A typical episode of hot flash is characterized by sudden feeling of warmth on your face and upper body. You feel as if you have been shoved into an oven. During this period your face, chest and neck becomes red. You perspire heavily as your skin temperature abruptly rises. Usually it lasts from few seconds to 3 minutes after which the temperature returns to normal.
Hot flashes are commonly believed to occur among women in their menopausal or perimenopausal period. Although 80 percent of women have hot flashes as a menopausal symptom, there are many non menopausal reasons for hot flashes.A small number of men too experience hot flashes.
Right from eating spicy food to medical conditions and environmental changes, all can cause hot flashes. If you know the right causative trigger for this surge of intense heat, you can find a way to normalize your body’s thermostat that leads to intense heat and flushing.
What Causes Non Menopausal Hot Flashes?
The exact reason or an underlying mechanism of hot flashes is still not clearly understood by researchers. This sudden and intense rise of heat in the body is believed to be caused due to dysfunction in the temperature regulating portion of the brain called hypothalamus gland.A hormonal alteration in the body is believed to be the reason.
Low level of estrogen hormone during menopause may be one of the causes for malfunctioning of hypothalamus. But there are many other non menopausal triggers suspected to cause discomforting hot flushes. They are as follows:
- Food: Eating spicy and hot food brings about sudden episode of hot flushes. It is body’s response to the spicy food. In the same way, caffeinated drinks and alcohol are two other reasons that can cause obvious temporary flushing due to dilatation of capillaries under the skin.
- Medicines: Prescription medicines do have certain side effects. Hot flushes are a side effect of certain medicines. Certain anti depressants, anti psychotic, anti hypertensive, some medications used for treatment of breast cancer, may cause flushes on face.
- Thyroid disease: Hyperthyrodism is an endocrine disease. The thyroid gland located in the neck releases hormones to regulate metabolic activities of the body. However, in this condition the thyroid hormone produces excess of hormones. It results in increase of metabolic activity in the body. Hot flushes, reduced weight, excessive sweating, etc are some of its symptoms.
- Stress and excitement: Most of us experience hot flushes when you become anxious, stressed and excited. This feeling of warmth and heat in the body is caused due to rush of adrenalin hormone.
- Cancer: Pancreatic cancer, thyroid cancer, leukemia, and prostate cancer are known to cause slight shift in body’s thermostatic mechanism. It may cause sensation of overheating on the surface of skin. Besides hot flushes, there are many other symptoms such as sudden loss of weight, poor appetite, pain, etc which are usually absent in hot flashes caused by menopause.
- Extreme environmental heat: You may experience hot flashes on face and neck when you go out in hot sunny climate.
- Obesity: People who are overweight and have a high body mass index (BMI) are prone to develop frequent redness on face and chest.
Natural Treatment For Non Menopausal Hot Flashes
Hot flashes for many people may not be affecting their life, and they do not pay much attention to it. But there are others who may find it to be interfering in their daily activity. If you are sure that it is not menopausal related flashes, talk to your doctor.
Your doctor may do preliminary studies such as hormonal tests, asses your lifestyle and medical history to find the relevant cause. Accordingly he may recommend the treatment. For example if hyperthyroidism is the cause, he may prescribe medications for balancing thyroid hormone.
Certain home remedies and dietary changes are also worth a try to alleviate the discomforting symptom.
- A positive outlook is found to be an effective solution for combating hot flashes. When you feel surge of heat in the body, remind yourself that this phenomenon is normal and it will not last long. This positive mind set helps you to bear the problem.
- Learn relaxing techniques such as meditation and yoga when you are stressed and excited.
- Control the triggers such as hot spicy food, warm room, or a warm bed, alcohol and caffeinated drinks.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables in your diet. Eat salads and drink lemon juices, both have coolant effect on your body. Also drink enough water throughout the day.
- Alternative medicines such as acupressure and homeopathy are found to be effective in treatment of hot flashes.