What are Hot Flashes?
Hot flashes or sweats are most common menopause symptoms, and so are mostly associated with women. However, there are many men who suffer from hot flashes, while not considering any treatment for this condition. So, male hot flashes by definition and appearance are very similar to the female hot flashes. However, the main difference is based on the different sources.
The hot flash is definitely an abrupt and extreme feeling of heat impacting the face, neck as well as upper body, resulting in a chilly, clammy sweat all of which lead to distress. In regards to rate of recurrence, male hot flashes often occur 6 to 10 times during the day and range from a few minutes to an hour. The experience can cause anxiousness, a quickened pulse rate, becoming easily irritated and nauseated.
The symptoms of hot flashes can be mild to severe. The mild signs of hot flashes are less discomforting than the severe ones.
- The signs typically start with the face and spread to the neck and chest area, lasting for seconds to minutes.
- The hot flash can start with a feeling of warmth spreading in the upper body, with skin redness and mild perspiration to excessive sweating.
- Finally the person will get a cold, clammy and uncomfortable feeling, if the hot flashes are occurring during night they can interfere with sleeping.
- Other uncomfortable sensations like dizziness, weakness, heart palpitations and pressure feeling can also be experienced along with the hot flashes.
Causes of Hot Flashes in Men
There are several potential causes for the Hot Flashes in Men. Among them:
- Andropause: Andropause is probably the main general cause of the Hot Flashes in males, as the common symptom of the male menopause. Other symptoms which usually go hand-in-hand with hot flashes are substantial weight gain, trouble at sleeping, and slow hair growth.
- Infections: Certain infections like HIV/AIDS or tuberculosis can also be giving men hot flashes or can also cause night sweats.
- Tumor/Cancer: If you are experiencing hot flashes along with testicular pain, immediately contact a doctor as this could be a sign of cancer. Males can also experience hot flashes due to a tumor present in pituitary gland or hypothalamus.
- Androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer: The growth of prostate cells is stimulated by testosterone, and treatments that reduce levels of the hormone or block its actions in the body can help treat the disease. Androgen deprivation can be a temporary measure to boost the effect of radiation therapy (neoadjuvant therapy), or it can be a long-term treatment for advanced prostate cancer. About 70%–80% of men who receive androgen deprivation therapy experience hot flashes.
- Hormone Level: Sudden hot flashes may also occur as a hormone imbalance symptom, like when there is a sudden and substantial lowering in the level of the testosterone, which is the sex hormone or the androgen hormone. Hormones fluctuation is a general reason for the negative health conditions, usually associated with Andropause, but it can come early and might be a sign for the undergoing medical processes in your body, which should be reported to the professionals for detailed investigation.
- Reaction to Food/Medicine: Reaction to MSG, that is, mono sodium glutamate can also cause hot flashes. This is a food additive, and one need to check their diet for MSG. A person can also experience hot flashes as an allergy to certain medications, like nifedipine, niacin, calcitonin, etc.
Why it Happen?
Male menopause hot flashes occur since the low levels of androgenic hormone or testosterone confuse the hypothalamus gland (the thermal center of the mind) into believing the body is overheated. Consequently, the hypothalamus transmits signals to broaden blood vessels in the pores and skin so that you can force this particular “fictional” excess warmth out of the body. Male hot flashes signify your body’s effort to maintain cool and not get too hot. So, the nervous system sends out signals that cause blood vessels in the skin to widen, producing flushing and warmth. To counter the rise in skin temperature, the body rapidly converts a warm flush to a cold, clammy sweat.
Hot Flashes Treatment
It is important to get yourself diagnosed, to know the exact cause behind the occurrence of hot flashes. The doctor will suggest a blood test to check the deficiency of testosterone, which most probably will be giving you the hot flashes. After the underlying cause has been identified, a person can get rid of hot flashes with the appropriate treatment. The treatment involves mostly changing the medications or testosterone therapy.
Considering that testosterone may activate prostate cancer development, an integral remedy towards the disease is androgen deprival therapy. While this is a highly effective way for inhibiting most cancer growths, it can result in negative effects. The procedure effectively puts a man into male menopause and nearly 80% of times results in male hot flashes.
Andropause hot flashes could be properly taken care of as well as absolved with bioidentical androgenic hormone or testosterone replacement therapy. For males with prostate cancer, little doses of the feminine answer to hot flashes, of estrogen, often decreases the issue.
Hormones can help, but newer treatments may be just as successful with fewer side effects. Two approaches have helped both men and women. One involves antidepressants. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as paroxetine (Paxil) have been effective, as has a related antidepressant, venlafaxine (Effexor). Both types are well tolerated; venlafaxine can sometimes raise the blood pressure, and SSRIs can cause sexual dysfunction, but that’s not an issue for most men on androgen deprivation.
The other recent treatment uses the antiseizure medication gabapentin (Neurontin). The first reports of success were in men, but it rapidly gained wider use in women. In one study, the drug reduced the severity and frequency of hot flashes in women by 70%; dizziness is the most common side effect.
Men's health is often lightly taken, and needs to be given a serious thought. So, if your symptoms are mild, you can use the prevention tips and reduce the severity of hot flashes. However, if you have been experiencing hot flashes for some time or experience hot flashes with other pain symptoms; it is important that you get yourself diagnosed to treat the underlying cause.
Several new studies confirmed good results in using acupuncture for men treatments, who experienced hot flashes associated with hormone therapy. Acupuncture, a popular form of alternative medicine, involves inserting ultra-thin needles into the skin to treat various medical conditions and health ailments. The results of the latest study were overwhelmingly positive, with the study participants reporting 80.3 percent improvement of hot flash symptoms, even after eight months of therapy. Compared to the commonly used drugs to treat hot flashes, acupuncture produced no side effects.
While more research needs to be performed to confirm that link between acupuncture and relief of hot flashes, the study gives new hope to the many men undergoing prostate cancer treatment and actually may even have long-term health benefits to boot. Acupuncture has been touted for increasing mental clarity and physical well-being through the rebalancing of the body’s energies.
If the symptoms are not too severe, or you would like to consider the prevention techniques for the hot flashes appearance in your life, you may consider the following recommendations, which will reduce the severity and discomfort caused by hot flashes:
- Be cool during the day! Dress up in light and loose-fitting clothes. Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
- Be cool during the night! Use a fan and keep the windows open at all times if possible. If you suffer from hot flashes during night, drink a glass of water to prevent dehydration.
- Try to avoid stress and learn general relaxation techniques. Consider yoga, moving meditation, or martial arts to get recharged.
- Exercise regularly. Weight gain, estrogen and hot flashes are all very closely related. Hot flashes are typically caused by elevated estrogen levels. Men who have high estrogen levels are more prone to weight gain. Conversely, men who are overweight or obese are more likely to experience elevated estrogen levels. While relationship between weight and hormonal imbalance is still not entirely understood, many studies suggest that men who exercise regularly can significantly reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes.
- Consider healthy diet. Hot flashes can also be caused by diet. For instance, spicy foods, such as peppers, curry and chili, can overstimulate nerve endings and cause blood vessels to dilate, resulting in a hot flash. Simple sugars and carbohydrates are also well-known triggers. Sugars and carbs trigger hot flashes by elevating blood sugar, which causes a spike in body temperature. In an effort to cool itself down, the body attempts to “flush” out the heat. Alcohol is another big one. A drink here and there is fine. But excessive alcohol consumption actually raises levels of estrogen within the blood over time, making you more susceptible to symptoms of hormonal imbalance, such as estrogen.
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