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Hot Flashes: Possible Causes and Possible Treatments: Editorial

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Clearly, additional research to elucidate hot flash physiology is needed. Validated markers of neurotransmission activity in the brain would be nice to have.

Hot Flash Measurement

Another article in this issue of Menopause by Otte et al (9) describes a physiologic measure of hot flashes, involving sternal skin conductance. Women who have hot flashes, and thus sweat, have an increased conductance across two attached skin electrodes. In a controlled trial laboratory setting, there is a very high correlation between hot flashes detected by this sternal conductance monitor and by participant reports of hot flashes.10 In real-life situations, however, correlations between hot flashes measured by daily diaries and those measured by event monitoring devices do not correlate quite as well with sternal conductance monitor

signals, which have been considered to be representative of hot flashes.11,12

Given this, it has been proposed that sternal skin conductance represents a new criterion standard and should be used in clinical trials to measure hot flashes and, therefore, the efficacy for agents improving hot flashes.12

Nonetheless, we propose that physiologic measures of hot flashes are not ripe enough to replace the time-honored standard of prospective participant hot flash diaries. There are several factors that support this contention. First, hot flash diaries have been validated,13 and a recent meta-analysis demonstrated
remarkably consistent data across studies that used hot flash diaries.3 Second, these physiologic measures of hot flashes actually measure sweating, which can result from sympathetic activation. However, there are other etiologies for sympathetic activation resulting in sweating as well as other causes of sweating other than hot flashes. If an individual sweats from climbing a couple flights of stairs, or other physical activity, this could be judged to be a hot flash when, in fact, it is not. Related to this issue, one of the investigators working with us, to check to see whether a monitor will record a sweating episode, put the device on
herself and walked up a couple flights of stairs.

Add a Comment6 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Good Info

January 7, 2015 - 11:12pm
EmpowHER Guest

Thanks for the informative article you have provided regarding hot flashes and the after effects. One of my relatives who is having 50 years, was suffering from the hot flashes is searching for a treatment. I am sure this article would be helpful for us.

May 29, 2013 - 10:47pm

Hot flashes are experienced by many women, but not all women undergoing menopause experience hot flashes. A hot flash is a feeling of warmth that spreads over the body, but is often most strongly felt in the head and neck regions. Hot flashes may be accompanied by perspiration or flushing. Hot flashes usually last from 30 seconds to several minutes. Although the exact cause of hot flashes is not fully understood, hot flashes are thought to be due to a combination of hormonal and biochemical fluctuations brought on by declining estrogen levels.
Menopausal symptoms can be caused due to Lower level of estrogen and progesterone. But estrovera might be help you to solve all the menopausal issues like vaginal discomfort, hot flashes, loss of libido, mood swings, insomnia, weight gain and more.

March 12, 2013 - 2:52am
EmpowHER Guest

Don't overlook the power of food to help with hot flashes -- everything from strawberries to garlic! http://www.womentowomen.com/menopause/hotflashesnutritionalrelief.aspx

Women to Women Contributor

October 9, 2012 - 8:36am
EmpowHER Guest

Some natural herbs and supplements help women with hot flashes. Black cohosh, dong quai, flaxseeds and soy can be quite beneficial.

:) Elizabeth


September 24, 2009 - 8:42am

I had 50+ hot flashes a day. My doc put me on an adrenal support supplement (all natural). I don't feel that hot flashes need to be addressed with drugs, there are natural alternatives that are effective. I get no side effects and have not hot flashed since I started taking the supplements regularly.

From how it was explained to me, since I wore down my adrenals living a stressful life, I needed supplementation to build back up my adrenals. I reduced my stress and started doing yoga as well.

Hot Flashes are your bodys way of trying to regulate it's temperature, that's where the adrenals come in... when those are not working properly.. your body can't regulate.

September 21, 2009 - 7:08am
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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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