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What Causes Hot Flushes And How Best To Deal With Them

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What Causes Hot Flushes And How Best To Deal With Them

You may have experienced a hot flush, and not really known what it was, or you may struggle with them all the time. The symptoms can include all or some of the following:

  • Feeling hot all over, all of a sudden 
  • A rapid heart rate
  • Your face feeling hot and going red
  • Sweating
  • Tingling fingers

The heat and redness can creep up unannounced, and cover your whole body and face. A hot flush usually lasts for a few minutes, on average about four minutes, and the heat can feel very intense. 

What causes a hot flush?

All of the symptoms of the perimenopause and the menopause are caused by a gradual reduction in the hormone oestrogen. Hot flushes in particular are caused by this reduction in oestrogen affecting the way your body controls its temperature. 

Is there anything I can do to control hot flushes?

The perimenopause and the menopause are natural events in a woman’s life. But that doesn’t mean we have to simply put up with at best, annoying, at worst, very distressing, symptoms. 

Hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, is beneficial to many, many women who are struggling with all symptoms of the menopause including hot flushes. If you’re struggling, then speak to your GP about your options, and how HRT could help you. 

Whether you decide to take HRT or not, there are things you can do that can help you manage and prevent the frequency and intensity of a hot flush. These include:

  • Avoiding hot, spicy foods, as these can trigger a hot flush
  • Minimising caffeine and alcohol as these too can trigger hot flushes
  • If you smoke, taking steps to quit can also help to manage your body temperature
  • Avoiding thick, heavy clothing and instead choosing natural, light, breathable fabrics such as cotton, linen and hemp and wearing layers that can be easily removed if you’re feeling hot (avoid tight clothing too, that can feel restrictive and cause you to become hot) 
  • Avoiding hot rooms where possible, and keeping windows open to allow cool air flow or using a fan 
  • Taking steps to minimise stress such as practicing mindfulness and yoga to help you feel calmer and less hot 
  • Avoiding bending over, which can cause a rush of blood to the head which can in turn lead to a hot flush 
  • Keeping a diary of your movements and hot flushes, to see if you can spot any triggers that you can try to avoid to prevent further hot flushes

Finally, know that you’re not alone and that many of your friends, peers and colleagues are probably struggling in the same way. You’ve got this! 

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