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Facial Flushing and Hot Flashes during Menopause

By Michele Blacksberg RN HERWriter
 
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Sitting at a restaurant chatting away, you suddenly feel a familiar flush start on the skin of your mid chest and creep up to your face. Your friends ask you if you are alright, unable to avoid noticing how flushed your face has become along with the sudden beads of sweat that have appeared on your brow.

Those of us who are peri-menopausal or actually in the midst of menopause are familiar with these flushing episodes that for some women occur up to 30 times a day. Unpredictable interruptions during conversations or sleep at night are regular occurrences for as many as 80% of women during menopause. What causes facial flushing or hot flashes and is there anything that can be done?

Current research believes that menopausal women experience a change in their ability to regulate core body temperature due to a reduction of an adrenaline hormone (norepinephrine) in the brain. This change is what leads to episodes of hot flashes. Some menopausal women develop a narrowed range of temperature tolerance making their bodies overly sensitive to mild elevations of body heat. Eating too spicy of food or wearing too warm of clothes can set off a hot flash and facial flushing.

While loss of estrogen during menopause is a contributor, it is not the cause. Researchers believe this because prepubescent girls who are too young to produce estrogen and menstruate do not have hot flashes. Estrogen is believed to raise the threshold of our body’s response temperature elevation so our bodies do not sweat as easily during these times of heat fluctuations.

Treatments:

Until recently, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was used universally as the first treatment for hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause. However, since results of the women’s health study have showed that HRT increases risk of cardiac disease as well as breast cancer, hormone treatments while still given, are used in much lower amounts or for reduced periods of time.

Two non hormone drugs: Neurontin and Clonidine have both been shown in studies to provide relief for hot flashes.

Add a Comment4 Comments

ShirleyM

I have found that a handful of dry roasted soya nuts as a snack every day has greatly reduced the number of daytime episodes and eliminated the night time ones. And they taste nice.

March 15, 2010 - 4:02pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

When I started on bioidentical hormones (progesterone and testosterone, I do not need supplemental estrogen), my hot flashes disappeared completely in less than three days. I now feel healthier (and have bloodwork to prove it) and more vibrant than I ever have in my adult life.

January 8, 2010 - 3:32pm
Michele Blacksberg RN HERWriter

Thank you for your comments. I went to the Cool-jam site and it looks like a neat product to try. Glad those supplements have worked for you

January 8, 2010 - 5:18am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I have been able to help diminish my hot flashes by taking black cohash, increase omega 3's and at night by wearing Cool-jams( a wicking pajama that I found online)...hope that helps

January 7, 2010 - 9:11pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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