Picture this: you are out with your friends shopping from store to store when suddenly you feel your face become red and you feel like you’re on fire.
VMS (vasomotor symptoms of menopause) explains the sudden heat wave you feel all over your body.
What is VMS (vasomotor symptoms of menopause)?
VMS (vasomotor symptoms of menopause) is characterized by hot flashes and night sweats. A hot flash is a sudden feeling of warmth in your body, usually most intense over the face, neck, and chest. The skin may appear red and blotchy, and in severe cases, a hot flash can cause sweating.
Symptoms of night sweats are the same as hot flashes, but they occur at night. Night sweats may also cause rapid heartbeat and disrupt sleep.
What causes hot flashes?
The hypothalamus and hormones are to blame. The hypothalamus is in the center of the brain, right above the pituitary gland and below the thalamus. This is where a hot flash starts. The role of the hypothalamus is to keep your body in control; it is responsible for:
- Body temperature.
- Blood pressure.
- Hunger and thirst.
- Sense of fullness when eating.
- Sex drive.
Hot flashes are common among women going through perimenopause and 15% of women will, unfortunately, suffer from severe hot flashes. Women who have been put in surgical menopause or those who have gone through breast cancer treatments are most prominent in this group.
Women of color will have the most frequent, persistent, and bothersome VMS of any racial/ethnic group, with over 80% of African American women reporting VMS at some point during perimenopause into menopause.
How long do hot flashes last for?
Hot flashes are different for every woman; we hate to break it to you, but hot flashes can last up to 10 years for some women. The length of time will vary from person to person. For some women, hot flashes can end once they’re post-menopausal, and for some women, hot flashes never go away. In these cases, the hot flashes eventually become less severe as time goes on.
How to manage hot flashes and night sweats
Managing hot flashes depends on the severity and how troublesome they are in daily life. Small changes may help to limit the number or severity of your hot flashes.
Know your triggers
Spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol are a few things that can trigger a hot flash. If you are a smoker, think about limiting your intake or quitting altogether, not just for your overall health, but to minimize your hot flashes and night sweats.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Eating right and maintaining a healthy weight may help reduce the severity and occurrence of VMS. Women who also lead a more sedentary life may also experience more hot flashes so try to incorporate light exercise throughout your day and be sure to not get overheated when doing so.
Incorporating more plant-based foods may also help lower your hot flashes. A recent 12-week study found that a plant-based diet that includes a daily serving of whole soybeans helped to reduce moderate-to-severe hot flashes in menopausal women by 84 percent.
Nonhormonal treatment options
There are nonhormonal treatment options like natural supplements that may help to minimize hot flashes. FemmePharma’s Mia Vita Hot Flash supplement combines red clover, sage leaf, and black cohosh root extract to support hormone regulation.
Prescription treatments for VMS
VMS (vasomotor symptoms of menopause) are associated with elevated levels of cortisol. Cortisol is the primary stress hormone and long-term exposure to stress can increase your risk for heart disease, heart attack, high blood pressure and stroke, as well as sleep problems, depression, and weight gain.
Studies have shown that certain antidepressants, called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), can reduce how often you have hot flashes and their severity. Your doctor will typically prescribe the lowest dose available. However, women with a history of breast cancer and taking tamoxifen should avoid SSRIs as they have been shown to interfere with tamoxifen metabolism.
Can I prevent night sweats?
Hot flashes will sometimes occur at night which can lead to insomnia. Up to 50% of midlife women will experience sleep disturbances. There is no way to prevent night sweats from happening, but there are a few environmental changes you can do that may help.
- Keep your bedroom cool.
- Limit alcohol intake at night and try to avoid caffeine before bed.
- Avoid tight fitting clothing at night, or better yet, sleep in the nude.
If your hot flashes disrupt daily life, try Mia Vita Hot Flash Relief and talk to your healthcare practitioner about the severity and occurrence of your hot flashes, and treatment plans.