What IS a hot flash?

For those of you who are just beginning this wonderful process, here we can narrow down the symptoms and ask questions like "am I starting perimenopause?"

What IS a hot flash?

Postby minniepauz » Thu Apr 10, 2008 8:08 am

I thought this was very interesting:

While the mechanism of this is not fully understood, it looks as though a hot flash results from a delusion on the part of the hypothalamus (a portion of the brain that is the master conductor for a number of hormone interactions) that your core body temperature has just zoomed up. In panic, the hypothalamus releases a flood of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine (which you'll recall is boosted by estrogen—hmmm) into the system to cause sweating and peripheral dilation of the blood vessels (which is why your face flushes). These tactics are intended to dump body heat by radiation and evaporation. They also result in a massive increase in the amount of fatty acids in the blood.

Meanwhile, your pituitary gland has kept its wits about it and refuses to go along with the panic. It lets loose with a blast of ACTH (another hormone) to send the message to the hypothalamus that it's time to chill out—which the body obligingly does. The hot flash is over and, because you didn't really need to drop your temperature, you are now chilled.

But wait—there's more! The ACTH blast calls up your basic stress hormone, cortisol, which then signals your body to store all that circulating fat instead of burning it. And there you have it: not only hot, sweaty, chilled, embarrassed, but on your way to being a little fatter besides. This, as one of our dear friends puts it, vacuums.
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Re: What IS a hot flash?

Postby warminspringsun » Tue Apr 15, 2008 3:31 pm

Hi Dee

thanks for that it was the best explanation I've come across so far :smilebox: My hot flushes have not been as bad today but I have the horrible indigestion back again :banghead: The joys of menopause (not)

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Re: What IS a hot flash?

Postby GreenEyez » Wed Apr 16, 2008 9:30 am

Really interesting, Dee, and would answer why when my flashes are at their worst, if I had them hit me with piles of adrenaline at night, I would get up and do a bit of exercise to get rid of the [what I presume is] norepinephrine ....feels like adrenaline...but the slight bit of exercise calms them down. I don't know if this would work for all women, but it has for me. It also has kept my weight in normal limits, and I would so love to have a little more weight at this time of life, but Peri seemed to suck it off me. .....for now... :roll: During my 40's I was far heavier than I am now at just turned 50.

I also take a baby aspirin every couple of days for those fatty acids, although I am not sure I should be doing that.

Great article, and makes sense!

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Re: What IS a hot flash?

Postby ms_linda » Thu Apr 17, 2008 9:14 am

minniepauz wrote:I thought this was very interesting:

While the mechanism of this is not fully understood, it looks as though a hot flash results from a delusion on the part of the hypothalamus (a portion of the brain that is the master conductor for a number of hormone interactions) that your core body temperature has just zoomed up. In panic, the hypothalamus releases a flood of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine (which you'll recall is boosted by estrogen—hmmm) into the system to cause sweating and peripheral dilation of the blood vessels (which is why your face flushes). These tactics are intended to dump body heat by radiation and evaporation. They also result in a massive increase in the amount of fatty acids in the blood.

Meanwhile, your pituitary gland has kept its wits about it and refuses to go along with the panic. It lets loose with a blast of ACTH (another hormone) to send the message to the hypothalamus that it's time to chill out—which the body obligingly does. The hot flash is over and, because you didn't really need to drop your temperature, you are now chilled.

But wait—there's more! The ACTH blast calls up your basic stress hormone, cortisol, which then signals your body to store all that circulating fat instead of burning it. And there you have it: not only hot, sweaty, chilled, embarrassed, but on your way to being a little fatter besides. This, as one of our dear friends puts it, vacuums.


Hmm, now that just adds to my quandary. As the pituitary gland also controls the thyroid and too adrenal glands (cortisol) come into play with thyroid problems. If you have low cortisol it can really screw up how you feel and the amount of thyroid meds you need or do not need. I know about 6 weeks into me adjusting and researching the heck out of hypothyroidism I was about 80% sure I was being messed up by two things. The more I read the more I KNOW I was being messed up by more then my thyroid med adjustment. Now I am 110% sure, yes one hundred ten percent!
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Re: What IS a hot flash?

Postby Kathie in FL » Sun Apr 20, 2008 4:55 pm

GreenEyez wrote:Really interesting, Dee, and would answer why when my flashes are at their worst, if I had them hit me with piles of adrenaline at night, I would get up and do a bit of exercise to get rid of the [what I presume is] norepinephrine ....feels like adrenaline...but the slight bit of exercise calms them down. I don't know if this would work for all women, but it has for me. It also has kept my weight in normal limits, and I would so love to have a little more weight at this time of life, but Peri seemed to suck it off me. .....for now... :roll: During my 40's I was far heavier than I am now at just turned 50.

I also take a baby aspirin every couple of days for those fatty acids, although I am not sure I should be doing that.

Great article, and makes sense!

Greeneyez :wink:


Exercise does not help my hot flashes, all the other symptoms YES, hot flashes no. IN fact I think it makes them worse! Nothing worse than getting a hot flash while I am in my aerobic class!! I think drinking COLD, ice cold water helps them not feel as bad.

As for the weight, I am the opposite, I want to eat like a piggy! All goes to the waist!
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Re: What IS a hot flash?

