Hot flashes normally occur for about 5 minutes or so. However, the duration and intensity of the hot flashes may differ among women. Some may start feeling it prior to menopause up until they are menopausal. The experience can occur repeatedly for more than seven years on average, but some may have hot flashes for almost 10 years.
What Causes This Feeling?
What exactly causes hot flashes is still unknown, although they are assumed to be linked to changes in the brain’s thermoregulatory region. This region regulates heat production and loss and is controlled by hormones.
Progesterone and estrogen levels fluctuate dramatically during preimenopause. This rollercoaster ride of hormones affects the hypothalamus, the part of the brain which controls appetite, sleep-wake cycles, sex hormones, and body temperature.
Hot flashes can also be influenced by different lifestyle factors and medications a woman takes.
Some of the identified triggers are:
- Eating spicy foods
- Wearing thick layers of clothing
- High room temperature
- High body mass index (BMI)
- Treatments to certain kinds of cancer
- Other comorbid health conditions (thyroid, diabetes, tuberculosis)
- Feelings of anxiety and stress