Saturday, July 9, 2011

What causes hot flashes?

Considering that I am working my way into menopause and I want to do it gracefully, I thought I would see if I could get to the bottom of some of these annoying symptoms.  Basically, I’m doing just great, and it’s not too bad so far.  However, the hot flashes are a big ole pain in the patootie!   Yep… I’m fine one minute, then I’m totally soaked the next.  I like to call them “my little side trip to the Bahamas”.   But, as fun as that name sounds, it’s not exactly a walk on the beach!  So, I thought I would see if I could figure out what I could do about them.   What I really wanted to know is what happens to your body to make it get hot.  But, I could not articulate how to ask question at first.  

So, I searched “Hot flashes”  and I found out that menopause can cause hot flashes.  NO WAY!  Really?  Who knew?   I also found out that Dengue fever can cause them.  And, since I haven’t been to Africa or South America lately, I’m guessing it’s menopause. 

In my research for the hows and whys  of hot flashes, I went to my all time favorite site – Google and entered “What causes Hot Flashes?”  I found a plethora of information from people in the medical field (mostly men, I’m sure!).  And while it was enlightening, it didn’t really help AT ALL!   Let me share some of the best:  

Better Medicine says -  Hot flashes are short, sudden feelings of heat that can occur across the entire body or in parts of the body.   – Really?  Well, they did not consult with me on this explanation, because some of mine are NOT short!

Mayo ClinicHot flashes that occur at night might interrupt your sleep.   Really???  Who knew?   They also interrupt my husband’s sleep.  I wake up and throw all the covers off me in one swift move.  If it doesn’t scare the heck out of him and wake him up, he wakes up in a few minutes anyway from his own personal heat wave.   

WebMDHot Flashes may accompany other symptoms such as:
  • Sweating -    And just how long have you been a rocket scientist?
  • Changes in mood,  personality or behavior  -  You had better believe that jumping up and fanning myself, then stripping off clothing for no apparent reason IS NOT my normal behavior!  
 WebMD  - Symptom relief – stay cool   WOW…. (Just WOW!) 

34-menopause-symptomsCommon triggers for Hot Flashes:
  • Warm environments And cold environments, and cool environments, and nippy environments,  and Antarctic environments… and just being in an environment.   
  • Hot spicy foods -  OK,  I’ll give you that one because I’ve seen non-menopausal men have hot flashes from this!
  • Over consumption of caffeine, alcohol or sugar -  WHAT?   This is not a trigger, this is a result!   I drink too much caffeine because I wake up 15 times a night stripping off clothes and the covers.  And…  if it weren’t for menopause, I wouldn’t NEED sugar or alcohol! 

Medicine Net  - Anxiety worsens hot flashes!   …. BACKWARDS… hot flashes CAUSE Anxiety,  just like menopause causes drinking!   

Power-Surge -   Thinner women may experience more hot flashes since fat cells convert hormones secreted by the adrenals into estrogen(in other words, it is wise to retain a little extra weight during menopause).      So, basically what you’re saying is that thinner equates to HOTTER!  Duh!  I swear a man wrote this!  

So basically, I really didn’t learn a thing about hot flashes that I hadn’t already figure out for myself.  And, I found out that the medical field doesn’t really know either!  Either that, or they think that trying to explain it to menopausal woman is just a waste of time.   I tried searching on “what causes hot flashes”,  what happens to your body during a hot flash”,  why do I have hot flashes” , “explain hot flashes” and numerous other choices.  After a lot of searching, I found a site that said that losing estrogen messes with the hypothalamus (the body’s thermostat) and tricks it into thinking that you’re cold, so your body reacts by heating up.  Dang… I’ve heard of playing ‘Hide and Seek”,  but “Trick the Hypothalomas?”  Now that’s one game I NEVER thought I would be playing! 

I guess, based on research, I’ve got a few more years of these little side trips or power surges or whatever you want to call them.  So, you’re all just going to have to get used to my “glowing personality”, because it’s here to stay for a little longer. J

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