Dealing With Hot Flashes

By: Erica Proffer Email
By: Erica Proffer Email

It’s been described as the hottest summer day. Hot flashes are something 80-percent of women experience.

"It's like somebody takes a hot poker from your waist up. It's very warm, very hot; all of the sudden, intense heat," says Dr. Ellen Phillips, with Dothan OBGYN, Inc.

Dr. Phillips is talking about hot flashes.

It’s something nearly every woman experiences in her life.

"It can be anything from a warm feeling all over, or it can be true hot flashes where from the waist up you get hot, red, splotchy, perspiration across the forehead. They can last 30 seconds up to 10 minutes," says Dr. Phillips.

Scientists may not have exactly figured out the biology behind the symptoms, but say it's caused by low levels of estrogen.

"Women who are overweight tend to have more hot flashes. So, if you can aim to get yourself to your ideal body weight as you head towards menopause, that's ideal, for your health, too," says Obstetrician/Gynecologist Dr. Mary Jane Minkin.

Many women dismiss the condition as part of aging, but it can lead to other health risks, including problems with sleeping and performing daily tasks.

"When they start to have an impact on your life, or on your daily living activities, that's when I would have somebody evaluate. You have to rule out other things. And really, any time you should probably have the thyroid checked to make sure that's not the cause of the hot flashes," explains Dr. Phillips.

While treatment isn't required, doctors stress the importance of talking with your health care professional to see if treatment, like taking estrogen, which is preferred.

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