Hot flashes

Are hot flashes normal?

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.


What is a hot flash?

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.

What does it feel like?

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:

Tingling fingers

An increased heart rate

A rise in the temperature of their skin

Flushed, red face and neck

Sweating, especially around the trunk of their body

Hot Flash Triggers

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Spicy foods
  • Fatty meats
  • Caffeinated beverages
  • Excessive stress
  • Smoking
  • Inactivity
  • Obesity
  • Exposure to heathot showers, baths or saunas

Dressing for hot flashes

Layers are your best friend

Natural fabrics like cotton, linen, silk and cashmere absorb moisture from the skin and allow air to circulate around your body.

Try and loosen up

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.


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.

Accessorize wisely

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.