Magazine article Newsweek

Hot Flashes; I Just Had My First Hot Flash, and It Was a Freaky Sensation. What Exactly Is Going on in My Body?

Magazine article Newsweek

Hot Flashes; I Just Had My First Hot Flash, and It Was a Freaky Sensation. What Exactly Is Going on in My Body?

Article excerpt

Byline: Pat Wingert and Barbara Kantrowitz

More than three quarters of American women suffer from hot flashes during the menopause transition. This means, of course, that a lucky minority of women don't. Our question is: who are these women, and where are they hiding? Everyone we know has experienced the unwelcome sensation of sudden heat more than once, and often in an embarrassing situation: in the middle of a conversation, during an introduction to someone new, rushing to meet a deadline. The heat spreads from your torso to your face. Some women appear flushed; many experience rapid heartbeat and a rush of anxiety. This can happen a few times a day or almost every hour. There's no rule. You may feel as if you're on fire, but your internal body temperature doesn't change. What does heat up is the temperature of your skin, and it can rise as much as seven degrees, although between one and four degrees is more typical. Generally, you'll cool down in a few minutes, although some women have individual hot flashes that last as long as a half hour. (See, it could be worse!) The average length is between 30 seconds and five minutes.

No one knows exactly what happens to your body during a hot flash, but it appears that changes in our brain chemistry have something to do with it. One theory is that these changes may affect the hypothalamus, a region of the brain that controls all kinds of things: blood pressure, fluid and electrolyte balance, and body temperature. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.