A hot flash is a sensation of strong warmth that isn’t caused by an exterior source. Hot flashes are one of the trademarks of menopause and commonly occur in women around the time of menopause. They involve temporary but recurring episodes of flushing with a sensation of warmth or heat on the upper body and face. Some hot flashes are easily tolerated, others are irritating or awkward, and others can be draining. It’s a sudden feeling of heat and sometimes a red, flushed face and sweating. Hot flashes start when blood vessels near the skin’s surface widen to cool off, making you break out in a sweat. Some women have a fast heart rate or chills. When they happen while you sleep, they’re termed as night sweats. They can wake you up and may make it hard to get enough rest. Hot flashes commonly occur in women around the time of menopause.
Although hot flashes are usually considered a female problem, men can also have hot flashes if their levels of the male sex hormone testosterone drop suddenly and intensely. Symptoms of hot flashes can occur in both men and women who have a tumour of the hypothalamus or pituitary gland and certain serious infections.
One might experience these symptoms while experiencing hot flash:
- A sudden feeling of warmth spreading through your chest, neck and face
- A flushed appearance with red, blotchy skin
- Rapid heartbeat
- Perspiration, mostly on your upper body
- A chilled feeling as the hot flash lets up
- Feelings of anxiety
A hot flash begins as a sensation of intense warmth in the upper body, followed by skin redness, wetting sweat, and finally a cold, clammy feeling. Naturally, these symptoms begin at the head and spread downward toward the neck and chest. They last for 30 seconds to 5 minutes. It can be accompanied by other discomforting sensations, such as heart palpitations, a pressure feeling in the head, dizziness, or weakness. When hot flashes occur during the night, they can cause sleeplessness, resulting in poor concentration, memory problems, irritability and exhaustion during the day.