One of the main symptoms that women experience around the time of menopause is the dreaded hot flash. Hot flashes are caused by hormonal fluctuations and result in feelings of intense heat, perspiration, and other symptoms that range from mild to severe. These symptoms disrupt the normal functioning of the body's vascular and motor systems.
Hot flashes tend to appear one or two years before the last period of a woman occurs and can last as long as six months to 15 years. In fact, around 50 percent of all perimenopausal women experience hot flashes while between 75 and 85 percent of postmenopausal women experience hot flashes. Hot flashes affect women in a number of different ways, but fortunately there are methods of taking control so that they don't disrupt your day-to-day life. Undergoing BHRT (Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy is one of those methods.
How Hot Flashes Can Affect You
The following are five main ways that hot flashes can affect you, both physically and mentally:
- Dizziness: When experiencing a hot flash, you may suddenly feel fatigued, disoriented, nauseous, weak, or dizzy. Since you can lose your balance during a hot flash, it's recommended that you take a seat during the episode.
- Burning sensations: Hot flashes cause your blood vessels to dilate and your body temperature to rise, which in turn can cause your skin to become hot to the touch. Some women will experience a burning sensation, which to many is the worst symptom of a hot flash.
- Sweating: Because you may feel sudden and intense feelings of heat in your face, neck, arms, and even your entire body, you may begin perspiring as well. Perspiration is the body's way of cooling off, so the amount you sweat may depend on the severity of the hot flash you are experiencing. You may also find yourself experiencing night sweats, which are a result of having hot flashes while you are asleep.
- Anxiety: Women that have been experiencing severe hot flashes may be worried about when their next hot flash might occur, which can affect where they go and what they do. They may become afraid of visiting certain places that don't have proper air conditioning or that are particularly crowded, for example. Women often experience anxiety during a hot flash as well. The hot flash can induce panic, causing their heartbeat to quicken and subsequently cause the hot flash to become more severe.
- Lifestyle disruption: Because hot flashes can affect you in so many ways, they can become a real disruption in your day-to-day life. Hot flashes make it difficult for women to focus or stay engaged in the activity at hand. It could even cause a sense of alienation since not everyone understands what hot flashes are, and the redness and sweating that comes with a hot flash may be embarrassing for many women out in public.
How BHRT Can Help You Control Your Hot Flashes
The hot flashes you may be experiencing are not a direct result of menopause – which is why they occur before and after menopause. They are a result of lower hormone levels. A woman's hormone levels can begin declining as early as age 30. BHRT can help to restore your hormones to a healthier level, which in turn can help drastically reduce episodes of hot flashes, if not eliminate them altogether.
If your life is being affected by the symptoms of hot flashes and are nearing or past menopause, you may want to consider undergoing BHRT.