“More than 57% of women experience hot flushes and night sweats during menopause. They generally start in your chest area and spread to your upper chest, neck and face”.1

Umbrella
What may the Hot Flushes Umbrella include?

Depending on the Source (DotS) this Umbrella may include:

  • Hot Flash
  • Hot Flashes
  • Hot Flush (HF)
  • Hot Flushes
  • Menopausal/Menopause Hot Flashes/Hot Flushes
  • Menopause-Related Hot Flashes/Hot Flushes
  • Vasomotor Symptoms
  • “Power Surges”

Vasomotor Symptoms

What are vasomotor symptoms (VMS)?

DotS the definition of vasomotor symptoms may vary. The North American Menopause Society’s (NAMS) definition is:

Vasomotor symptoms. Also known as hot flashes and night sweats, common symptoms during perimenopause and early postmenopause”.2

Hot Flush

What is a hot flush?

DotS the definition of a hot flush may vary. In Symptoms of Menopause: Hot Flushes and Night Sweats the (Australian) Jean Hailes for Women’s Health (JH) definition is:

“More than 57% of women experience hot flushes and night sweats during menopause. They generally start in your chest area and spread to your upper chest, neck and face. They can also spread over your whole body. The flushes may feel like a burning, overheating sensation. You may also have reddening of the skin and different degrees of sweating. When a flush happens at night, it’s called a night sweat”.3

Hot Flash

What is a hot flash?

DotS the definition of a hot flash may vary. In Hot Flashes: Symptoms & Causes – Overview the (United States) Mayo Clinic’s definition is:

Hot Flushes

“A hot flash is the sudden feeling of warmth in the upper body, which is usually most intense over the face, neck and chest. Your skin might redden, as if you’re blushing. A hot flash can also cause sweating. If you lose too much body heat, you might feel chilled afterward”.4

Night Sweats

What are night sweats?

DotS the definition of night sweats may vary. In Hot Flashes: Symptoms & Causes – Overview the Mayo Clinic’s definition is:

“Night sweats are hot flashes that happen at night, and they may disrupt your sleep”.5

The NAMS’ definition is:

“Hot flashes often occur during sleep, producing intense perspiration known as night sweats”.6

Cause

What is the cause of hot flushes?

In Menopause FAQs: Hot Flashes – Q. What Are Hot Flashes? What Causes Them To Happen? according to the NAMS:

“Although their exact cause still isn’t fully understood, hot flashes are thought to be the result of changes in the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that regulates the body’s temperature. If the hypothalamus senses that a woman is too warm, it starts a chain of events to cool her down. Blood vessels near the surface of the skin begin to dilate (enlarge), increasing blood flow to the surface in an attempt to dissipate body heat. This produces a red, flushed look to the face and neck in light-skinned women. It may also make a woman perspire to cool the body down. Women may sense their hearts beating faster. A cold chill often follows a hot flash. A few women experience only the chill”.7

In Symptoms of Menopause: Hot Flushes and Night Sweats the JH note:

“We don’t know exactly what causes hot flushes. Lower oestrogen levels may affect parts of the brain that regulate your body temperature. Many studies suggest that stress and anxiety can influence the frequency and intensity of hot flushes. Some foods or alcohol can also have an impact”.8

Other Causes: Other Conditions

Apart from menopause, what are other causes of hot flushes?

In NonHormonal Treatments for Menopausal Symptoms: Hot Flashes and Night Sweats (Vasomotor Symptoms) the Australasian Menopause Society (AMS) explain causes can include:

  • Other conditions. Not all hot flushes are due to menopause. Other associated conditions include thyroid disease, diabetes, hyperhidrosis (a condition of excessive sweating which affects 1% of people), anxiety and panic disorders, obesity, hormonally active tumors, chronic infections and neurological disorders”.9

Other Causes: Medications

What medications can cause hot flushes?

According to the AMS:

  • “Medications. Some medicines can cause hot flushes or make them worse. These include anti-oestrogens: tamoxifen , aromatase inhibitors, toremifene , raloxifene and clomiphene and the gonadotrophin-releasing hormone analogues i.e. goserelin, leuprorelin and nafarelin1. Some non-hormonal treatments for hot flushes, such as venlafaxine, can also cause hot flushes at higher doses”.10

Common or Not

How common are hot flushes?

