What are hot flashes?
Hot flashes are when your body suddenly feels warmth. In some cases, it can cause sweating which can range from mild to severe. Sometimes these are called hot flushes which are more common in women, but they can also occur in men. It can be unpleasant, but there are treatments that can help. It can have different severity and can be long-lasting.
Some hot flashes pass after a few seconds, while a long one may go on for more than 10 minutes. On average, it lasts about four minutes.
How bad are my hot flashes?
Mild: Mild symptoms; intervention not indicated
Moderate: Moderate symptoms; limiting instrumental activities of daily life (preparing meals, managing money, shopping, doing housework, and using a telephone).
Severe: Severe symptoms; limiting self-care activities of daily life (eating, dressing, getting into or out of a bed or chair, taking a bath or shower, and using the toilet).
How to manage mild hot flashes?
- Open windows and keep fans running to get air moving through your home.
- Wear loose-fitting cotton clothing.
- Try breathing deeply and slowly to help reduce symptoms.
- Relaxation techniques or stress reduction. Try to decrease stress and anxiety.
- During hypnosis, a therapist can help you relax and focus on feeling cool. Hypnosis also may help you lower your heart rate, lessen stress, and balance your body temperature.
- Acupuncture can help with hot flashes. If you are interested in acupuncture, ask your physician if it might be an option for you.
How to manage moderate and severe hot flashes?
If it affects your daily activities or nighttime sleep, consider seeing your doctor for treatment options.
What are the causes?
- Certain types of cancer treatments
- Certain types of medicines (opioids, steroids)
- Hormone therapy for breast cancer
- Caffeine intake
- Eating disorders
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