Postby danmia » Sat May 17, 2008 11:13 pm

Well I don't care what causes them anymore, all I know is, my newest symptom is hot flashes every half hour all day and night, super......oh and the empty indigestion rubbish is back again........joy, joy, joy. But hey I'm still smiling......hahaha and still working at 11.12pm at night, deadlines are a pain in the butt!!!
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Re: What IS a hot flash?

Postby warminspringsun » Sun May 18, 2008 3:17 pm

Hi Danmia

sorry to hear your indigestion is back, mine comes and goes but has not been as bad recently as it was (so far) I try not to take any notice of it now when I do get it, if hungry I just eat more :| if heartburn/indigestion I just take gaviscon that helps it a bit.

The hot flushes are continuous though some nights they are worse than others.

Do you have aches and pains as well? That is my latest complaint on the meno road.

Mood wise I seem to be ok at the moment :) hope you are too

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Re: What IS a hot flash?

Postby danmia » Sun May 18, 2008 4:17 pm

Yep aches and pains have now entered the fun time menopause symptoms. My back mostly at night, and my arms too but that's more because of my work I think I have carpel tunnel in both of my wrists. I get a lot of pins and needles too now at night just can't seem to find a good comfy position anymore. The indigestion rubbish is a bit better today, like I said Prilosec and the occasional Zantac work really well. Gas X for the bloating and gas. Meclizine for the nausea and the list goes on an on and on........ :lol:
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Re: What IS a hot flash?

Postby CindyLou » Tue May 27, 2008 7:47 am

Hi, all. I'm looking for hot flash relief. Can someone steer me in the right direction to an informational thread? Lots of stuff to read here and it looks like a great place to commiserate. :)

I'm taking vitamin E, soy isoflavones, and black cohosh, but I'm still experimenting to find what works. I had a rough night with the hot sweats last night. :(
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Re: What IS a hot flash?

Postby minniepauz » Wed May 28, 2008 5:24 pm

Sounds like you've made a good start CindyLou. How long have you been taking that combination? Sometimes it takes months before you notice any relief. You still might benefit from additional things like the wicking sleepwear (or sheets), a cooling device that slips into your pillowcase, or a fan that blows air under the sheets. Some people have to use every tool possible! Welcome to our forum!
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Re: What IS a hot flash?

Postby GrandmaGreathouse » Wed May 28, 2008 7:55 pm

[quote="minniepauz"] These tactics are intended to dump body heat by radiation and evaporation. quote]

I wondered if I was glowing in the dark at night! Why else would I wake up! *hot* *cold* *hot* *cold*
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Re: What IS a hot flash?

Postby CindyLou » Wed May 28, 2008 10:40 pm

Last night I tried a Walgreens supplement that's a copy of Estroven PM and I did much better. Got more sleep than the night before and significantly less hot flashes. In fact, all day today I've had fewer hot flashes than usual.

It has in it 80 mg of black cohosh, lots of vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, valerian and some other herbs including hops. That was the only supplement I took yesterday and I took it right before bed, as directed.

They claim on the package that you might see benefits right away but that you'd have increased benefits by continuing to use it nightly. We'll see how it does tonight. If it doesn't work, I'll be back looking to try something new.

Thanks for the welcome and the suggestions about the other products.

In my previous post, I mentioned that I was taking soy isoflavones and black cohosh. I'd been taking it every morning for about three weeks, but I felt it wasn't giving me enough relief. This was in a single supplement called Nature's Woman, also by Walgreens, but the black cohosh in that is only 40 mg.
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Re: What IS a hot flash?

Postby SuperNanaMom46 » Wed Feb 11, 2009 12:47 pm

Hi everyone! I am new here, and while I don't feel qualified to give advice, I can share with you what has helped me out rescently with the hot flashes. I have been doing all of the traditional reccommendations ... like the diet, working on the stress factor, I also have been taking the cohosh, up-ed the E and B and added the soy proteins. But the one thing that I know has helped me is eleminating caffeine. I feel like I have lost my best friend ... but I do think it has helped me. (wow, I am having my first hot flash of the day right now) how friggin weird is that! Anyway, with the energy loss being a factor my coffee and diet Mountain Dew has (what seemed to help) pushed me through the day. Well, I read about the effects that caffeine has on you with menopause, and I stopped. Its killing me, but I only had one "Night Sweat" last night. So, I think it is helping. I'm so glad I happened onto this site! Although I do feel sorta overwhelmed sometimes reading all of the different things that everyone is doing and trying. I guess its just a trial thing, everyone is different and not one size fits all. And, I know not everyone drinks caffeine, but if you do ... try going without for a while and see if you can tell a difference.

Have a great day and live everyday as though it were your last!! :)
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Re: What IS a hot flash?

Postby snoopy » Mon Feb 16, 2009 12:29 pm

I don't care what it is I just want them to go away!!!!!! :banghead:
I want to weigh what I used to weigh back when I thought I WAS FAT!
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Re: What IS a hot flash?

Postby Oakinski » Fri Jul 31, 2009 4:03 pm

New to this site . . . I am 48, never had kids, still having a period, although it hasn't been my "normal" for the last 2 years, and If what I am getting are not hot flashes, than I can't imagine what the full fledged flashes are like. I'm at the breaking point as far as finding a way to get rid of the flashes, something has got to give. I was on the Hyster Sisters website and someone mentioned "Wisdom Menopause Formula - "The One That Works" Fast Acting Herbal Solution for Menopausal Symptoms- Hormone Free", have any of you taken this, is it safe, any thoughts???

Thanks sisters for being there for discussions.

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