By The Recovery Village Editor Camille Renzoni Reviewer Jessica Pyhtila Updated on09/13/19
Alcohol is a known risk factor for hot flashes. If you drink alcohol, you might notice that sometimes you feel warm or hot while drinking. It might not take much alcohol for your skin to feel very hot.
- Why Does Alcohol Make You Feel Hot?
- Other Causes of Alcohol Hot Flashes
- Key Points: Alcohol and Hot Flashes
- Why Does Alcohol Make You Feel Warm?
- Perspiration After Drinking Alcohol
- Alcohol Alters Temperature Regulation
- Alcohol Causes Hot Flashes
- Alcohol Makes You Flush
- Ask for Help
- 9 Weird Things That Happen To Your Body After A Night Of Drinking
- Are night sweats a sign of alcohol withdrawal?
- Night sweats after alcohol – when is it a sign of alcohol withdrawal?
- Alcohol withdrawal and night sweats
- Delirium tremens
- How stress could be responsible for your hot flushes
- What they are:
- How to deal with hot flashes:
- These 5 Things (That Aren’t Menopause) Could Be Causing Your Hot Flashes
- 1. Excessive weight gain
- 2. Anxiety
- 3. A reaction to food or allergy
- 4. Your bedroom is too hot
- 5. Prescription medication
- Can You Actually Sweat Out Alcohol?
Why Does Alcohol Make You Feel Hot?
You may feel like you have a high temperature after drinking alcohol because of how alcohol affects your brain. Your brain controls how your body responds to stimuli. Medical professionals think that alcohol tricks your brain cells into thinking that you are warm.
When you drink alcohol, your brain cells tell your blood vessels to expand to get rid of the extra heat. When the vessels expand, you might feel even warmer because of the increased blood flow inside the blood vessels beneath your skin. You may also find that you sweat more after you drink alcohol, because of increased blood flow in the vessels under your skin.
However, by expanding your blood vessels, alcohol helps cool your body. Your body will cool down even if you are in a warm room. You feel hot from drinking alcohol because you are losing heat through your skin. A link exists between alcohol and low body temperature, and it is known that people who are drunk are at risk of hypothermia.
Hangover Hot Flashes and Sweating
If you have a hangover the day after drinking alcohol, you may also experience hot flashes. During a hangover, your body temperature rises from the low body temperature you may have had when you were drunk.
However, you may start to feel very warm. Excessive sweating after drinking alcohol may also take place. Both hot flashes and sweating are signs that your hangover has triggered your sympathetic nervous system, commonly referred to as your fight-or-flight response.
Fight-or-flight response symptoms of a hangover can include:
- Trembling or shaking
- Feeling hot
- A rapid heartbeat
- High blood pressure
Additionally, sweating after a hangover can cause dehydration. Alcohol use already causes dehydration, which can lead to other hangover symptoms. Therefore, having a hangover symptom of sweating can further dehydrate your body, leading to additional hangover symptoms from dehydration.
During a hangover, dehydration symptoms may include:
- Being thirsty
- Feeling weak
- Having dry mouth or dry eyes
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
If your symptoms are related to an alcohol hangover, you will likely notice that they probably set in a few hours after you stop drinking. Your symptoms may continue for up to 24 hours after your last drink.
Make sure you drink enough fluids before, during and after drinking alcohol to avoid dehydration. Sports drinks and bouillon are good choices to help your body replace the water, salt and potassium you lost when you were drunk.
Hot Flashes From Alcohol Withdrawal
If you struggle with alcohol abuse and experience alcohol withdrawal syndrome, or AWS, you may have many uncomfortable symptoms. Hot flashes and sweating are only two of many signs of AWS that you may experience.
Like hangover symptoms, hot flashes and sweating from AWS occur because alcohol withdrawal triggers your fight-or-flight response. Usually, alcohol has a calming impact on your brain, making your brain highly sensitive to glutamate, a chemical that excites your brain. Without alcohol in your system, your brain can become over-excited quickly.
Although some symptoms of AWS are merely uncomfortable, other symptoms can be highly dangerous. Never try to get through AWS without medical help as some withdrawal symptoms can be fatal. Enrolling in a medical detox program can help you avoid life-threatening withdrawal symptoms and detox from alcohol safely with the help of professionals.
Other Causes of Alcohol Hot Flashes
For some people, sudden alcohol intolerance and menopause can contribute to alcohol-related hot flashes.
