If you are over 45 years old, you may be experiencing hot flashes caused by premenopause or menopause.
Premenoupause is early onset menopause, or premature ovarian failure, usually beginning before age 45.
Viola Davis, 51, recently discussed her experience with hot flashes.
The How to Get Away with Murder star sat down with late night talk TV host Jimmy Kimmel on Thursday.
The Oscar nominated actress described living with the symptoms of menopause.
"Can I just tell you, I had about five hot flashes during the Emmy Awards? So smiling during a hot flash is a hard thing," she said.
"It's like someone set you on fire for two minutes," she replied. "Listen they come in successions sometimes, so as soon as one is over then another one comes. Everyone else is like, 'It's freezing! It's freezing!' and you have sweat dripping..."
Hot flashes is one of the dreaded symptoms of menopause. But not all hot flashes are caused by menopause.
Hot flashes are believed to be caused by a sudden drop in hormone levels.
Hot flash symptoms include:
The sudden drop in hormones, particularly Estrogen, sends a signal to the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that regulates body temperature.
When your Estrogen drops, the hypothalamus increases production of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and leuteinizing hormone (LH). These hormones regulate your body temperature, sleep, and metabolic rate.
For some reason, the hypothalamus thinks the body is overheated when it's not.
Blood vessels in the skin dilate (widen) to release the excess heat even though the body temperature is normal.
When the blood vessels dilate, the sudden rush of heat causes the skin to feel hot and sweaty. When the blood vessels close the skin feels cool again.
Hot flashes can last from seconds to over an hour and from 1 per day to 20 per day.
Some women experience hot flashes anywhere from 6 months to 15 years.
There is an entire industry of unregulated pharmacies and soothsayers who claim to cure hot flashes.
The only real cure is to replace the lost estrogen with natural estrogens through hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Most doctors shy away from prescribing HRTs because of the known risk of developing breast cancer.
If you have a history of breast cancer in your family, you're at high risk of developing breast cancer on HRTs.
As someone who is taking hormone replacement myself, HRTs works 100% to relieve hot flashes.
Once you're on HRTs you will never feel a hot flash again -- as long as you are taking the right dosage and your hormones are balanced.
The tricky part is finding a doctor in your area who is very experienced with hormone replacement.
Doctors are supposed to monitor your lab work to make sure the therapy is working. But they don't.
Be careful, there are scam artists out there working under the guise of anti-aging clinics.
Hormone replacement with pellets costs anywhere from $300-$1000 per treatment.
Hormone replacement patches can be expensive and most are not covered by insurance.
The cheapest treatment are estrogen pills, capsules or creams. But most doctors won't prescribe those because they don't make money off them.
I had to go to 3 doctors to find one who would prescribe the Vivelle Dot patches for me.
The Vivelle Dot patches are a lifesaver. Before the patches, I was on the pellets which, for me, were a disaster.
Yes, the pellets eliminated the hot flashes. But then my hair thinned and fell out in clumps; I had mini flashes, I was nervous, moody and irritable all the time; and my sex drive was non-existent.
What I discovered was that the pellets do not deliver hormones in measured doses that last for any duration of time.
Based on your body weight or your level of activity, the hormones in the pellets can run out quickly. Then your symptoms return more aggressively.
After starting on the patches in 2015, everything returned to normal and I got my life back.
Some over the counter estrogen preparations are helpful but they don't prevent hot flashes.
For those who can't start hormone replacement therapy for whatever reason, there are still ways to relieve hot flashes -- although these methods will not prevent hot flashes.
Regular vigorous exercise release endorphins which may decrease hot flashes.
This has been your Medical Minute.
More Info On the Web
Hot Flashes Causes - Mayo Clinic
Hot Flashes - Drugs.com
Hot Flashes - Women Living Naturally
Causes of Non-Menopausal Hot Flashes - Healthline.com
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