Hot Flashes - Causes

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What causes hot flashes?

The complex hormonal changes that accompany the aging process, in particular the declining levels of estrogen as a woman approaches menopause, are thought to be the underlying cause of hot flashes. A disorder in thermoregulation (methods the body uses to control and regulate body temperature) is responsible for the heat sensation, but the exact way in which the changing hormone levels affect thermoregulation is not fully understood.

Hot flashes are considered to be a characteristic symptom of the menopausal transition. They also occur in men and in circumstances other than the perimenopause in women as a result of certain uncommon medical conditions that affect the process of thermoregulation. For example, the carcinoid syndrome, which results from a type of endocrine tumor that secretes large amounts of the hormone serotonin can cause hot flashes. Hot flashes can also develop as a side effect of some medications and sometimes occur with severe infections or cancers that may be associated with fevers and/or night sweats.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: CDPDEE, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 28

I have been having severe hot flashes night and day for the past several months, after not having them for more than a year. My gynecologist says they do not return after they are gone, and may be related to a thyroid issue. I read the morning paper standing in the garage a few days ago when it was only 7 degrees.

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Comment from: Gabriella, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 04

I don"t call them hot flashes anymore, I describe them more like a power surge! I"m not going to allow menopause to control my daily life so I am learning more about my body and how a healthy diet and exercise can help an ongoing disruption in so many women"s lives! A brisk walk in the early morning and a swim in the evening works best for cooling my body down! I sleep much better. My eating habits have changed - I have given up caffeine and chocolate (oh how I miss them). But it has helped me immensely! Always remember to stay hydrated! I take electrolytes supplements in my water, I find when having these horrible hot flashes that my body loses a lot of vitamins and minerals.

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