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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Medical Symptoms > Hot Flashes
      Category : Health Centers > Menopause

Hot Flashes

Alternate Names : Hot Flushes, Vasomotor Flushes

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

Hot flashes are the sensation of sudden flushing and sweating. This condition is felt by 3 out of every 4 women who go through the change of life, which is also known as menopause. It may also affect women who have had their ovaries removed.

What is going on in the body?

Menopause occurs when the ovaries stop working. The ovaries stop producing eggs as well as estrogen, one of the key female hormones. Menopause usually begins around the age of 50. Low estrogen levels may cause many changes in a woman's body, including hot flashes.

Hot flashes are the most common symptom of menopause. Of those women having hot flashes, 8 out of 10 have hot flashes for more than a year. One quarter to one half of these women may have hot flashes for up to 5 years if they do not receive hormone replacement therapy, also known as HRT.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

The exact cause for hot flashes is not known. Studies suggest that changing hormone levels change the part of the brain that regulates body temperature and the width of blood vessels. There are no known complications of hot flashes. Night sweats may cause chronic sleep loss, which can result in:

  • depression
  • chronic fatigue
  • car accidents


    Next section


    Hot Flashes: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Eva Martin, MD
    Reviewer: Kathleen A. MacNaughton, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 09/13/02

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