Hot flashes, also sometimes called hot flushes are a symptom of the changing hormone levels that are considered to be characteristic of menopause. However, young women can also experience them at the start of their period.

Hot flashes are typically experienced as a feeling of intense heat with sweating and rapid heartbeat, and may typically last from two to thirty minutes for each occurrence. The event may be repeated a few times each week or constantly throughout the day, with the frequency reducing over time. Some women-undergoing menopause never have hot flashes. Others have mild or infrequent flashes. The worst sufferers experience dozens of hot flashes each day. Severe hot flashes can make it difficult to get a full night’s sleep, which in turn can affect mood, concentration, and cause other physical problems. When hot flashes occur at night, they are called “night sweats.” As estrogen is typically lowest at night, a woman might get night sweats without having any hot flashes during the daytime.

Younger women who are menstruating or expecting to menstruate soon (the premenstrual period typically lasts one week) may encounter hot and/or cold flashes. These episodes do not usually last long, with feelings of cold and heat alternating over the course of as short as a minute, Hot and cold flashes for younger women tend to occur only during times of menstruation or premenstruation (when estrogen is typically lowest.)

Treating Hot Flashes Naturally

Hormone replacement therapy (also known as HRT) may relieve many of the symptoms of menopause. However the best way to avoid hot flashes might be to avoid caffeine, hot drinks, chocolate, spicy or hot foods and alcohol.

Some people cope with the flashes by always carrying a hand fan or portable fan with them. Relief can also be found by taking a cold shower, and if that is not possible running cold water on your wrists or putting a cold cloth on your face or chest.

Hot flashes are in no way a life threatening condition and are a natural symptom of coming into womanhood or aging. They are uncomfortable but the outlook is excellent. Mostly the condition is about coping with it until the hormonal disruption caused by the onset of menstruation or menopause is over.

For more information about how to deal with environmental illness, or to book a consultation about anti-aging, naturopathic testing, Toronto weight loss programs or any health issue you may be experiencing, visit the Pinewood Natural Healthcare Centre website that has a list of full services and products at www.pinewoodhealth.ca. We also can help you balance your hormones by prescribing a diet, homeopathy or other therapies.

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