Every person has a body thermostat located in the brain and like the thermostat in the house, it has a comfort zone. Under normal circumstances, the body can heat with shivers or cool with sweating to maintain comfort and keep the body in normal range of about 4 degrees around the set point of 98.6. Hot flashes are like the AC coming on and help the body cool off, but it makes a person feel ‘hot’ because all the skin blood vessels get wider and bring blood to the surface to allow for cooling. The A.C. can be triggered with alcohol or an adrenalin rush in response to stress, and women get hotter quicker when they do not drink enough water, are sleep deprived, or carry extra weight (think sweater you can’t take off). A healthy lifestyle can be enough to treat hot flashes for some women, and medications such as SSRIs (a type of medication also used for anxiety and depression) or hormone medications can also be very effective.
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