Experiencing hot flashes during your menstrual period is not uncommon, although many women experience the hot flashes prior to the onset of their menses. A hot flash is an intense outburst of heat that generally strikes the upper part of the body, according to 34-menopause-symptoms.com. For many women, the hot flash will start in her neck, scalp or head or even in the ears or right below the breast. Your heart may start beating rapidly during the hot flash, followed by heavy sweating.
A hot flash can last only momentarily, or it can last up to five minutes. The frequency of hot flashes increases as a woman nears menopause. The degree of a hot flash can vary. Some women experience a very mild version that is hardly worth mentioning. It doesn’t cause them to stop whatever they are doing and yank off their clothing. A moderate hot flash will result in perspiration and last longer than a mild one. A severe hot flash is so intense that women start frantically disrobing and dash to stand in front of the opened door to the freezer.
When a woman is on her period and right before the period begins, her hormones are fluctuating like mad. It is believed that a hot flash is the result of the heat regulatory area of the brain, the hypothalamus, over-producing heat. This happens when the estrogen levels decline during the menstrual cycle, which causes body temperature to escalate.
A woman’s estrogen levels dip as she enters into the second part of her menstrual cycle. At that point, progesterone, another hormone, takes the lead. When estrogen drops off, this causes the hypothalamus to produce more serotonin and norepinephine. The hypothalamus can detect an increase in body temperature at which time it releases these chemicals that prompt the blood vessels to dilate so the heat can be released. This results in hot flashing and sweating.
A hot flash can be disconcerting the first time a woman experiences one. The flash can be accompanied by anxiety, dizziness, nausea and a headache. A woman may experience cold chills afterward because her clothing and body are wet. If the hot flash occurs at night, this will disturb your sleep. Estrogen levels are low during the night, which is why women tend to experience night sweats.
Taming Hot Flashes
Hot flashes can be tamed if you keep yourself hydrated, regularly exercise and avoid hot, spicy foods as well as caffeine, sugar and alcohol. Eat a balanced diet that is rich in grains, vegetables, protein, fiber and fruits.