Sunday Herald Sun - Body and Soul - - B+S MEDICAL -

Hot flushes are the clas­sic menopausal symp­tom, where women ex­pe­ri­ence an over­whelm­ing sen­sa­tion of heat in the face or the whole body.

They can come on sud­denly, en­gulf­ing the whole body, so you find your­self re­peat­edly need­ing to strip off in a bid to cool down. They last three to five min­utes and can oc­cur as of­ten as ev­ery hour. Hot flushes are thought to be caused by an im­bal­ance in the brain’s tem­per­a­ture cen­tre, which is some­how de­pen­dent on oe­stro­gen. Oe­stro­gen lev­els fall dra­mat­i­cally (by 90 per cent in just a few years) dur­ing menopause and there can be un­pre­dictable fluc­tu­a­tions. When the brain thinks it is too hot, the blood ves­sels in the limbs di­late and skin tem­per­a­ture rises.

Not all woman ex­pe­ri­ence se­vere hot flushes. Twenty per cent ex­pe­ri­ence hardly any menopausal symp­toms, 60 per cent have oc­ca­sional symp­toms and only 20 per cent have se­vere symp­toms, for which there are a num­ber of treat­ment op­tions. Talk to your doc­tor about what is best for you.

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