Most commonly a hot flash is a symptom of that a woman will experience when going through menopause. However, hot flashes can also occur because of some other conditions as well, such as thyroid problems, as a side effect of some medications, and pancreatic tumors. Symptoms of hot flashes can include external issues like a red face, as well as the interior issues like a rapid heartbeat. We list them below to give you a better idea of why they occur.
A very standard symptom of having a hot flash is the warmth. People say this sensation can start from the middle of the chest and spread out rather quickly to all extremities but especially to the face. While some people barely notice the warmth, others find the heat so extreme that they feel they need to be “extinguished,” which is why cool places or cold packs can help to treat a hot flash. Tight clothing can also prolong a hot flash as it will trap the heat close to your body for a prolonged period.
Not just a case of simple blushing, this redness is a common symptom of a hot flash and can get quite uncomfortable. The redness can spread over your entire face, neck, chest, and even ears. The redness is due to your blood rushing to the surface of your skin to try to regulate the sudden spike in your body temperature. The body is a fantastic tool to try to compensate for the hot flashes, which is why we experience so many symptoms in the process.
A rapid heartbeat can often feel like a fluttering of your heart in your chest. You may feel weak and need to sit down and experience shortness of breath. These are general symptoms when experiencing a hot flash, but hot flashes and rapid heartbeat very commonly go together, for many different conditions. If this quickening of your heartbeat leads to heart palpitations, chest pain, and fainting, you may be suffering from something other than – or as well as – hot flashes and should see your physician.
Perspiration is frequent and something that happens when we exert ourselves in daily life or through exercise. When you get hot, your body tries to regulate its body temperature by releasing fluid through the sweat glands (sudoriferous glands) just under the surface of the skin. When you experience a hot flash, perspiration can come on quite unexpectedly and range in intensity from mild to stout. You mind find sweat forming on your upper lip, the back of your neck, your underarms, your lower back, your chest, or your forehead.
Much like fever, a hot flash can often partner with a bout of chills, especially if you are prone to sweating. This pattern is your hormones trying to regulate the body’s temperature. Often chills happen in the night as a result of night sweats and not being able to cool down. This cold feeling may give you the shakes, and you can feel as if you may never get warm. This symptom too, however, will pass, just as the heat wave did before it. This process can be quite irritating and stressful when it happens often, which is why it is essential to determine the reasons why your body is having a hot flash in the first place.
A tingling in your extremities – like your fingers – can be linked to nerve damage, vitamin deficiencies, and hot flashes. To pinpoint exactly why you’re feeling tingling or prickling in your fingers and hands, you’ll need to speak with your doctor. You may also experience numbness in some cases and will want to make sure you can still move your fingers and hands.
Rush of Blood
Hot flash sufferers have described this symptom as a rush of blood starting from the toes and rushing all the way up to the head; like a wave of something that pulses through your entire body. This concept makes sense as your blood is everywhere and when it gets warm, you are going to feel it everywhere. At times the rush may only be felt in the upper body; as your heart rate increases, this is the prime location for things to rush through your body. But the overall sensation of the rush of blood can very much feel as if it is pushing you over and force you to sit down.
Headaches or Dizziness
Most people will be aware of what a headache feels like; the dull or sharp pain located either all over the head or in a particular area, commonly behind the eye. Headaches and hot flashes go hand in hand. You may also feel light-headedness and dizziness and need to steady yourself. As with a hot flash, the pain may only be around as long as the flash lasts. See your physician if your headaches are becoming more frequent or debilitating.
When we are asleep, your body is working hard to regenerate for the next day. A hot flash at night becomes night sweats. You may sweat more than usual because you’re unable to find immediate relief. Night sweats are something not everyone will experience as people have said they only experience hot flashes during the day, and others only at night. Whether or not you experience night sweats also depends on the origin of your hot flashes.
Many things, like spicy food, alcohol, room temperature, medication or your emotional state can cause a one-off hot flash. It’s when the hot flashes become more steady and regular that you may need to be concerned. How long the flashes last and how severe they are will depend on what is triggering them. It is a good idea to have a small notebook to log the length and severity of your hot flashes, as well as if you notice any triggers. This method will help your doctor to make a more clear diagnosis of why you have them in the first place.