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What causes hot flashes during menopause?

Hot flashes are one of the most common symptom of menopause. According to WebMD, more than two thirds of women get hot flashes during perimenopause. For many women they continue past menopause. For some women they are a minor inconvenience, for other women they can result in being drenched in sweat. If this occurs at night (called night sweats) it can prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. You may feel constantly tired which prevents you from doing the things you want.

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We don't know exactly

Unfortunately, the causes of hot flashes during menopause are not completely known. The hypothalamus is a part of the brain that regulates temperature. The hypothalamus appears to be sensitive to changing estrogen levels although the mechanism is not completely clear. We know that hormone therapy usually eliminates hot flashes so the inconsistency of hormone levels during perimenopause is somehow responsible. What is clear is that hot flashes become a big problem for many women during perimenopause and even after menopause.

Keep your cool

Not surprisingly, hot flashes are often related to being hotter. A small change in temperature, that previously would have barely been noticeable somehow triggers a flash. For instance if you exercise in clothes that are too heavy, and start to warm up a little (even before you break a sweat), a hot flash may occur. These triggers are usually easier to remedy. Hot flashes can be triggered by many other things. The foods we eat can trigger hot flashes (or help to improve them). Smoking can trigger hot flashes. Caffeine and alcohol consumption can lead to hot flashes for some women. Anxiety seems to trigger hot flashes for many women.

Tackle your weight

Being overweight seems to make hot flashes worse. You will likely find that if you lose some excess weight that your hot flashes improve. Unfortunately the feeling of fatigue from lack of sleep can prevent many women from tackling their weight issues.

Generally making positive changes in your lifestyle and eating habits have a positive effect on the severity and the frequency of hot flashes. If you are suffering from fatigue, you will want to approach the changes slowly.

It is also important to note that there are other causes of hot flashes. Thyroid problems, anxiety and some more serious conditions can cause hot flashes. Thyroid problems can have other symptoms that are similar to symptoms of menopause, so if you have concerns you might want to get your thyroid levels checked out.

If you are suffering from hot flashes, you may want to check with your physician to see what types of medications are available for relief. If you prefer to try more natural methods check out my free guide to reducing hot flashes.

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