Practitioners near you who treat hot flashes

Hot flashes (or hot flushes) are when a sudden feeling of intense warmth moves through the face, neck and chest, which usually creates profuse sweating.

It’s not the same as feeling hot from the sun or when sitting next to a heater in winter. These situations can definitely make you feel hot – but, they’re caused by an outside factor.

Hot flashes, on the other hand, have an internal, biochemical cause, e.g. hormone fluctuations, medications, infections, and can develop in men and women.

Most people connect these with women, hormones and menopause. But, hormones can also cause hot flashes in men.

A severe testosterone deficiency, sometimes called Andropause, can trigger men’s hot flashes. It’s not exactly ‘male menopause’. And doesn’t occur in all men. Although, when it does the symptoms are similar, i.e, hot flashes, fatigue, mood swings.

Hot flashes in men and women can occur during the day and/or night. If they happen at night time, including when you’re sleeping, they’re called night sweats. Both hot flashes and night sweats can make you feel overheated, but then chilled when the experience ends.

Not everyone’s hot flashes are the same.

In some people, hot flashes symptoms are mild and only last a few seconds.

A more intense version is when hot flashes cause symptoms that last 5+ minutes. These hot flashes can disrupt daily activities and, sometimes, trigger anxiety while the heat persists. 

Menopause can cause hot flashes symptoms that are both mild and intense. Symptoms develop as the ovaries begin to change. This results in estrogen and progesterone rising and falling in unpredictable ways.

Type of Hot Flashes

There are 4 types of menopausal hot flashes:

  • Minimal Hot Flashes Symptoms

Some women experience minimal or no hot flashes during menopause. This is most common amongst Chinese women.

  • Prolonged Hot Flashes Symptoms

Women with anxiety and depression are prone to prolonged hot flashes. This begins early in the transition phase and continues throughout the process. African American women may also be susceptible.

  • Early-Onset Hot Flashes Symptoms

These hot flashes start early during the menopausal transition. They’re common in women with a high body mass index (BMI), anxiety, depression, or who begin menopause later in life. These may morph into Prolonged Hot Flashes.

  • Late-Onset Hot Flashes Symptoms

Women with a low BMI or who smoke are more likely to experience hot flashes later in the menopausal phase.

Celebrities And Hot Flashes

Having an intense hot flash in public can be embarrassing. One moment you’re fine, the next it feels like you’ve been placed in the middle of a forest fire and can’t escape the heat. As your internal temperature builds, so does the sweat under your arms and on the top of your lip. All you can do is centre yourself and wait for the uncomfortable moment to pass. 

Michelle Obama, former first lady, knows what this is like. Here’s what she had to say about dealing with hot flashes during her husband’s presidency:

“I remember having one on Marine One. I’m dressed, I need to get out, walk into an event, and literally, it was like somebody put a furnace in my core and turned it on high, and then everything started melting. And I thought, Well, this is crazy—I can’t, I can’t, I can’t do this”.

Fortunately, Barack was quick to respond. He ordered the air conditioner be switched on to help his wife.

Sometimes, support and understanding is the best hot flushes treatment. But there are other treatments available too.

Signs and Symptoms

Hot flashes symptoms and signs include:

  • A sudden feeling of warmth moving through the face, neck and chest
  • Sweating, mainly in the upper body
  • Flushed face
  • Blotchy skin
  • Increased heart rate
  • Feeling chilled as the hot flash eases
  • Anxiety

Treatments for Hot Flashes

It’s important to seek hot flushes treatment if your symptoms are intense or disrupting your quality of life. There are many treatment options available, including:

  • Medications – Estrogen-based medications can help women struggling with hot flashes. Yet, this doesn’t suit everyone and comes with risks. Instead, non-estrogen drugs that treat depression, seizures and high blood pressure may be used. Testosterone-based drugs may be prescribed for hot flushes in men.
  • Nerve Block – Studies suggest that injecting anaesthetic into a nerve cluster in the neck may help ease hot flushes. Results may last for a few weeks or months.
  • Alternative Therapies – Allied health professionals can create individualised hot flushes treatment plans. Try Naturopaths, Acupuncturists, Ayurveda practitioners.

