A sudden wash of heat. A flushed face and neck. Red blotches on your chest, back, and arms. Sweat trickling down your torso. It’s a hot flash. Maybe you’ve heard of it?
But maybe the facts below are not things you already know about the most common symptom of approaching menopause.
1. Up to two-thirds of women in perimenopause have hot flashes.
2. But men get hot flashes, too. In fact, 10 percent of the population — male and female — experience hot flashes at some point during their lives.
3. Medical conditions such as thyroid disease, diabetes, epilepsy, and opiate withdrawal can also cause hot flashes.
4. But, yeah, usually it’s hormones. Hot flashes typically begin about two years before a woman’s last period.
5. And African American and Hispanic women get hot flashes for more years than white and Asian women.
6. Their frequency increases as a woman approaches menopause and peaks when periods finally cease. In one study, four years after the cessation of their periods, 80 percent of women who had suffered from hot flashes no longer did.
7. A hot flash can last from a few minutes to hours.
8. Women who have had hysterectomies are more likely to experience hot flashes.
9. Obese women are less likely to experience hot flashes.
10. Nobody calls a hot flash a good time.
Hot flashes are only part of the fun. Read Menopause: A Heck of a Lot More Than Hot Flashes to learn about other symptoms of shifting hormones.