Hot flashes may be a common and normal symptom during the transition to menopause, but they can be uncomfortable and disruptive to your quality of life. There are a number of things you can do to manage your symptoms and maintain a healthy and active lifestyle as you go through this change.
Midwest Regional Health Services offers a range of women’s health, primary care, and family medicine services at our office in Omaha, Nebraska.
What happens in your body during a hot flash?
As you approach menopause (the end of the reproductive cycle, approximately a year after your last period), your body goes through a number of changes. As estrogen and progesterone levels drop, you may experience a number of symptoms like hot flashes.
As the name implies, hot flashes raise your body and skin temperature and are often accompanied by sweating. You may also experience heart palpitations and dizziness or lightheadedness during a hot flash.
A hot flash can happen at any time, but hot flashes at night (also known as night sweats) can disrupt your sleep and worsen other menopausal symptoms like mood changes, irritability, and fatigue.
The phase leading up to menopause is known as perimenopause. This is when you begin to experience menopausal symptoms like hot flashes. Perimenopause usually lasts for a few years, but the symptoms and duration vary from person to person. The average menopause age in the United States is 51, but everyone is different, so it can happen earlier or later for you.
Women who’ve had their ovaries surgically removed due to an illness or injury will immediately enter menopause, regardless of their age at the time of surgery.
If you’re experiencing hot flashes or other symptoms of menopause, contact us to schedule an appointment.
What you can do to prevent or manage hot flashes
Menopause is a normal part of the aging process. While there’s no “cure,” menopausal symptoms like hot flashes can usually be managed effectively with a combination of lifestyle modifications and medication like hormone replacement therapy.
The best prevention and treatment plan for you will depend on a few factors like the severity and duration of your symptoms, your overall health profile, and whether you have underlying health conditions as you approach menopause.
According to the National Institute on Aging, dietary factors like alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods can make some menopausal symptoms worse, so you should try to consume them in moderation. They also advise you to avoid tobacco and smoking for your overall health.
As with other aspects of your health, maintaining a healthy weight as you get older can help to lower or minimize the severity of your menopause symptoms. If you need help to safely lose weight, our specialists can help you find the best diet and exercise plan for your needs.
Hormone replacement therapy can also help to offset estrogen loss and manage hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.
For more information about prevention and treatment options for menopause symptoms, contact Midwest Regional Health Services today to schedule an appointment with a women’s health specialist.