Sudden Alcohol Intolerance
Some people, especially those of East Asian descent, may face a high risk of sudden alcohol intolerance, an uncomfortable flushing reaction that occurs shortly after drinking alcohol.
This chemical reaction in the body does not mean that you are drunk or drank too much. The response means that your body does not have the chemical enzymes to break down alcohol effectively. Therefore, toxic alcohol byproducts stay in your body, making you feel sick.
Symptoms of sudden alcohol intolerance include:
- Flushed skin
- Rapid heart rate
- Low blood pressure
- Sleepiness or lethargy
- A stuffy nose
Studies show different results about how alcohol use affects menopause symptoms. Besides being linked to alcohol use, hot flashes and sweating are common symptoms in women who are experiencing menopause.
Some research shows that alcohol use increases the risk of hot flashes, while other studies have found the opposite. Alcohol is known to increase the level of estrogen in the body, which may help to prevent hot flashes. However, as described above, alcohol itself is a known risk factor for hot flashes. Medical professionals are not sure why the results vary so widely in the studies, and more research is likely needed.
Key Points: Alcohol and Hot Flashes
Important points to remember about alcohol use and hot flashes include:
- When you are drinking alcohol, you may feel warm because drinking leads to more blood flowing through your blood vessels
- When you are hungover from alcohol use, you may experience hot flashes due to the hangover triggering a fight-or-flight response
- During alcohol withdrawal, you may have hot flashes because your brain is over-excited in withdrawal
- Some people of East Asian descent are at risk for a flushing syndrome from alcohol because their bodies cannot break down alcohol (a condition called alcohol intolerance)
- The link between alcohol use and hot flashes in menopause is currently unclear and needs further research
If you struggle with alcohol abuse and are trying to quit, you do not have to do it alone. The Recovery Village can help. Our caring representatives can answer your questions about alcohol rehab and help you pick a program that meets your needs. Contact us today to learn more.
Yoda T, Crashaw L, et al. “Effects of alcohol on thermoregulation during mild heat exposure in humans.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, published in July 2005. Accessed April 22, 2019.
Swift Robert, Davidson Dena. “Alcohol Hangover: Mechanisms and Mediators.” Alcohol Health & Research World, published in 1998. Accessed April 22, 2019.
MedlinePlus. “Hangover Treatment.” Reviewed May 21, 2017. Accessed April 22, 2019.
Schilling Chrissy, Gallicchio Lisa, et al. “Current Alcohol Use, Hormone Levels, and Hot Flashes in Midlife Women.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, published in June 2007. Accessed April 22, 2019.
Alcohol remains to be one of the oldest drugs still being used today. Many people have enjoyed its many incarnations after the discovery of fermentation, but the alcohol side effects on the body have been experienced to some degree by many.
Sweating after drinking alcohol along with increased body temperature, facial flushing, and hot flashes are common but less noticeable as compared to other more serious and popular adverse effects like loss of motor control and slurred speech or associations like gout and alcohol consumption.
These temperature and superficial skin changes may look like nothing more than discomforts that will go away easily, but they are outward manifestations of the changes spirits does in the body.
Why Does Alcohol Make You Feel Warm?
Alcohol can change different reactions in the body, including skin and core body temperature. Drinking spirits can make one feel warmer while increasing his or her risk of suffering from cold.
The main mechanism as to how does alcohol raise body temperature involves different organs like the heart, brain, and liver, which are the main sources of body heat.
It can also be tied to the vasodilator effect of alcohol. It causes the blood vessels in the skin to dilate, shunting blood from the center to the peripheries. The body temperature is not actually changing; there is just redistribution of heat as seen flushing and fever after drinking.
Human’s normal body temperature is approximately 37 degrees Celsius or 98 degrees Fahrenheit. Most of this heat comes from metabolism.
The skin has sensory receptors that can adapt to temperature changes. If they feel warm, they’ll send signals to the brain. While this may look like an advantage, it can actually be dangerous.
Alcohol disrupts the body’s natural ability to detect warm and cold.
And since after drinking, people are feeling warm, most would forget about their coats, a phenomenon known as alcohol cloak, because they feel too warm for their outer garments. Sweating will soon start, which will further decrease body temperature and there’s a risk for hypothermia.
Digestion, especially via the liver, can also alter body temperature. When the liver metabolizes high levels of spirits because it gives off a lot of heat, leading to warm body temperature.
