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MenoPause Blog

What are hot flashes?

by Margery Gass | Aug 20, 2014
The most common menopause-related discomfort is the hot flash (sometimes called a hot flush). Although their exact cause still isn’t fully understood, hot flashes are thought to be the result of changes in the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that regulates the body’s temperature. If the hypothalamus mistakenly senses that a woman is too warm, it starts a chain of events to cool her down. Blood vessels near the surface of the skin begin to dilate (enlarge), increasing blood flow to the surface in an attempt to dissipate body heat. This produces a red, flushed look to the face and neck in light-skinned women. It may also make a woman perspire to cool the body down. The heart may beat faster, and women may sense that rapid heartbeat.  A cold chill often follows a hot flash. A few women experience only the chill. Hot flashes typically stop on their own and may not require any treatment. Treatment, if you need it, can reduce or eliminate hot flashes completely.


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