A hot flash happens when mild or intense heat causes facial flushing, as well as flushing on the chest and neck and an increased heart rate. Excessive sweating also occurs during a hot flash. A hot flash is often a menopausal symptom in older women, but the symptom can also affect younger women due to a number of other health conditions.
- Premature Failure of the Ovaries – This condition is characterized by the ovaries losing their ability to function normally before a woman is 40. When the ovaries are not working correctly, they can not produce adequate estrogen or eggs. This can cause several symptoms, including infertility. Premature ovarian failure symptoms include irregular or skipped periods, decreased sex drive, vaginal dryness, inability to concentrate, and hot flashes. The ovaries can also fail prematurely due to defects in the chromosomes or toxin exposure, chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Hormone replacement therapy is the main treatment for premature ovarian failure, along with calcium and vitamin D supplementation.
- High Levels of Estrogen – In a normal women’s reproductive cycle, an egg is released from the ovaries every 28 days or so. While the egg is waiting to be fertilized, the body’s estrogen levels become higher. If the egg isn’t fertilized, the body’s estrogen levels return to their normal state and are again balanced with the hormone progesterone. Sometimes, the ovaries will fail to release the egg during the 28-day cycle. When this happens, estrogen levels are higher for a longer period of time. This can cause dysfunctional bleeding in the uterus, which is actually abnormal vaginal bleeding that is classified as a late period, spotting between periods or very heavy periods. In addition to the bleeding, other symptoms like mood swings, more body hair, vaginal dryness and hot flashes may occur. Excessive blood loss can cause fatigue and anemia. Unhealthy bleeding in the uterus caused by an imbalance of hormones is often corrected with birth control pills or an intrauterine device. Women who want to become pregnant can take medication that promotes ovulation. Those who have anemia due to abnormal uterine bleeding are prescribed iron supplements.
- Panic Attacks – Panic attacks are dreadful and fearful episodes that make a person edgy and overly emotional; they happen suddenly and don’t have any known trigger. Besides fear, other symptoms occur with panic attacks, like excessive sweating, shaking, chest pain, increased heart rate, numbness and tingling in the arms and legs, shortness of breath, weakness, dizziness and hot flashes. A person must experience at least four of these symptoms simultaneously to be having a panic attack. A treatment plant that includes medication and therapy is often suggested for people with panic attacks; the treatment usually lasts for six to nine months.