Hot Flashes Early Symptoms & Signs
Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
A hot flash is a feeling of warmth spreading over the body that is often most strongly felt in the head and neck regions. Hot flashes may be accompanied by perspiration or flushing and usually last from 30 seconds to several minutes. Although hot flashes are a characteristic symptom of perimenopause, rare tumors, and other medical conditions may sometimes also cause hot flashes. Taking certain medications, eating spicy foods, and the consumption of alcohol have also been associated with the occurrence of hot flashes.
Although the exact cause of hot flashes is not fully understood, hot flashes that occur in the perimenopause are thought to be due to a combination of hormonal and biochemical fluctuations brought on by declining estrogen levels. Hot flashes can often begin before the menstrual irregularities characteristic of menopause are even noticed. Up to 40% of regularly menstruating women in their 40s report having hot flashes. About 80% of women will be finished having hot flashes after five years, but sometimes they may persist for a longer time period. Hot flashes can sometimes be accompanied by night sweats (episodes of drenching sweats occurring at nighttime).
Hot flashes can also occur in men. Most commonly, they arise as a result of a dramatic drop in testosterone levels in men who have their testes surgically removed (as part of the treatment for prostate cancer) or who are taking medications that counteract the effects of testosterone.
Health concern on your mind? Visit the Symptom Checker.
Fauci, Anthony S., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2008.
Main Article on Hot Flashes
Causes of Hot Flashes
In This ArticleAlcoholism Article
- Alcohol use disorder facts
- What is alcohol abuse?
- What is alcoholism?
- What differentiates alcohol abuse from alcoholism?
- What are risk factors for alcoholism?
- What causes alcoholism? Is alcoholism hereditary?
- What are alcohol use disorder symptoms and signs in teenagers, women, men, and the elderly?
- How do physicians diagnose alcohol use disorder?
- What are the stages of alcohol use disorder?
- What is the treatment for alcohol use disorder?
- What medications treat alcohol use disorder?
- How can you tell if someone has a drinking problem?
- Can an alcoholic just cut back or stop drinking?
- Is there a safe level of drinking?
- Is it safe to drink alcohol while pregnant?
- How can someone find more information or get help or support to treat alcohol use disorder?
- What are the long-term physical and psychological effects of alcohol use disorder?
- What is codependency, and what is the treatment for codependency?
- Is it possible to prevent alcohol use disorder?
- What is the prognosis of alcohol use disorder?
In This ArticleCarcinoid Syndrome and Carcinoid Tumor Article
- Carcinoid tumor facts
- What is a carcinoid tumor?
- What is carcinoid syndrome?
- How common are carcinoid tumors and carcinoid syndrome?
- What is the prognosis and natural history of carcinoid tumors?
- Where do carcinoid tumors occur?
- How are carcinoid tumors and carcinoid syndrome diagnosed?
- How are carcinoid tumors and carcinoid syndrome treated?
In This ArticleHyperthyroidism Article
- Hyperthyroidism facts
- What is hyperthyroidism?
- What are thyroid hormones?
- Thyroid hormone regulation--the chain of command
- What causes hyperthyroidism?
- What are the symptoms of hyperthyroidism?
- How is hyperthyroidism diagnosed?
- How is hyperthyroidism treated?
- What's best for you?
In This ArticlePheochromocytoma Article
- Pheochromocytoma facts
- What is a pheochromocytoma?
- What are the symptoms of a pheochromocytoma?
- What conditions are associated with pheochromocytomas?
- What else can cause the symptoms of a pheochromocytoma?
- How is pheochromocytoma diagnosed?
- How is a pheochromocytoma treated?
- What is the prognosis with a pheochromocytoma?
In This ArticlePremature Menopause Article
- Premature menopause facts
- What is premature menopause?
- What causes premature menopause?
- Who is at risk for premature menopause?
- What are the symptoms of premature menopause?
- What tests are used to diagnose premature menopause?
- Is there any treatment for premature menopause?
- What are complications of premature menopause?
- What is the outlook (prognosis) for premature menopause?
In This ArticleStress Article
- Stress facts
- What is stress?
- A brief history of stress
- What are the signs and symptoms of poorly managed stress?
- Who is most vulnerable to stress?
- Teen stress
- What is the healthy response to stress?
- How does the response to stress work?
- What is the role of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis (grouping) in stress?
- What is the role of the locus coeruleus in stress?
- How do the connections in the brain work in stress?
- What do we know about using (activating) and overusing our internal systems that respond to stress?
- What are the effects of stress on medical and psychological conditions?
- Conclusions about the effects of stress
- What can people do for stress management?
- What's in the future for stress?
Other Causes of Hot Flashes
- Consumption of Capsaicin-Containing Foods (As in Hot Chili Peppers)
- Hot Weather or Overheated Environment
- Infection (Such as Tuberculosis)
- Medications (for Example, Antiestrogens and Some Antihypertensive Medications)
- Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) Consumption
- Occult Malignancy
Examples of Medications for Hot Flashes
- black cohosh - oral
- clonidine, Catapres, Catapres-TTS, Kapvay
- conjugated equine estrogens and medroxyprogesterone acetate, Prempro, Premphase
- Conjugated Estrogens (Cenestin, Enjuvia, Estrace, and Others)
- ergotamine/belladonna/phenobarbital - oral, Bellergal-S
- estradiol, Alora, Climara, Delestrogen, Depo-Estradiol, Divigel, Elestrin, Estrace, and Others
- flibanserin (Addyi)
- gabapentin, Neurontin, Gralise
- paroxetine (Brisdelle)
- soy (glycine soya) - oral
- venlafaxine, Effexor XR (Effexor has been discontinued in the US)
Symptoms & Signs A-Z List
Find out what women really need.