Perspiration After Drinking Alcohol
As mentioned earlier, alcohol affects the central nervous system, the circulation, and virtually all parts of the body.
One of the more common side effects of drinking spirits is sweating after drinking. The body does sweat to lower its temperature through evaporation.
The liver can effectively metabolize around one serving of alcohol in an hour, so consuming more can increase the blood alcohol content faster, and one will start feeling intoxicated.
Toxins caused by the liver’s slow ability to metabolize liquor will build up in the body, causing changes to the way the brain and organs work.
Alcohol toxins can cause enlargement of the blood vessels in the skin. This dilation is common because of the changes in body temperature as discussed earlier.
Others may think that sweating after drinking spirits is good to flush it out of the system. But this isn’t true. Alcohol lowers the body temperature, and sweating can decrease it further.
Also, according to Bowling Green State University, only 10% of the alcohol people drink leaves the body via the urine, breath, and perspiration. The rest is consumed and broken down into byproducts. Perspiration will not release alcohol from the system any faster.
Alcohol Alters Temperature Regulation
People have always known the association between essential tremors and alcohol because of the involvement of the brain in alcohol intoxication. But little do they know that the hypothalamus is likewise very much affected – a brain part that is responsible for keeping the body at a comfortable temperature.
In one study, researchers found that aside from skin vasodilatation, alcohol can alter the body’s ability to regulate temperature.
If this happens on warmer days, drinkers may feel dizzy or nauseated. But, on cold nights, especially during winter, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can be very dangerous. If the environment is cold, drinkers are more likely to get colder.
Alcohol Causes Hot Flashes
Hot flashes are very famous as a symptom of menopause, but these are due to hormonal imbalance. Alcohol and hot flashes are related, too!
Hot flashes are believed to be caused by increased blood flow in the brain. Once it detects an increased body temperature, it prompts the release of chemicals to dilate blood vessels in the skin. Surplus heat will then be radiated into the surrounding air.
Estrogen can apparently allow the body to have a greater tolerance for body temperature changes. Usually, the body can easily adapt to a change of 1.4 degrees Celsius before it dilates the blood vessels, but if there is a decrease in the hormone levels, dilatation will occur faster.
The hot flash will stay as long as needed to release the surplus heat.
Alcohol Makes You Flush
Facial flushing due to drinking spirits can happen for two main reasons – enzyme deficiency or rosacea. In both cases, ethnicity plays a huge role.
Most Asian populations are known to lack an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase. It’s the one responsible for breaking down alcohol. As discussed earlier, alcohol is toxic to cells, and when it reaches the blood vessels, it causes dilatation.
This reddens the skin and explains why does alcohol warm you up. Without a sufficient amount of this enzyme, alcohol can reach toxic levels much earlier in the cells.
Fair-skinned people from the Northern part of Europe may have some have signs of alcohol allergy or rosacea.
This is a common skin condition marked by hyperactivity and vasomotor instability. Dilatation of skin blood vessels can be caused by several other things aside from alcohol. Other triggers would include chocolates, spicy foods, hot beverages, and more.
Ask for Help
Alcohol’s causative relationships with the above mentioned side effects can be short-term and may only happen if alcohol is present in the bloodstream. But with regular alcohol consumption, though, they can have different effects.
For cases wherein one cannot stop drinking alcohol, long-term alcohol treatment centers can be of great help. They offer counseling programs and rehabilitation to help a drinker recover from alcohol addiction.
Learn more about alcoholism treatment program features to find one that meets the needs of the individual.
Marixie Ann Manarang-Obsioma
Marixie Ann Manarang-Obsioma is a licensed Medical Technologist (Medical Laboratory Science) and an undergraduate of Doctor of Medicine (MD). She took her Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Technology at Angeles University Foundation and graduated with flying colors.
The combination of having a good medical background, being a mom, and wanting to help people, especially the elderly has cultivated her passion for working in remote areas with love and compassion.
Marixie likes to travel, read, and watch movies.
Medical review by Brian Obodeze
9 Weird Things That Happen To Your Body After A Night Of Drinking
We’re all familiar with that painful dehydration, pounding headache, and unpleasant nausea that results after a night of consuming alcohol. But those aren’t the only effects of too much booze — there are a number of other weird things that can happen to your body after a night of drinking. The classic symptoms of a hangover are the most obvious, but there some other effects of drinking that can happen all throughout your body, even if you aren’t fully aware of them.
