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Diseases & Conditions > Menopause

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Can Hot Flashes Cause Anxiety

Sheryl Kraft

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HED : Can Hot Flashes Cause Anxiety?.

If you've experienced hot flashes, then you probably know they can be incredibly disturbing and powerful. They can rouse you from a deep sleep or keep you from sleeping. They can embarrass you at inappropriate moments (think being in the middle of an important business presentation and suddenly dripping with sweat).

And if you are a woman around menopause who has never experienced a hot flash, allow us to describe it: It's a feeling of sudden, intense heat, usually concentrated around your neck, chest and face area, resulting in drenching, uncontrollable and excessive sweat.

Typically, hot flashes are brief, lasting anywhere from 30 seconds to a few minutes. But that doesn't mean they're easy, or the time passes quickly. Some women get one a day, while others can get as many as four or five each hour or up to 30 times a day.

To add insult to injury, hot flashes are usually unpredictable and accompanied by a racing pulse and chills. Learn more about The Anatomy of a Hot Flash.

Feeling anxious yet?

Chances are you might be. Do hot flashes cause anxiety, or is it the other way around? That chicken-or-the-egg question is a good one and one that's not always clear.

Although every woman has different triggers for her hot flashes, stress is the most common trigger, according to research.

Researchers have found that women with the highest anxiety levels had the most hot flashes. In fact, compared to less-anxious women, the more-anxious ones had five times as many heat surges.

Troublesome, perhaps, but encouraging, still. That's because these findings point to the fact that hot flashes, if they are indeed triggered by anxiety, can be managed by managing your anxiety.

Hormone therapy is the most common treatment for menopause symptoms, including hot flashes. Woman who cannot use HRT, or wishes to use it, should speak to their health care provider about alternative options.

In addition to HRT, other helpful strategies include:

• Meditation
• Relaxation
• Deep breathing
• Yoga
• Regular exercise
• Eating wholesome, well-balanced meals
• Limiting alcohol and caffeine
• Getting enough sleep

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