How long does a hot flash last: Did you know that 10 per cent of the male and female population experience hot flashes at some point during their lives? During hot flashes, you know that you can only wait for the wave to pass, so you can return to feeling like yourself again. First, let’s understand why hot flashes last as long as they do before we look at supplements and remedies for them.
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How long does a hot flash last in women?
A hot flash is a symptom of menopause or perimenopause caused by a decline in estrogen levels in the body. Let’s look at what happens in your body during a hot flash:
- The hypothalamus, the part of the brain that controls your core body temperature, thinks you are too hot (even if you’re not) and signals the brain to initiate the cool-down process.
- As a part of the cooling process, the brain goes into overdrive, and the heart begins to pump out blood faster to your blood vessels, and blood rushes towards the skin’s surface, causing the skin to flush.
- Your skin temperature rises with the blood vessels opening up (Vasodilation), and there is increased blood flow to eliminate the perceived extra heat that makes you feel excessively hot.
- Your sweat glands immediately respond to perspiring profusely to eliminate the excess heat in the affected skin areas, usually the abdomen, back, arms, neck and face. Sometimes it can affect the entire body too.
- Two to five minutes later, the flash is over, you’re damp and sweaty, and your brain believes your core body temperature is average.
- This cycle repeats whenever a stimulus, such as an altered skin temperature, triggers it again.
In most cases, a hot flash lasts for two to five minutes, but research indicates that it can last anywhere from 30 seconds to 10 minutes. The duration of a hot moment can also be influenced by factors such as stress, certain medications, and certain medical conditions. Some studies suggest that the course of a hot flash may be longer in women who smoke or are overweight. The frequency and duration of hot flashes may decrease over time, but they can vary from person to person, and some women may experience hot flashes for several years.
Supplements for hot flashes
Several supplements may help reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes in menopausal women. These include:
Black cohosh: This herb is thought to mimic the effects of estrogen and may help reduce hot flashes.
Soy: Soy products contain phytoestrogens, plant compounds that mimic the effects of estrogen in the body. Some studies have suggested that soy may help reduce hot flashes.
Vitamin E: This vitamin may help reduce the severity of hot flashes.
Red clover: This herb contains phytoestrogens and may help reduce hot flashes.
Flaxseed: This food contains lignans, which are a type of phytoestrogen. Some studies have suggested that flaxseed may help reduce hot flashes.
It is important to note that it is always best to consult your healthcare provider before taking any supplement. Also, some supplements may interact with other medications you are taking or have contraindications for specific medical conditions you have.
How do they feel?
Hot flashes are a sudden feeling of warmth that can spread throughout the body, particularly in the face, neck, and chest. It is often accompanied by flushing, redness of the skin, and sweating. Some people may also experience a rapid heartbeat, dizziness, or anxiety during a hot flash. Hot flashes can range in intensity and duration and occur at any time of day or night. They are often described as feeling like a sudden, intense heat wave that starts in the upper body and spreads outward. Some people may feel chilled after a hot flash as the body cools down. Hot moments can be uncomfortable and disruptive, but they are generally not harmful.
Hot flashes usually last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Some people may experience hot flashes that are longer or more frequent, while others may only have them occasionally. Hot flashes are a symptom of menopause. Moreover, certain medications or medical conditions can also cause them. If you are experiencing hot flashes that interfere with your daily life, you must talk to a healthcare provider. They can help determine the cause of your hot flashes and recommend treatment options.
Remedies for hot flashes
Several natural remedies may help reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes:
Relaxation techniques: Practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, yoga, or meditation may help reduce the severity of hot flashes.
Exercise: Regular exercise can help reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes.
Dress in layers: Dressing in layers allows you to remove clothing when you feel a hot flash coming on and put it back on when it subsides.
Keep a relaxed environment:
- Keeping your home or office cool.
- Using a fan.
- Taking a cool shower can help reduce the severity of hot flashes.
Avoid triggers: Certain foods and drinks, such as spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol, can trigger hot flashes. Identifying and avoiding your triggers can help reduce the frequency of hot flashes.
Acupuncture: Acupuncture may help reduce hot flashes.
While hot flashes are a terrible experience for anyone going through them, it is essential to note that every person is different, and what may work for one person may not work for another. Always consult a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your lifestyle or treatment regimen.