Yes, hot flashes are a common symptom, but not every woman will experience them, and those who do will experience them in varying degrees. For some, hot flashes are just a small inconvenience. Unfortunately, for others, they can disrupt everyday life.
Most experts attribute hot flashes to the decrease in estrogen production. However, low estrogen alone doesn't cause hot flashes. Women of all ages may experience low estrogen levels, without having hot flashes. So, it's believed that hot flashes occur when there's a decrease in estrogen at the time leading up to menopause.
Some believe that as estrogen declines, the hypothalamus, the part of your brain which regulates temperature, detects too much body heat. As a result, the brain releases hormones to try and lower your body temperature. When your body is hot, your heart rate rises, and blood vessels dilate to allow more blood flow as an effort to dissipate the heat. Increased blood flow causes the body to employ its natural cooling method, sweat. This reaction is normal and expected during extreme summer heat, exercise or when you're sitting in a sauna, but it when it strikes for no apparent reason, it can be inconvenient, frustrating and entirely unpleasant.
A hot flash feels like an intense internal heat. They can arise suddenly, or you may feel them coming on gradually. Some women also experience the following sensations during a hot flash:
Many causes of hot flashes are outside of your control, however, certain triggers can make them more sever, and healthy lifestyle habits that can lessen your discomfort.
Opt for natural fabrics like cotton, linen, silk and cashmere. They absorb moisture from the skin and help air to circulate better around the body.
If you’re struggling with a new tummy shape, choose flowy, looser tops or dresses. They help to keep you cooler than tighter fitting clothes and hopefully, you'll feel more comfortable wearing them.
Avoid items that could make your skin even hotter like clunky necklaces. Instead, choose a statement earring, stylish belt, or a bag that adds a pop of colour to your outfit.
It's still the most important thing you can wear. Choose clothes that make you feel your best. The more relaxed you are, the easier it is to enjoy your life, and keep hot flash anxiety at bay.