Hot flashes and night sweats, medically known as vasomotor symptoms (VMS), are the most commonly reported menopausal symptom. A hot flash is “characterized by a sudden increase of blood flow, often to the face, neck, and chest, that causes the sensation of extreme heat and profuse sweating.” 1 Hot flashes are currently being studied around the world to better understand them. The great news for women struggling to deal with them is that answers are being found! Studies have already helped to clarify possible causes, what may trigger them, how they may relate to other health problems, how they affect quality of life, and what can be done to decrease them.
In a clinical trial of more than 3,000 midlife women, 60-80% experienced hot flashes at some point during the transition to menopause. During menopause, hormone levels fluctuate in the body, which has been shown to be associated with hot flashes. Interestingly, scientists have found that even though all women have hormone changes during their menopause years, not all women have hot flashes. Therefore, other factors must be involved, and further studies are needed.
Research has found that symptomatic women have small changes in core body temperature. This is believed to trigger the body’s mechanisms to cool the body, resulting in sweating and hot flashes. However, the promise of understanding and relieving hot flashes lies in continued research.
Women with hot flashes may be able to participate in helping to find answers which can lead to better treatments. To learn more about current clinical trial opportunities for Hot Flashes, and other conditions please contact our office.