Hot flashes cause a sudden sensation of heat in the upper body. A person might experience symptoms in the chest, arms, neck, or face.
The heart rate also tends to increase during a hot flash, intensifying the sensation of heat. Most hot flashes last between 30 seconds and 10 minutes, but they can be longer.
The frequency of hot flashes varies significantly among individuals. For instance, they can happen many times an hour, a few times a day, or less than once a week. Some people find that their hot flashes follow a predictable pattern.
During a hot flash, blood vessels in the upper body expand, allowing more blood flow to the area. This increased blood flow can cause blotchy patches on the skin, or flushing.
After a hot flash, as the body attempts to cool itself, a person may experience sweating that causes them to feel cold or shiver.
However, some people experience early menopause in their 30s. Others may continue menstruating into their late 50s or even early 60s.
Age is generally a good predictor of menopause, though, and it can help with determining whether a sudden feeling of heat is a hot flash or something else.
Even when menopause is the culprit, it is important to see a doctor when symptoms appear very early. Some medical conditions may trigger early menopause.
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