Hot Flushes are one of the most frequent symptoms associated with menopause and are experienced to some degree by 70-75% of women.
Hot flushes tend to start just before the menopause and may last for two to three years. However some women may experience hot flushes up to two years before menopause and in about 10% of women they may last for several years.
Hot flushes vary in intensity and some women only experience a few seconds of feeling ‘warm’ around the face. For others a hot flush can involve a dramatic rise in temperature throughout the body along with feelings of dizziness, nausea and faintness.
The most common cause of a hot flush associated with the menopause is the changing level of oestrogen in the body. This has a direct affect on the hypothalamus, which is a part of the brain responsible for controlling appetite, sleep cycles, sex hormones and body temperature.
For some reason the drop in oestrogen confuses the hypothalamus and makes it think the body is too hot. The brain responds immediately in a number of ways; your heart pumps faster, the blood vessels in your skin dilate to circulate more blood to radiate off the heat, and your sweat glands release sweat.