Hot Flashes

Hot flashes are subjectively uncomfortable sensations of heat that spreads throughout the body including limbs and head. Such hot flushes are often accompanied by a bout of palpitations and sweating. It is often a hormone-dependent problem of women.

Causes

Menopause

Hot flashes are typical for women in menopause. They are related to hormone levels changes and slowly disappear after menopause’s end. Some hormonal preparations may be administered to delay these symptoms but their long-lasting usage may increase the risk of certain gynecological tumors such as breast cancer. The only safe option of menopausal hot flash "treatment" is physiotherapy, psychotherapy and methods of alternative medicine.

Overactive thyroid gland

Feeling hot, intolerance to elevated temperature and hand tremor, these are the symptoms of overproduction of thyroid hormones. It occurs more often in women and the therapy usually means the administration of drugs suppressing thyroid function.

Dietary influence

Some foods can cause a sudden feeling of heat and sweating. It is a usual problem with food containing a substance known as capsaicin. This compound can cause sudden dilation of blood vessels in the body (including skin blood vessels) which then leads to facial flushing and hot flashes. Sometimes it can even cause a collapse. High levels of capsaicin are found mainly in chili peppers.

Psyche

We should not forget psychological causes of patient’s complaints. Emotional instability, stress situations and panic attacks can all lead to sudden feeling of heat, which can be combined with other symptoms (e.g. chest pain, shortness of breath, hand tremor, etc.).

Carcinoid

Carcinoid is a relatively rare cancer that occurs mainly in the intestines and lungs. It produces a number of substances that can cause symptoms known as carcinoid syndrome. This includes diarrhea, abdominal pain, weight loss, facial flushing, hot flashes, shortness of breath, cough and palpitations. These symptoms have paroxysmal character with a sudden start and end.

Diagnostic approach

Medical history is important, especially information about known present diseases, other symptoms and current medication. Blood tests are needed to evaluate thyroid hormones levels.