Hot flash

Anatomy of a hot flash

About 75 percent of women experience hot flashes, which lead about 10 to 20 percent of women to seek professional help. Most hot flashes occur during the first two years after menopause and lessen thereafter. Of women with hot flashes, 85 percent have them for more than one year and 20 to 50 percent for up to five years.

Aura – Lasts one minute
Some women experience an aura first – they “just don’t feel normal.” These feelings may be accompanied by rapid or irregular heartbeats, headache, weakness, faintness, anxiety or dizziness.

Hot flash and hot flush
– Last five minutes

Most women first notice an intense feeling of warmth throughout the upper body, called the “hot flash.” A “hot flush” usually follows, with visible redness and perspiration on the upper chest, neck and face. Increases in skin temperature, blood flow and heart rate may occur.

Getting back to normal
– Takes 30 minutes

Most often, the entire episode ends with significant sweating and a cold, clammy, chilled feeling.
Hot flash and hot flush

Estrogen replacement therapy is a common medical treatment for hot flash. Exercise can lessen symptoms, as can acupressure for sweating. Have a fan handy, and start fanning when the hot flash starts can lessen the intensity or duration of the flash. Ice water, cold pack, cold wet cloth can also be used.

Text and illustrations by Kevin T. Boyd

Acupressure for sweating
Here is a list of acupressure points for Sweating on