Causes of Hot Flashes

Understanding what causes hot flashes can be complex – and it’s not always your hormones. Here’s a comprehensive list of causes:

  • Menopause: Hot flashes often occur when a woman’s estrogen level begins to drop during her late-30s, mid-40s or early-50s. It’s different for everyone. Even though hot flashes are common during menopause, it’s not understood why they occur.
  • Low Testosterone: This is more likely to be the cause of hot flashes in men.
  • Infections: Any infection that causes a fever can also cause hot flashes. The following infections commonly trigger hot flushes or night sweats:
    • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
    • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
    • Tuberculosis
    • Osteomyelitis.
  • Medication Side Effects: Medications that can trigger hot flashes include opioids, antidepressants, vasodilators, e.g. Viagra, steroids, calcium channel blockers, and osteoporosis medications.
  • Cancer: Breast cancer, Prostate cancer and Leukaemia can trigger hot flashes. The medications and therapies used to treat these conditions can also cause overheating as a side effect.
  • Overactive Thyroid: High levels of thyroid hormones increases your metabolism. This makes you prone to heat intolerance and hot flashing.
  • Liver Congestion: Traditional Chinese Medicine believes an unhappy liver contributes to hot flashes. Factors that lower liver health include a high fat/salt/sugar diet, drinking lots of alcohol, smoking, long term stress, exposure to toxins (pesticides, heavy metals).

What Works For Hot Flashes – Natural Options

Dress in layers to help you regulate your temperature throughout the day. Even small increases in body temperature can trigger hot flashes symptoms. Be sure to avoid wearing heavy outfits with little breathability.

Carry a portable fan with you everywhere you go. Being able to fan yourself during a hot flash won’t just cool you down. It will help you feel proactive and more in control of the situation.

Phytoestrogenic Foods contain plant-based estrogens. Eating these foods can help prop the body’s estrogen level and minimise symptoms: organic tofu and tempeh, flaxseeds, berries, oats, carrots, apples, lentils, sesame seeds.

Hot and Spicy Foods are best avoided as they increase your internal temperature. Chillies and strong curries notoriously cause problems.

Say ‘No’ to Red Wine and Caffeine as studies show that women who drink either (or both) of these substances are more prone to menopausal hot flashes.

Supplements can be very useful for treating hot flashes and night sweats. They’re ideal if you prefer to take a natural approach to wellbeing, or aren’t suitable for mainstream hormone-replacement therapy. Common choices include Black Cohosh, Stinging Nettle, Thyme, Sage and Vitamin E.

Relaxation Techniques are helpful because they reduce stress hormones in your bloodstream. Adrenaline, a stress hormone, increases your core temperature and makes you more prone to sweating and overheating. Try massage, meditation, yoga, pilates and deep breathing.

Acupuncture is a safe and effective hot flushes treatment. It stimulates the release of neurotransmitters that help you relax and feel good.

Find A Professional

The following health experts can help you cool down:

  • Naturopaths
  • Nutritionists
  • Acupuncturists
  • Ayurveda Practitioners
  • Massage Therapists
  • Reflexologists
  • Yoga Instructors
  • Meditation Teachers

Supporting Someone With Hot Flushes

Here’s how to support someone dealing with hot flushes:

  1. Be understanding. If you’re around when your friend has a hot flash, don’t embarrass them. Instead, be supportive and understand if they need to temporarily stop what they’re doing to deal with their symptoms.
  2. Offer water. You can help your friend cool down by offering them a glass of water during their ‘episode’. The sooner their body can cool down internally, the quicker their hot flash can pass.
  3. Eat mindfully. If you’re sharing meals with a friend who’s prone to hot flushes, suggest mildly flavoured dishes that aren’t loaded with spices. This could be the difference between you having a fun, or stressful, time together.


What causes hot flashes?

The main cause of hot flushes is fluctuating hormone levels before, during and after menopause. Researchers are still trying to understand why this phenomenon occurs. Other causes include:

  • Low testosterone (common in men)
  • Infections
  • Medication side effects
  • Overactive thyroid
  • Cancer.


What do hot flashes feel like?

Hot flushes make you suddenly feel very warm and uncomfortable internally. As a rising heat moves through your face, neck and chest, you begin sweating and your heart rate increases. If the hot flash lasts for more than a few moments, you may feel anxious. As you cool, you may be a little chilly as your temperature regulates.


What helps hot flushes?

  1. Dress in layers to stay cool
  2. Limit spicy foods, red wine and caffeine
  3. Supplements that support hormone health, e.g. Black Cohosh, Stinging Nettle, Thyme, Vitamin E
  4. Acupuncture
  5. Miminse stress

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