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Causes of hot flashes in young women   

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Menopause running through your mind with every hot flash experienced? Too young to go through menopause? Well, ‘hot flashes’ is a condition of that warm feeling that you sense in your body along with a lot of sweat and general discomfort. It is usually experienced by those women preparing to enter menopause or after menopause. However, hot flashes at an age is something unusual and there could be an underlying medical reason. We shall explain you the causes of hot flashes in young women in the next segment:

Surge in estrogen level

Hot flashes occur when estrogen levels rise above normal in a perimenopausal women. The ovaries fail to release eggs, if the estrogen levels remain high for a longer time. A significant rise in body temperature along with sweat outbreaks or hot flashes, vaginal dryness, mood swings, etc. occurs for a long time. This can further lead to menstrual disturbances also.

Premature ovarian failure

Failure of the ovaries to function normally before 40 years of age is premature ovarian failure or premature ovarian insufficiency (POI). In case of POI, the ovaries might turn on and off while ovarian failure is attributed to the inability of the ovaries to produce eggs anymore.  Hot flashes are an inevitable symptom of premature ovarian failure, which can also lead to infertility. Some risk factors for premature ovarian failure could be chemotherapy, radiation therapy, exposure to toxins, etc.

Malfunctioning of hypothalamus

Head injuries, genetic problems, eating disorders, etc. can affect normal functioning of the hypothalamus- which regulates the temperature of your body. Dysfunctionof the hypothalamus can also be caused by low estrogen levels in young women.

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Other medical factors

If you have been diagnosed with problems in the hormones of the pituitary gland at a young age, then you might experience hot flashes. Conditions like hyperthyroidism, i.e. overproduction of thyroid hormones can give rise to several discomforts like hot flashes, sweating, anxiety, increased heart beat, etc. Hot flashes could also be side effects of certain medicines like tamoxifen.

Emotional stress, depression, panic attacks

Your body releases hormones, invariably epinephrine and norepinephrine to overcome stress like situations. Under such circumstances, you are more likely to experience hot flushes, redness in your skin tone and sweats.

Similarly, hot flashes, accompanied by shortness of breath and pain in the chest are very obvious when you are under a situation of intense fear, panic attacks, anxiety, and nervousness, etc.

Food habits

The temperature of your body depends to a large extent on what you eat. If you are consuming very spicy foods enriched with red paprika, chili powder, pepper, cinnamon and cloves, on a regular basis then you might experience flushing. The condition is further aggravated during summer season. Alcohol and smoking can also bring out similar episodes of hot flashes.

Hot flashes are often confused with fever. However, if the symptoms are persisting for quite a few days or you are experiencing irregularity in your periods then visit a doctor!

There are several treatment options depending on the underlying reasons, which would help you to improve your health.

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Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: April 12, 2015