Most women experience hot flashes when going through menopause. According to the Mayo Clinic, as many as three out of four women suffer from these sudden waves of warmth. Symptoms of hot flashes vary in severity from one person to the next. Some women have hot flashes so severe that they interfere with normal activities, while others experience very mild symptoms.
The most common symptom of hot flashes is heat. A sudden feeling of warmth spreads over the upper body, face, and neck. The heat may be mild or very intense, and is often accompanied by a sensation of pressure in the head. During a hot flash, the face, neck, and upper chest often have a flushed appearance that resembles blushing. The blushing may also spread over the arms and red splotches may appear.
When hot flashes occur at night, they are called night sweats. These can be severe enough to interrupt a sound sleep. It is not uncommon for a woman to awaken during a night sweat and find her night clothes and bedding soaked with perspiration.
Other Common Symptoms
Other common symptoms of hot flashes include a suddenly rapid heartbeat and excess perspiration, especially over the upper body. Some women experience a chilled feeling as the hot flash passes.
Less Common Symptoms
Some women experience a feeling of fatigue with hot flashes. This could be partly because of sleep deprivation associated with night sweats, and menopause in general. Weakness and a faint or dizzy sensation sometimes occur during a hot flash.
Hot flashes vary in frequency and duration. Some women experience several a day, while others may have only a few each month. Some women never experience hot flashes. Although most hot flashes subside within a few minutes, they can last as long as 30 minutes.
Symptoms of hot flashes can occur at any time of day or night. Although they can be extremely uncomfortable and irritating, hot flashes do not require medical treatment unless they are severe enough to interfere with normal activities.