Complete Symptom Guide Menopause Hot Flashes | Stella

Menopause hot flashes


Hot flashes and their partner in crime, night sweats, are a very frustrating part of menopause for many. Why do you have them and how can you manage them?


It’s when you have a sudden creeping or sweeping heat across the upper body that lasts a few minutes. Hot flashes can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. They have a habit of appearing at the most inconvenient times!

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  • These symptoms are experienced by three out of four people during menopause
  • Menopause generally begins at 50-55. Hot flashes may start a few years before periods stop and stop a few years after menopause ends
  • Research has revealed that, on average, you can experience hot flashes for an average of 10 years
  • What you eat, drink, and if you smoke – can make you more susceptible to hot flashes

Read more about the stages of menopause.


A sudden feeling of heat sweeping across your upper body

Visibly turning red or having blotches on your face, neck, and/or chest

Sweating profusely and randomly during the day or at night

A rapid heartbeat and/or palpitations

Night sweats

Night sweats are hot flashes that happen during the night and can be uncomfortable and upsetting as well as disrupting your sleep, leaving you exhausted the next day.

You may suddenly wake up drenched on your neck, chest, head, and elsewhere on your body. You may even soak through and need to change your bedding. Read more about night sweats in our symptoms library.

Treatment for hot flashes in menopause

When you have a hot flash, blood vessels near your skin’s surface dilate to release heat. It makes your skin flush red and your body sweat to try and cool down. Avoiding triggers that can cause your blood vessels to dilate can help with hot flashes.

1. Avoid alcohol. This will make a big impact, especially red wine. It also disrupts sleep and blood-sugar balance.

2. Watch your diet. Avoid spicy foods, such as chilies, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Reduce caffeine, by reducing coffee, black tea, green tea, and energy drinks.

3. Follow a diet low in saturated fat and salt, and high in Vitamin D and calcium. Eating foods rich in phytoestrogens – such as soy products and certain grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables –  that mimic estrogen, might help.

4. Quit smoking. Smokers have more hot flashes than non-smokers.

5. Keep cool: Helpful tips include wearing lightweight layers you can remove quickly – you can also buy menopause-friendly nightwear engineered to wick away sweat. Use sheets and blankets for bedding instead of a duvet, so you can adapt to your temperature easily. Invest in a cooling face spray and fan for when the hot flashes hit.

6. Watch your stress. Practice mindfulness, and have plenty of breaks and time for yourself.

Can hormone therapy (HT) help?

Yes. HT is known to improve sleep, mood and hot flushes during menopause. HRT comes with risks and is not suitable for everyone. Read more about HT risks and benefits.

It might be that your healthcare provider recommends another medicine, such as certain antidepressants that can help with hot flashes. Speak to your healthcare provider about your personal treatment options.

Hot flashes and menopause FAQs

It’s not certain why hot flashes happen. It is believed that declining hormone levels can affect the part of the brain that controls body temperature, the hypothalamus.

This means the body incorrectly identifies a temperature rise, which in turn dilates blood vessels and causes sweat breakouts. In most cases, the body resets itself over time and regulates temperature correctly again.

Hot flashes are rarely caused by anything other than menopause but you may get symptoms as a result of:

  • Medication
  • Something you have eaten or drunk, such as spices, caffeine, or alcohol
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Illness, such as fever
  • Thyroid issues
  • Diabetes

 Always talk to your healthcare provider to rule out any health issues.

Hot flashes are not immediately damaging or dangerous to you. Hot flashes and night sweats can disrupt sleep, which can impact your day-to-day ability to function.

Recent research has revealed a link between hot flashes and heart health – adjusting lifestyle factors can minimize your risk.

There is also a link between a lack of sleep and dementia. With more than two-thirds of Alzheimer’s patients being women, managing hot flashes and night sweats is important for long-term brain health.

If you are one of the one in 10 who finds hot flashes unbearable, don’t suffer alone and ask your healthcare provider for help. If you have additional symptoms such as weight loss, diarrhea, weakness, fatigue or rapid heartbeat then see your healthcare provider.

I can now keep calm if I feel heat coming on and remind myself that the moment will pass”



How to deal with embarrassing symptoms at work. Read more


How outdoor swimming soothes my menopausal symptoms. Read more

HT risks and benefits. Read more

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