Symptoms A-Z

Hot Flash Symptoms, Causes & Common Questions

Understand your hot flash symptoms with Buoy, including 8 causes and common questions concerning your hot flash.

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  1. 8 Possible Hot Flash Causes
  2. FAQs
  3. Questions Your Doctor May Ask
  4. Statistics

8 Possible Hot Flash Causes

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced hot flash. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Symptoms of menopause

Menopause is the name for the natural process by which the menstrual cycle (period) stops happening in a woman. Usually, the process is gradual (takes months or years) and occurs from the age of 45 to 55 years. Menopause is officially diagnosed once a woman stops having a period for 12 months continuously. A woman with menopause will notice a decrease in the number and regularity of her periods until they completely stop. In addition, she may notice a number of symptoms that occur as a result of decreased estrogen levels, such as hot flashes, changes in mood, sleep problems, vaginal dryness, changes in libido, and changes in sexual function. Certain medications exist that can decrease these symptoms.

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

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.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: fatigue, anxiety, irritability, vaginal itch or burning, muscle aches

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Overactive thyroid

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the neck, just above your collarbone. It is one of your endocrine glands, which make hormones. Thyroid glands control how fast one burns calories and how fast the heart beats. If the thyroid is too active, it makes more thyroid hormones than the body needs. This is called hyperthyroidism.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: fatigue, anxiety, depressed mood, irritability, trouble sleeping

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Premenstrual syndrome

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a condition that can produce emotional and physical symptoms in women in the days leading up to their menstrual cycle. Common symptoms include bloating, cramping, headaches, irritability, fatigue, and sleep and appetite changes. These symptoms usually resolve with the onset of menses.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: stomach bloating, anxiety, constipation, depressed mood, breast pain

Symptoms that never occur with premenstrual syndrome: constant sadness, severe sadness, disapearance of periods for over a year

Urgency: Self-treatment

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Ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer is an abnormal growth of cells in the ovaries, the reproductive organ in women responsible for producing eggs. Risk factors for developing ovarian cancer include familial genetic syndromes, increasing age, obesity or weight gain, starting menses at an early age, undergoing menopause at a later age and using prolonged postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy.

Early-stage ovarian cancer is usually asymptomatic. Late-stage ovarian cancer may cause(, urinary symptoms, or difficulty breathing.

The diagnosis is made by laboratory studies, imaging, and tissue biopsy. Treatment consists of surgery and adjuvant chemotherapy.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: fatigue, nausea, stomach bloating, loss of appetite, headache

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Insomnia disorder

Insomnia disorder is a short-term or chronic condition whereby individuals have difficulty

sleeping. Other common symptoms include fatigue, difficulty with concentration, social

dysfunction, reduced motivation, and behavioral changes. The short-term form of

the condition is usually the result of an identifiable stressor whereas the chronic form of the condition may occur without a known cause. The main treatment option is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to learn how to better deal with any stressors leading to insomnia, as well as preventative measures via improved sleep hygiene and habits.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: fatigue, irritability, difficulty concentrating, mild headache, insomnia

Symptoms that always occur with insomnia disorder: trouble sleeping

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Panic or anxiety attack(s)

Panic or anxiety attacks are sudden feelings of intense fear or stress without true danger. Symptoms usually peak and then decrease within minutes. One may feel as if they are losing control or have physical symptoms like sweating or a racing heart. A panic attack can be a very scary experience and should be taken seriously.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms:

Symptoms that always occur with panic or anxiety attack(s): anxiety or anxiety/panic attacks

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Acute stress disorder

Acute stress disorder (ASD) is a psychological condition caused by trauma, especially by any violent attack such as robbery, assault, or combat. "Acute" means that clear symptoms appear within days of the traumatic event. Most susceptible are those with a previous history of trauma, or a history of other mental health conditions.

A person may experience ASD after sustaining trauma themselves, witnessing a traumatic event directed against someone else, or learning that a person close to them endured trauma. The symptoms last for less than one month but greatly interfere with the ability to function normally in work, school, or other settings.

Symptoms include severe anxiety as well as dissociation, which is the feeling of being outside of one's body and observing events from a distance. There will also be detachment, emotional numbness, and flashbacks to the traumatic event.

Diagnosis is made through psychological evaluation. Sometimes a physical examination is done as well to rule out any physical causes for anxiety or depression.

Treatment involves a type of psychological counseling called cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, and sometimes short-term medication.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: trouble sleeping, anxiety, irritability, depressed mood, difficulty concentrating

Symptoms that always occur with acute stress disorder: impaired social or occupational functioning

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

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

  • Are you feeling irritable (easily made upset)?
  • Do you have trouble sleeping?
  • When was your last menstrual period?
  • Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?

The above questions are also covered by our A.I. Health Assistant.

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions

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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:

  • 42% Premature Ovarian Failure
  • 42% Overactive Thyroid
  • 14% Symptoms Of Menopause

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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