Hot flashes are the sudden, intense hot feeling on your face and upper body. It can be accompanied by: a rapid heartbeat, sweating, nausea, dizziness, anxiety, headache, weakness or feeling of suffocation. Some women experience what is called an “aura,” a general uneasiness that can tip you off what is about to happen.
The flash can be over in a “flash” or may persist for several minutes, leaving you red and perspiring. Hot flashes are caused by hormonal changes of menopause, but can also be affected by lifestyle, stress and medication.
During menopause, estrogen levels lower, which can have a direct affect on the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is the part of the brain that controls appetite, sleep cycles, sex hormones, and body temperature. It’s not fully understood, but somehow, the hypothalamus reads “too hot” and sends out a five-alarm signal to the body’s nervous system.