Hot flashes are common in certain stages of our life, such as menopause, but there are also other lesser-known causes that we detail below.
The human body reacts to certain stimuli that it considers strange or irregular by sweating, hot flashes or shivering. This is regulated in the hypothalamus.
If someone is subjected to external factors such as being exposed to high temperatures, the body will immediately respond to sweating. The function of sweat is to cool the body and lower the temperature until it reaches normal levels.
The same happens when a person experiences hormonal or physiological changes that affect the body’s thermoregulatory capacity. That’s when hot flashes appear.
Hot flashes are the sudden sensation of heat sometimes accompanied by sweating and redness of the skin. Anyone can get them, but they occur commonly in women during the climacteric. But what causes them?
Causes of hot flashes in women.
Symptoms appear in the climacteric or menopause of women. During this female biological phase, the body undergoes many changes. Although the exact causes of hot flashes have not been determined so far, here are some possibilities:
1. Decrease in estrogen levels.
In the female fertile stage, estrogens are important hormones in the sexual and reproductive development of women. But, in addition, they lower body temperature, since they participate in the body’s thermoregulation process.
By decreasing estrogen levels, the changes that occur at the cardiovascular level to control temperature, such as the dilation of blood vessels, are also affected and that heat that accumulates appears: hot flashes.
During the fertile age of the woman, this hormone has a thermoregulatory function during ovulation. It has the reverse effect of estrogens: it is responsible for increasing body temperature.
Therefore, when progesterone levels begin to alter at menopause, this hormone can modify the control of heat in the body.
In addition to causing heat waves, when progesterone levels begin to drop, they also trigger other symptoms or disorders. Some of them are weight gain, lack of libido or irregular menstruation.
3. Modification of hypothalamic thermoregulatory function.
Due to the hormonal changes that occur in the climacteric, the hypothalamus is affected. After the absence of progesterone and estrogens, the hypothalamus must modify its thermoregulatory function to be self-sufficient. During this adaptive process, hot flashes occur.
4. Use of some medications.
Another possible cause of hot flashes is the use or consumption of some medications such as antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs. Aspirin, acetaminophen, and other fever-reducing medicines can also cause hot flashes.
Medications to treat breast cancer can also cause hot flashes. Consult your doctor to review the possibility of replacing them with others.
5. Consumption of caffeine and alcohol.
Caffeine and alcohol have vasodilatory properties. As with the decrease in progesterone and estrogen levels, the blood flows rapidly and causes a rise in temperature.
If you are already experiencing the symptoms of menopause, it is recommended that you do not consume alcohol or coffee. This is because both substances make hot flashes worse.
6. Having hyperthyroidism.
Another case where hormones modify or alter body heat is hyperthyroidism.
This disease could cause increased temperature, sweating and hot flashes. The main responsible for these symptoms is thyroxine, the hormone responsible for regulating metabolic processes.
Hot flashes are not always linked to menopause. However, its incidence increases at this stage of the life of women. If you’ve had hot flashes in a row, see your doctor to determine a possible cause. Don’t worry or despair about having that sudden feeling of heat .The important thing is to be clear about what causes your hot flashes so that you can alleviate them. Remember that your doctor will always be the best one to tell you what to do and what treatment to follow in your particular case.