In the United States, according to the NAMS:

“Hot flashes are reported by as many as 75% of perimenopausal women in the United States”.11

Impact

What impact may hot flushes have?

In Hot Flashes: Symptoms & Causes – Complications the Mayo Clinic note:

“Hot flashes may impact your daily activities and quality of life. Nighttime hot flashes (night sweats) can wake you from sleep and, over time, can cause long-term sleep disruptions”.12

Heart Disease and Bone Loss

Is there an association between hot flushes, risk of heart disease and greater bone loss?

In Hot Flashes: Symptoms & Causes – Complications the Mayo Clinic also note:

“Research suggests that women who have hot flashes may have an increased risk of heart disease and greater bone loss than women who do not have hot flashes”.13

Lifestyle Changes

What are some lifestyle changes to improve hot flushes?

In Hot Flashes: What Can I Do? Lifestyle Changes To Improve Hot Flashes the (United States) National Institute on Aging elaborate on:

  • “Dress in layers that can be removed at the start of a hot flash
  • Carry a portable fan to use when a hot flash strikes
  • Avoid alcohol, spicy foods, and caffeine. These can make menopausal symptoms worse
  • If you smoke, try to quit, not only for hot flashes, but for your overall health
  • Try to maintain a healthy weight. Women who are overweight or obese may experience more frequent and severe hot flashes
  • Explore mind-body practices. Some early-stage research has shown that hypnotherapy and mindfulness meditation could help with management of hot flashes”.14

Most Effective Treatment

Is menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) one of the most effective treatment for hot flushes?

On page one in Deciding About Hormone Therapy Use, published July 2022, which “simplifies the data in the new NAMS Position Statement for women trying to make decisions about using hormone therapy” the NAMS note:

“Hormone therapy is one of the most effective treatments available for bothersome hot flashes and night sweats”.15

In Hot Flashes: Diagnosis & Treatment – Treatment the Mayo Clinic elaborate on:

“The most effective way to relieve the discomfort of hot flashes is to take estrogen, but taking this hormone carries risks. If estrogen is appropriate for you and you start it within 10 years of your last menstrual period or before age 60, the benefits can be greater than the risks.

Medications such as antidepressants and anti-seizure drugs also might help reduce hot flashes, although they’re less effective than hormones”.16

Alternative Therapies

Do alternative therapies improve hot flushes?

In the Joint Position Statement By the British Menopause Society, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Society for Endocrinology on Best Practice Recommendations for the Care of Women Experiencing the Menopause, published online 10 June 2022, Hamoda et al note:

“Alternative therapies, including cognitive behavioural therapy, may also improve hot flushes, nights sweats and other menopausal symptoms and can be considered in women who do not wish to take HRT or have contraindications to taking HRT”.17

Stop

When do hot flushes stop?

In Menopause FAQs: Hot Flashes – Q. How long will I have hot flashes? the NAMS explain:

“A. Most women experience hot flashes for 6 months to 2 years, although some reports suggest that they last considerably longer—as long as 10 years, depending on when they began. For a small proportion of women, they may never go away. It is not uncommon for women to experience a recurrence of hot flashes more than 10 years after menopause, even into their 70s or beyond. There is no reliable way of predicting when they will start—or stop”.18

Health Care Provider

What if I would like help with my hot flushes?

If you would like help with your hot flushes, it may be in your best interest to choose to talk to your health care provider about this.

In Hot Flashes: Diagnosis & Treatment – Treatment the Mayo Clinic elaborate on:

“Discuss the pros and cons of various treatments with your doctor. If hot flashes don’t interfere with your life, you probably don’t need treatment. Hot flashes subside gradually for most women, even without treatment, but it can take several years for them to stop”.19

In 4 Things To Know About Menopausal Symptoms and Complementary Health Practices. 4 the (United States) National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health remind us:

“Tell all your health care providers about any complementary health practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care”.20

Health Topics A-Z

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Links

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Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted?

