What Causes Hot Flashes in Men and Women?
Men, women, and children can suffer from hot flashes. The most common cause of hot flashes in women is during perimenopause and menopause. A common cause of the condition in men is low testosterone, or low-T. Side effects from medications also cause hot flashes. There are more serious causes of hot flashes like carcinoid syndrome, cancers, and hormone problems.
Perimenopause definition and facts
- Menopause is the time during a woman's lifetime when menstrual periods cease. The medical definition of menopause is the time at which a woman has not had a menstrual period for 12 consecutive months.
- The time preceding menopause has been referred to as the perimenopause. There is no strict medical definition of perimenopause, but it typically refers to the time approaching menopause during which a woman starts to develop symptoms of declining estrogen levels.
- Some of the symptoms of perimenopause include
- Not all women experience all the symptoms of perimenopause to the same degree, and symptoms vary among women.
- Treatment of perimenopausal symptoms includes hormone therapy and lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise, and smoking cessation.
- Estrogen therapy may decrease the severity of symptoms of perimenopause.
What is perimenopause?
Perimenopause refers to the time period that begins when the ovaries begin to decline in function and continues until menopause (defined as the total cessation of menstrual flow for one calendar year) has been reached. Perimenopause has been called the "change of life" or "transition period." It usually begins in the 40s, but may start as early as the late 30s. During this time, a woman may exhibit a number of symptoms that are largely due to abnormal hormonal fluctuations.
Perimenopause has the potential to become a difficult period in a woman's life, as the ovaries begin to become depleted in eggs and produce hormones in reduced amounts. It is important that each woman attempt to understand the alterations that her body is undergoing and attempt to proactively manage these physiological changes. Moreover, she should not attempt hide her feelings and symptoms from others involved in her life, as this may lead to misunderstanding and frustration. Professional help is available, and new products and technologies are constantly being developed to assist with the control of perimenopausal symptoms. With appropriate dialogue between a woman and her health-care professional, most women can navigate this potentially difficult period of their lives.
What causes a woman to go through perimenopause?
Every woman is endowed at birth with a set number of eggs within each ovary. As she enters adolescence, the higher brain centers that are responsible for the onset of puberty begin to mature and function in a coordinated fashion. Menstrual cycles begin, and once a month, one of the ovaries will release an egg, which may be fertilized if intercourse occurs during the days when the egg is viable. If fertilization does not occur, the egg, which is composed of a single cell, degenerates and dies within the abdominal cavity. Without fertilization of the egg, the uterine lining is shed off approximately two weeks after ovulation (i.e. release of an egg by the ovary). This cycle is repeated monthly unless a pregnancy is conceived. As a woman ages, her ovaries become depleted of eggs. At this point ovulation may become erratic. This results in irregular bleeding episodes that may be heavy and unpredictable.
Throughout the normal menstrual cycle, hormones are produced from the ovaries in a rather precise sequence. This can cause numerous side effects (for example, menstrual cramps,) which may or may not be predictable. As the ovaries become depleted of eggs and bleeding episodes become more erratic, there are alterations in the quantity and frequency of ovarian hormone production, which can lead to numerous physical manifestations. The time period when the depletion of ovarian eggs results in irregular bleeding and other related symptoms has been termed "perimenopause."
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/28/2017