Can I Find Relief?
Relief is within your reach! Let’s talk about what it takes to start feeling better. When it comes to these hormone-induced heat waves many women find it more effective to treat the symptoms, rather than treating the hormones. Since your hormones are constantly fluctuating, it can be more personally effective to address the hot flash or other experience with what works best for you. Besides, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) isn't an option for everyone. Keeping that in mind, we’ll run through some lifestyle changes and natural treatment options that may help.
Use A Science-Backed Cooling Mist For Immediate Relief
Cool Down Mist is formulated with ingredients shown to help reduce the intensity of hot flashes and night sweats, provide an immediate skin-cooling sensation, last at least 2 hours, and have a cooling effect 2-2.5x stronger than menthol! Cool Down Mist is gentle on skin with hydrating hero hylauronic acid and is fragrance-free for a discreet relieving experience. Take Cool Down Mist with you on the go for unpredictable moments or keep it by your nightstand for those middle-of-the-night night sweats.
Lifestyle Changes Can Help You Keep Your Cool
Lifestyle changes can be as simple as the clothes you wear. Layers are key here - you need to be able to strip down (so to speak) anytime, anywhere. While you’re at it, wear natural fibers like linen and cotton. These materials are breathable and far more comfortable than synthetic blends that can increase the heat and perspiration.
Take note of what you’re consuming daily and when your hot flashes are occurring. You may be eating food and drinking beverages that trigger the hot flash. Two common triggers you should watch out for? Caffeine and red wine! Spicy food and lounging in the sun on a hot day can be a culprit too.
Some prescription medications, particularly those that tackle medical conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, hyperthyroidism (aka overactive thyroid gland), and cholesterol, can cause hot flashes.
Try a Supplement for Hot Flash Support
Kindra’s Core Dietary Supplement is a MVP when it comes to science-backed relief. Core is powered with super antioxidant Pycnogenol® and potent adaptogen Ashwaganda and designed for peri/menopause and beyond. Try Kindra’s estrogen-free answer to brain fog, hot flashes, night sweats, and stress. Core is uniquely formulated with precise doses of Pycnogenol® and Ashwaganda to promote healthy circulation, skin suppleness, and mental clarity.
Give Acupuncture A Go
Acupuncture can be extremely effective in treating hot flashes. A study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) shows that the occurrence of hot flashes were slashed nearly in half for 50% of participants during the eight-week study.
Is It Time to See A Doctor?
Are you struggling to sleep because hot flashes jolt you from your sleep? Is it getting to the point where your daily activities are disrupted? If so, it is probably time to call a doctor. If not, consider exploring natural remedies first to support you during this transition, and of course if anything changes check in with your doctor
You’re never alone in this evolution. We’ve created a Facebook group for women experiencing menopause to connect with one another and provide support during this journey. Feel free to join us here. If you’re feeling like you need some further knowledge regarding the phase of your menopause evolution, take our quiz.