Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.


Hot Flashes Overview

What are hot flashes?
A woman with hot flashes has sudden sensations of warmth, especially in the upper body and face. Hot flashes are common in women after menopause. Increased stress, anxiety, warm humid temperatures, and the use of certain substances such as alcohol, nicotine, or caffeine can trigger hot flashes. Close to 85% of all menopausal women will suffer from some degree of hot flashes. Most women experience these symptoms for no more than a year, but up to one-half may experience these symptoms for as long as 2-5 years.

What are the symptoms of hot flashes?
Symptoms of hot flashes include an intense feeling of warmth in the face and upper body. Some women wake up in the middle of the night, drenched with perspiration. Hot flashes may last for 5 to 30 minutes, and can occur up to a dozen times per day. Most hot flashes will last for only several minutes. Symptoms of menopause that are often associated with hot flashes include absent menstrual periods, mood changes, vaginal dryness, constipation, difficulty sleeping, nausea, and depression.

How does the doctor treat hot flashes?
General treatment for hot flashes in a woman with menopause includes a healthy diet, regular exercise, avoiding exposure to heat and other triggers, avoiding alcohol, calcium supplements, and weight reduction in those who are overweight. Additional treatment for hot flashes may include hormone therapy with estrogen.

Last Updated: Feb 9, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Hot Flashes References
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  2. Alexander JL, Burger H, Dennerstein L, Woods NF, Davis SR, Kotz K, Van Winkle J, Richardson G, Ratka A, Kessel B. Treatment of vasomotor symptoms in the menopausal transition and postmenopausally: psychiatric comorbidity. Expert Rev Neurother. 2007 Nov;7(11 Suppl):S115-37. [18039061]
  3. Daley A, MacArthur C, Mutrie N, Stokes-Lampard H. Exercise for vasomotor menopausal symptoms. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2007 Oct 17;(4):CD006108. [17943886]
  4. Lethaby AE, Brown J, Marjoribanks J, Kronenberg F, Roberts H, Eden J. Phytoestrogens for vasomotor menopausal symptoms. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2007 Oct 17;(4):CD001395. [17943751]
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