What causes hot flashes?
Decreased estrogen levels associated with menopause affect your body’s ability to maintain a stable body temperature. A hot flash is actually your body trying to cool itself down. If your core temperature rises, your body will initiate mechanisms to help you cool down. You may produce more sweat, which will evaporate from your skin, producing a cooling effect. More commonly, your blood vessels will dilate (widen). This brings more blood to the surface of the skin, where it can lose heat into the surrounding air. This movement of blood causes you to feel hot, even though you’re actually losing body heat. During a hot flash, you lose a lot of body heat, which is why you can experience chills and shivering after a hot flash as your core temperature returns to normal.
What hormones cause hot flashes?
Hot flashes are caused by a decrease in estrogen, which affects your body’s temperature regulation. A decrease in estrogen levels is a key feature of menopause.
What triggers hot flashes?
Hot flashes can have a number of different triggers, but they are commonly related to other factors that can cause flushing e.g. warm clothing and spicy foods. Here is a list of common hot flash triggers:
- Feeling stressed
- High temperature
- Wearing thick clothing
- Certain medications or treatments
- Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, an overactive thyroid, and tuberculosis.
Which foods trigger hot flashes?
Certain foods and drinks can also trigger hot flashes, including:
- Spicy food