You may find the Sources quoted at:

Sources

  1. Symptoms of Menopause: Hot Flushes and Night Sweats. Last Updated: 12 September 2022 | Last Reviewed: 19 August 2022. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/menopause-symptoms/ Accessed: 23 November 2022
  2. Glossary: V – Vasomotor Symptoms. North American Menopause Society http://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-glossary#V Accessed: 23 November 2022
  3. Symptoms of Menopause: Hot Flushes and Night Sweats. Last Updated: 12 September 2022 | Last Reviewed: 19 August 2022. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/menopause-symptoms/ Accessed: 23 November 2022
  4. Hot Flashes: Symptoms & Causes – Overview. 20 May 2022. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hot-flashes/symptoms-causes/syc-20352790 Accessed: 23 November 2022
  5. Hot Flashes: Symptoms & Causes – Overview. 20 May 2022. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hot-flashes/symptoms-causes/syc-20352790 Accessed: 23 November 2022
  6. Hot Flashes. North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/sexual-health-menopause-online/causes-of-sexual-problems/hot-flashes Accessed: 23 November 2022
  7. Menopause FAQs: Hot Flashes – Q. What Are Hot Flashes? What Causes Them To Happen? North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-faqs-hot-flashes Accessed: 23 November 2022
  8. Symptoms of Menopause: Hot Flushes and Night Sweats. Last Updated: 12 September 2022 | Last Reviewed: 19 August 2022. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/menopause-symptoms/ Accessed: 23 November 2022
  9. NonHormonal Treatments for Menopausal Symptoms: Hot Flashes and Night Sweats (Vasomotor Symptoms). Content Updated September 2018. Australasian Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org.au/hp/information-sheets/600-nonhormonal-treatments-for-menopausal-symptoms Accessed: 23 November 2022
  10. NonHormonal Treatments for Menopausal Symptoms: Hot Flashes and Night Sweats (Vasomotor Symptoms). Content Updated September 2018. Australasian Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org.au/hp/information-sheets/600-nonhormonal-treatments-for-menopausal-symptoms Accessed: 23 November 2022
  11. Hot Flashes. North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/sexual-health-menopause-online/causes-of-sexual-problems/hot-flashes Accessed: 23 November 2022
  12. Hot Flashes: Symptoms & Causes – Complications. 20 May 2022. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hot-flashes/symptoms-causes/syc-20352790 Accessed: 23 November 2022
  13. Hot Flashes: Symptoms & Causes – Complications. 20 May 2022. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hot-flashes/symptoms-causes/syc-20352790 Accessed: 23 November 2022
  14. Hot Flashes: What Can I Do? Lifestyle Changes To Improve Hot Flashes. Content Reviewed: 30 September 2021. National Institute on Aging https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/hot-flashes-what-can-i-do Accessed: 23 November 2022
  15. Deciding About Hormone Therapy. 2022:1. North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/docs/default-source/professional/menonote-deciding-about-ht-2022.pdf Accessed: 23 November 2022
  16. Hot Flashes: Diagnosis & Treatment – Treatment. 20 May 2022. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hot-flashes/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20352795 Accessed: 23 November 2022
  17. Hamoda, H., Mukherjee, A., Morris, E., Baldeweg, S. E., Jayasena, C. N., Briggs, P., Moger, S. Joint Position Statement By the British Menopause Society, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Society for Endocrinology on Best Practice Recommendations for the Care of Women Experiencing the Menopause. First Published Online 10 June 2022:3-4. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/20533691221104879 Accessed: 23 November 2022
  18. Menopause FAQs: Hot Flashes – Q. How long will I have hot flashes? North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-faqs-hot-flashes Accessed: 23 November 2022
  19. Hot Flashes: Diagnosis & Treatment – Treatment. 20 May 2022. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hot-flashes/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20352795 Accessed: 23 November 2022
  20. 4 Things To Know About Menopausal Symptoms and Complementary Health Practices. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/tips/things-to-know-about-menopausal-symptoms-and-complementary-health-practices Accessed: 23 November 2022
Topic Last Updated: 23 November 2022 – Topic Last Reviewed: 23 November 2022

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