Read below about hot flash, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your hot flash from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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8 Potential Hot Flash Causes

Disclaimer: The article does not replace an evaluation by a physician. Information on this page is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.

  1. 1.Premenstrual Syndrome

    Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a very common condition. PMS has a variety of symptoms including cramping, mood swings, food cravings, fatigue, irritability, breast tenderness & depression.

    Symptoms of premenstrual syndrome can last all the way into menopause.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    stomach bloating, anxiety, constipation, depressed mood, breast pain
    Symptoms that never occur with premenstrual syndrome:
    constant sadness, severe sadness, post-menopausal
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  2. 2.Symptoms of Menopause

    Menopause is the point in life where your period stops. This happens when the ovaries stop making hormones that keep your cycle going. The transition into menopause is called peri-menopause and can include symptoms like hot flashes, shortening of menstrual cycle and mood fluctuations.

    Hot flashes typically peak approximately 1 year after the final period and last 4-10 years. Most women stop having hot flashes 4 years after they start, but 10% of women may have hot flashes up to 12 years after their last period.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, delay in or irregular periods, vaginal discharge, anxiety, trouble sleeping
    Symptoms that always occur with symptoms of menopause:
    delay in or irregular periods
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  3. 3.Insomnia Disorder

    Insomnia is a very common sleep disorder that prevents one from falling asleep, staying asleep, or a combination of both.

    Condition is treatable with medication and behavior changes.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, irritability, difficulty concentrating, mild headache, insomnia
    Symptoms that always occur with insomnia disorder:
    trouble sleeping
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  4. 4.Panic Disorder

    Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder. It causes panic attacks, which are sudden feelings of terror without true danger. One may feel as if they are losing control or have physical symptoms like sweating or a racing heart.

    Chronic with relapses

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    anxiety, abdominal pain (stomach ache), nausea, stomach bloating, depressed mood
    Symptoms that always occur with panic disorder:
    anxiety
    Symptoms that never occur with panic disorder:
    agoraphobia
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

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  5. 5.Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

    Premenstrual dysmorphic disorder is a condition that occurs 5-11 days before menstruation that causes depression-like symptoms, where you have depression-like symptoms, irritability, and tension.

    Symptoms of premenstrual dysmorphic disorder can be managed with a healthy lifestyle. In severe cases, antidepressants may be useful.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, stomach bloating, anxiety, depressed mood, abdominal cramps (stomach cramps)
    Symptoms that always occur with premenstrual dysphoric disorder:
    impaired social or occupational functioning, symptoms of depression, anxiety and emotional lability
    Symptoms that never occur with premenstrual dysphoric disorder:
    constant sadness, post-menopausal
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  6. 6.Premature Ovarian Failure

    "Premature ovarian failure" (POF), also called "primary ovarian insufficiency" and "early menopause" happens when the ovaries stop working well too early in life. Naturally menopause occurs between the ages 45 and 55. Symptoms of menopause are changes in menstrual period, missing periods, hot flashes, mood changes and vaginal dryness.

    Indefinite

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, anxiety, irritability, vaginal itch or burning, muscle aches
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  7. 7.Klinefelter Syndrome

    Klinefelter syndrome is a genetic condition that results when a boy is born with an extra copy of the X chromosome. Klinefelter syndrome is a common genetic condition affecting males. Klinefelter syndrome adversely affects testicular growth, and this can result in smaller than normal testicles.

    Life long

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    decreased sex drive, irritability, fewer erections, small testes, attention problems
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  8. 8.Sheehan's Syndrome

    Sheehan's syndrome is a complication of excess blood loss or low pressure during delivery. It causes a decrease in necessary hormones.

    Lifelong condition but symptoms are well managed with hormone replacement therapy.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, loss of appetite, irregular period, unintentional weight loss, hair loss
    Symptoms that always occur with sheehan's syndrome:
    complications during pregnancy
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

FAQs About Hot Flash

Here are some frequently asked questions about hot flash.

How long do hot flashes last?

There is mixed data on how long hot flashes due to menopause last. Menopause has been thought to last no longer than a few years, but recent data suggests that most individuals have hot flashes for five to seven years after menopause, and as long as twenty years after or more.

What age to hot flashes start?

Hot flashes do not begin at a particular age. They begin just before or during menopause and can continue for a decade after in most women, and up to two decades after in rarer cases. The median (most common, not the average) age of menopause is 51.4 years and is defined as 12 months of amenorrhea. Nearly half of women will experience hot flashes by age 50.

What happens during a hot flash?

During a hot flash, the processes that allow the body to manage its temperature become temporarily dysfunctional. Additionally, inappropriate dilation or widening of blood vessels causes flushing, and sweating also increases significantly. These changes can chill the body temperature and cause shivering or chills at the end of a hot flash.

What causes menopause hot flashes?

Menopausal hot flashes are caused when the body begins to withdraw from estrogen. Women during menopause stop producing estrogen and as their body adapts to its absence. Normally, the body begins to sweat and the blood vessels dilate when the temperature increases by .5 degrees Celsius (or 1 degree F). During menopause, these effects occur much earlier. Estrogen tends to solve these problems.

What causes hot flushes apart from the menopause?

Hot flashes are not commonly caused by anything apart from menopause. Additionally, however, hot flashes can be caused by an excess of thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism). When a thyroid is overly active, it can cause an increase in thyroid hormone, which tends to advance the metabolism and cause an increase in body temperature and a subjective feeling of body temperature rising.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Hot Flash

  • Q.Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?
  • Q.Have you lost your appetite recently?
  • Q.Do you currently smoke?
  • Q.Do you have trouble sleeping?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our hot flash symptom checker to find out more.

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Hot Flash Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced hot flash have also experienced:

    • 7% Nausea
    • 5% Fatigue
    • 4% Abdominal Pain (Stomach Ache)
  • People who have experienced hot flash were most often matched with:

    • 14% Insomnia Disorder
    • 11% Symptoms of Menopause
    • 8% Premenstrual Syndrome
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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