Hot flashes do not necessarily indicate menopause. They can be a symptom of a serious illness

Hot flashes do not necessarily indicate menopause.  They can be a symptom of a serious illness

Hot flashes are most often associated with menopause. However, it turns out that they can also indicate other serious diseases, so they should not be underestimated.

Hot flashes can accompany not only menopause, but also result from very mundane reasons, such as stress or taking certain medications. However, it also happens that they are a symptom of serious diseases, such as hypertension or cardiovascular diseases. This symptom can also indicate hormonal disorders, such as hyperthyroidism.

Hot flashes and hyperthyroidism

Hot flashes can be caused by thyroid dysfunction. They may indicate hyperthyroidism, especially when accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • insomnia,

  • anxiety and irritability,

  • increased sweating,

  • hands shaking,

  • palpitations,

  • hair loss,

  • irregular periods,

  • excessive thirst,

  • weight loss.

However, the range of symptoms may vary – it is an individual matter, not every symptom must occur in a given person. In some people, the symptoms may also be more severe, and in others, they appear less intensely. During this disease, the thyroid gland produces too much hormone in relation to the needs of the body. Hyperthyroidism is one of the most common endocrine diseases in our country. It affects about 1-2 percent of adults in Poland. It most often affects women aged 20-40.

What to do when symptoms of hyperthyroidism occur?

If you notice hot flashes and other symptoms of hyperthyroidism, you should contact your GP. He or she will perform a medical examination and take a detailed history, and then decide whether it is necessary to measure the serum TSH level to confirm or rule out the disease. This is a test that is done with a blood sample. With an excess of thyroid hormones in the blood, typical for hyperthyroidism, the concentration of TSH decreases. If the result is abnormal – it will also be necessary to determine the measurement of free thyroid hormones (FT4 and/or FT3). In hyperthyroidism, decreased TSH levels are accompanied by elevated serum FT4 and/or FT3 levels.
If thyroid problems are diagnosed, it is important to determine their cause – this is important when deciding on treatment.

Hot flashes caused by other diseases

Hot flashes can also be caused by other conditions, including:

  • neurosis,

  • andropause,

  • heart disease (for example, cardiac arrhythmias),

  • tuberculosis,

  • neurological disorders (e.g. multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease),

  • certain types of cancer.

Other causes of hot flashes

Hot flashes can be caused by being overweight and obese, but also due to excessive stress or hormonal changes during pregnancy. Spicy food is also a cause of rapid heating of the body, which results in hot flashes. This is due to the chemical compounds contained in it. Spices that cause hot flashes include:

  • nutmeg,

  • cloves,

  • cardamom,

  • turmeric,

  • ginger,

  • cinnamon,

  • chili,

  • curry,

  • pepper.

Sudden hot flashes can also be caused by alcohol, caffeine and other drugs. So it is worth watching your body’s reactions and possibly eliminating specific products from your diet.

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