Hot flashes are common in most women due to hormonal changes, especially pre and post-menopause. Changes in estrogen levels affect the body’s sensitivity to body temperature, causing hot flashes as one of the symptoms. But the question is, do men suffer hot flashes as well? Do men go through the same bodily changes and experiences?
Let’s know about the phenomenon in detail.
What Are Hot Flashes?
A hot flash is a sudden feeling of severe warmth that is not caused by external temperatures or the immediate environment. It happens due to internal changes and can be quite sudden, often occurring at night and causing sleep disturbances. The sensation generally starts near the neck and the head region. These feelings of intense warmth last for 30 seconds to a minute or two and may continue over a period of 7 to 10 years in total on average.
- Excessive sweating
- Flushing or reddening of the skin.
Hot flashes occur mostly in women during the menopausal transition. They may start before menopause and continue after it. However, they may also occur in young women, pregnant women, and men due to several physiological conditions.
What Causes Hot Flashes?
Research says that hot flashes are mostly seen in women, but men are no exception, too. During menopause, the drop in estrogen levels makes the hypothalamus feel that the body is warmer than usual at times. It hampers the thermoregulation of the body, making the body lose its ability to control and regulate the temperature. Thus, it signals a phase of hot flash or sensation of extreme heat to cool down the body. Sometimes, thyroid problems and certain medications can have similar effects and make you go through hot flashes.
Do Men Suffer Hot Flashes?
Men do not go through a marked period of menopause as in women, but they experience a range of changes while they grow older. As testosterone levels keep falling over the years, they experience a lack of libido and sexual problems like erectile dysfunction. Other signs and symptoms include irritability, loss of muscles, sweating, and hot flashes. Therefore, it is not rare or unlikely for men to go through hot flashes. It is normal and not just limited to the female sex.
What Happens When Men Go Through Hot Flashes?
Not all men experience hot flashes during their lifetime, but others may go through these phases where you may go through a cold sweat or feel as if you are burning. Some men also experience night sweats, which are hot flashes occurring at night in sleep. They make you wake up feeling extremely hot and sweaty and hamper your sleep.
The symptoms may include:-
- a sudden sensation of intense heat
- excessive sweating
- flushing of the skin
- night flashes and sleep disturbance
- cold sweat
- rapid heartbeat
Some men may find them rarely occurring, while others may experience them several times a day. This may continue up to a few months or a few years.
Why Do Men Get Hot Flashes?
Since men do not go through a definite menopause period, other causes may trigger hot flashes. Some of these causes are:-
Low Testosterone Level
Men experience low testosterone levels when they start aging. The levels begin dropping gradually each year after the age of 40. When the testosterone level drops to a significant level after reaching a certain age, men may start experiencing symptoms like hot flashes.
Just like low estrogen in women, low testosterone triggers the hypothalamus in men. This sends false signals to the body to deal with an overheated body, even when the body temperature is normal. The hypothalamus, which regulates the body’s temperature, feels that the body is overheated at times when the testosterone levels drop. Thus, hot flashes and cold sweat occur to cool down the body.
At times, stress can be a trigger for hot flashes in men. Severe stress releases cortisol in the body, which has the same effect on the hypothalamus as low levels of testosterone. Stress is also one of the reasons for other sexual dysfunction issues in men.
Low testosterone may also result from several medical reasons as well as from the effect of certain medications. As a result, such men may go through phases of hot flashes.
Sometimes, therapies such as androgen deprivation therapy may ultimately result in hot flashes. This therapy is usually administered to treat prostate cancer, limiting the testosterone production and its level in the body to reduce the growth of cancer cells. Almost all men who undergo this therapy get hot flashes.
Obesity, anxiety, depression, unhealthy lifestyle, and addiction may cause a change in testosterone levels. This may result in irritability, mood swings, loss of sex drive, erectile dysfunction, along with frequent hot flashes.
Treatment For Hot Flashes In Men
There isn’t any instant solution for hot flashes. They usually go away in due time. You may try to avoid triggers like tight and warm clothing, caffeine, spicy food, or stress if you find hot flashes occurring from them.
Simple lifestyle changes like limiting hot drinks and caffeine, staying away from alcohol, avoiding spicy foods, wearing light cotton clothes, and sipping water during hot flashes can help you. Also, try to avoid foods containing high sugar and high fat content, and reduce stress and depression through yoga and meditation.
Rare, severe cases need medical attention. Your doctor may prescribe medicines like antidepressants and hormone replacement drugs to control hot flashes.
The Bottom Line
Hot flashes are common occurrences even in men and go away naturally with time. They come after a certain age, and are normal bodily phenomena. You need not worry about them too much if you see them coming with age. They aren’t too serious unless they occur too frequently and cause other discomforts. Talk to your doctor if you experience them too often, along with other symptoms. A few medications, proper diet, sleep, and fitness helps to control the hot flashes.