Our bodies are constantly changing throughout our lives. While most of these changes are small and unnoticeable even to us, others can trigger with little warning and leave us confused. Menopause or hormonal changes due to illness are just a couple of these larger changes—specifically the hot flash symptoms that come along with them. Most women age 50 or older experience this condition but, surprisingly, few know what hot flashes mean and how they affect their bodies. To fully understand your hot flashes, try learning more about their causes and contributing factors.
What Hot Flashes Are
Hot flashes are the official term for sudden sensations of excessive heat without the influence of an external source. They are a common manifestation of internal hormonal changes, particularly in women about to start, or going through, menopause. Active hot flash phases may also involve flushed skin, sweating, tingling in your fingers, and increased heart rate. The extent of these symptoms varies for each person, making the experience extremely uncomfortable for some and tolerable for others. Regardless of which you need to cope with, it can often be difficult to adjust your lifestyle to accommodate these sudden symptoms.
What Causes Them
Though it isn’t clear what exactly causes hot flashes, many studies have found that drastic hormonal changes can trigger them. Once an individual is susceptible to hot flashes, a variety of things such as your diet, clothing, or feelings of stress or anxiety can trigger them in the future. Changes in circulation can also be a factor. Heat flashes often begin when blood vessels near the surface of the skin widen to cool off. This results in your body breaking out into a sweat as it attempts to keep you at a reasonable temperature.
Furthermore, menopause isn’t the only physical event that can cause the occurrence of hot flashes. Women who are going through treatment for breast cancer may also experience these symptoms due to an imbalance of hormones from taking certain medications. While post-surgery hormone therapy is crucial for the treatment of the disease, it’s also likely to produce hot flashes at the same time. But despite how common menopause-like hot flashes are post-surgery, many women remain unaware that this is a possibility until it occurs. This leaves them having the symptoms, but not fully understanding why or how they came about.
How to Reduce Their Frequency
Unfortunately, there is no proven method to eliminate heat flashes—they’ll typically diminish over time. But this doesn’t mean you can’t reduce their frequency with a few lifestyle changes. For starters, it’s often beneficial to reduce the amounts of caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods you consume as they can put your body in a hyperactive state. Wearing looser clothing and fighting your stress with breathing exercises can also cut back on the number of hot flashes you experience.
Comfort can be difficult to obtain when your body is going through big changes. As such, you must find ways to fight off your symptoms while also maintaining your quality of life. It’s for this reason that we at The Brobe offer post-surgical adaptive clothing. Even though menopause isn’t a surgical condition, these loose-fitting, cooling garments offer enough support to keep you comfortable without the restrictions that potentially cause your hot flashes.