Embracing the Hot Flashes After Menopause: Understanding, Coping, and Finding Relief

Monali Sharma
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
Dr. Akansha is a licensed Clinical Pharmacologist. She possesses remarkable knowledge in Pharmacovigilance, prescription analysis, drug information, and drug safety services. Additionally, she is a keen learner and an educator.

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hot flashes after menopause

Menopause brings about several changes in a woman’s body.

Hot flashes are one of the most common and bothersome symptoms experienced during this phase.

A hot flash is a sharp sensation of heat and sweating, most notably on the upper body.

Women may experience hot flashes during the entire course of the Menopausal transition, including Perimenopause and Postmenopause.

As many as 79% of women experience hot flashes after Menopause is achieved.

These sudden waves of intense heat can significantly affect a woman’s quality of life.

Read on to gain insights into the causes and treatment options to alleviate hot flashes after Menopause effectively.

Hot Flashes: the phenomenon

Hot flash and hot flush are used interchangeably and are typically synonymous.

These are characterized by sudden feelings of intense internal heat that spreads across the body, particularly the face, neck, and chest.

They are frequently accompanied by sweating, flushed skin, chills, and a rapid heartbeat.

These episodes can last a few seconds to several minutes and may happen numerous times throughout the day or night.

When they occur at night, they are referred to as night sweats.

More than 80% of women experience hot flashes during Menopause.

They can vary in how long they last, how intense they are, and how often they occur.

A small percentage of women report not having hot flashes at all.

During the transition to Menopause, the frequency and severity of hot flashes may increase, reaching their peak around one year after the final menstrual period.

These episodes can persist for six months to several years but typically diminish in both frequency and intensity over time after the final menstrual period.

Warning:
Hot flashes not only affect the quality of life but also indicate a higher risk of Cardiovascular Disease, possibly due to activation of the sympathetic nervous system.

Can you have hot flashes after Menopause

Most women experience hot flashes for a period of one to two years, but approximately 15% of women may endure them continuously for 10, 20, or even 30 years.

The prevalence of hot flashes was found to range from 33-66% during the Menopausal transition period.

It rose as high as 79% in women who were in the Postmenopausal period.

Therefore, It is possible to have hot flashes long after Menopause.

However, it is a normal phenomenon and can be effectively managed with lifestyle and medical interventions.

Before we discuss the management strategies, let’s understand what causes hot flashes after Menopause.

Info:
While hot flashes typically start during the Menopausal transition, there are cases where they can occur even when menstrual cycles are still regular.

Causes

The exact mechanism behind the occurrence of hot flashes is not fully understood.

However, they are believed to be caused by changes in the central nervous system associated with Estrogen withdrawal.

Hypothalamus, the brain component that regulates body temperature, plays a crucial role in triggering these episodes.

Decreased Estrogen levels lead to an imbalance in the body’s thermoregulatory processes, specifically in the hypothalamus.

That imbalance causes the hypothalamus to interpret small temperature oscillations as major changes.

It leads the hypothalamus to trigger cooling mechanisms such as flushing and sweating, i.e. hot flashes.

Managing hot flashes after Menopause

No two women have the same experiences with hot flashes in terms of time, age, severity, and frequency.

For many women, hot flashes remain unproblematic, and they do not need treatment.

However, if hot flashes impair a woman’s quality of life, it is vital to consider the necessary management techniques and medication.

Here are a few effective solutions to minimize the hot flash troubles:

Lifestyle modifications

Coffee cupSource: xijian_from_Getty_Images
Avoid coffee

Making simple changes to your lifestyle can provide considerable relief from hot flashes.

It has been observed that there are certain trigger elements behind hot flashes. 

These vary with each woman and include warm environments, hot drinks, emotional stress, caffeine, and alcohol.

Some women may experience Menopause hot flashes after eating spicy food.

Hence, hot flashes can be minimized significantly if these triggers can be avoided.

Lifestyle habits such as layering clothes, maintaining a lower room temperature, and drinking cool drinks can help reduce sudden fluctuations in body temperature.

This, in turn, can further minimize hot flashes.

Hot flashes are more prevalent among both current and former smokers.

Therefore, giving up smoking could also provide soothing relief from hot flashes.

There was a significant correlation between obesity and the duration of moderate/severe hot flashes.

Exercising and other techniques to reduce weight help alleviate episodes of hot flashes. 

Hormone Therapy (HT)

In cases where hot flashes profoundly affect a woman’s well-being, Hormone Therapy may be proposed as a viable option to alleviate the symptoms.

However, it is vital to carefully weigh the individual risks and benefits before undergoing Hormone Therapy, as it may not suit everyone.

HT can be given in various ways, including orally, through injections, topically, by placing it on the inside of the cheek, vaginally, or through the skin.

This therapy involves the administration of Estrogen or a combination of Estrogen and Progestin to help restore hormone balance.

Systemic Estrogen has shown the best results in treatment for hot flashes, resulting in a 75% reduction in the frequency of hot flashes after Menopause.

Progesterone treatment should be a consideration in women who cannot take Estrogen therapy.

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Get your supply of Estrogen in Climara Forte and find relief from hot flashes as well as vaginal dryness, hot flashes, irritation, or burning. Speak to your doctor first.

Non-hormonal medications

A few non-hormonal have been found to be effective in reducing hot flashes, including:

  • Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Paroxetine
  • Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs) such as Venlafaxine, Desvenlafaxine
  • Gabapentin/Pregabalin
  • Clonidine

These medications function by influencing the brain chemicals responsible for regulating body temperature.

The FDA approved Paroxetine as the first non-hormonal prescription medication for treating Menopausal vasomotor symptoms, including hot flashes.

Complementary and alternative therapies

Black cohosh plantSource: User10095428_393_from_Getty_Images
Black cohosh plant

Some women may find relief from hot flashes through complementary and alternative therapies.

Stress-reducing practices like deep breathing exercises or meditation can help reduce the hot flashes discomfort.

Herbal remedies such as black cohosh, soy extract, red clover isoflavones, or evening primrose oil may also be beneficial.

However, it is essential to consult a doctor before trying alternative treatments.

Summary

Hot flashes are a common and bothersome symptom during this phase, often causing distress and significantly impacting a woman’s daily life.

They are characterized by an abrupt sensation of heat and sweating, primarily in the upper body.

They are believed to be triggered by changes in the central nervous system due to Estrogen withdrawal.

However, they are considered a normal phenomenon and can be effectively managed through lifestyle changes, Hormone Therapy or medications, and alternative therapies.

It is crucial to consult with a doctor before adopting any management regimen for hot flashes after Menopause. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why am I having hot flashes after Menopause?

Though Menopause-related hot flashes generally fade away after 6–24 months. However, many women continue to experience hot flashes and night sweats for a much longer duration, with estimates ranging between 7 and 11 years. Adopting management techniques can help minimize them.

How long will hot flashes last after Menopause?

The length of time that hot flashes last after Menopause differs for each woman. On average, hot flashes may continue for 4-5 years after Menopause. However, on a positive note, they gradually become less frequent and intense as the body adapts to Postmenopausal hormone balance.

Are hot flashes normal years after Menopause?

It is normal to continue experiencing hot flashes for years after Menopause. It has been observed that hot flashes can persist for an extended duration for some women. The average period for hot flashes in women’s life falls between 7 to 11 years.

How do you stop hot flashes after Menopause?

There are several strategies that can help manage hot flashes after Menopause, including Hormone Therapy, lifestyle modifications, relaxation techniques, regular exercise, and herbal and prescription medications. Prior consultation with a doctor is advised to devise the most suitable options for your situation.

Citations:
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