“When a person consumes more alcohol than they can handle, their blood alcohol level (BAL), can quickly rise to toxic levels,” says Edison de Mello, MD, PhD over email. “And since that alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream, it is quickly diffused into all the tissues in your body — including vital organs.”
It’s quite obvious, but to avoid these negative effects, you’re best limiting the amount you drink each time you indulge in some beverages. “The recommended maximum intake of alcohol is one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men,” says de Mello. “Four or more drinks per day is believed to be the beginning of binge drinking.”
A night out can cause all sorts of crazy things to happen — besides just drunk texting your ex. Here are nine weird things that happen to your body after a night of drinking.
1. You’re More Likely To Get Sick
A study published in the journal Alcohol found that drinking alcohol affects the immune system immediately, sometimes as quickly as 20 minutes. “Frequent drinking can lead to more colds, flu, or other illnesses,” says de Mello. “This is because alcohol makes the body more susceptible to infections.”
2. Your Heart Races
“Heavy drinking affects your heart’s ability to regulate its rhythm,” says de Mello. “In most cases, it dies down after a day or two — but for anyone with underlying heart problems, it could lead to hospitalization, or more severe problems down the road.”
3. Your Sleep Is Disturbed
Although a night of drinking might knock you out by the time you’re ready for bed, you’re likely to wake up feeling much more tired than if you hadn’t hit up happy hour. Drinking alcohol reduces rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is the restorative part of sleep, according to a review published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. This disruption in sleep leads you to feel more drowsy and less well-rested.
4. You Experience Tummy Troubles
Drinking alcohol can lead to digestive distress. “For one, over-consuming can throw of the balance of good bacteria in your GI system,” says de Mello. “Even worse, it can break down the mucous lining in your digestive system, making it easier for waste and other particulates to enter your bloodstream — and cause long-term health issues.”
5. You’re More Likely To Feel Anxious
That stress you feel after a night might be more than just regret. Alcohol changes levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain, which can worsen anxiety, according to Healthline. This can make you feel even worse once the alcohol has worn off.
6. Your Face Swells Up
The next day after a consuming a few drinks, we don’t usually look our best. This is because alcohol causes bloating and inflammation in the body, which can lead to red eyes and a puffy face, according to holistic skincare expert Paula Simpson, who spoke to Fox News. All that dehydration can also cause your body to hold on to water weight.
7. Your Brain Doesn’t Function As Well
After a night of drinking, your working memory can be impacted, and you might find that you have a diminished ability to perform basic tasks, according to research from Keele University. Research shows that even one night of binge drinking can destroy brain cells, as well as “cause brain shrinkage, and even cause frontal lobe damage,” says de Mello.
8. Your Blood Sugar Drops
Ever felt shaky and weak after a long night? You can thank alcohol’s effect on blood sugar for that. Alcohol causes your blood sugar levels to drop, as quickly as immediately or even up to 12 hours later, according to Livestrong. This can lead to feelings of dizziness and fatigue.
9. You Sweat More
Because alcohol is so dehydrating, your body has a hard time regulating temperature, which can lead to increased sweating. If you’re feeling yourself perspire much more after a night on the town, you can blame it on the alcohol.
Are night sweats a sign of alcohol withdrawal?
Alcohol can cause night sweats in several different ways. People may sweat more after drinking due to the following:
Effects on the heart and blood vessels
Share on PinterestDrinking alcohol can cause night sweats in some people.
Alcohol affects the body in many ways, one of which is its impact on the heart. It can cause the heart rate to become too fast or the heart rhythm to become irregular.
With alcohol intake, when the heart rate speeds up, the blood vessels in the skin tend to widen. This process is called vasodilation.
Dilated blood vessels cause the skin to feel warm and flushed. This can trigger the release of sweat.
This sweating could occur at any time of day. However, as many people drink alcohol in the evening, night sweats are common.
While many people feel warm after drinking alcohol, the core body temperature drops as blood moves from the core to the skin through dilated blood vessels. Sweat also removes heat from the body.
People may not realize that because of this, they are at risk of hypothermia in cold weather. Or, in hot weather, they may begin to experience nausea and dizziness with dehydration in addition to sweating.
People who drink heavily or regularly may have night sweats several hours or days after last consuming alcohol. This is a common symptom of alcohol withdrawal, often affecting people with alcohol use disorder (AUD).
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), one 2015 survey suggested that 15.1 million adults in the United States had AUD. This figure includes 9.8 million males and 5.3 million females.
Night sweats due to alcohol withdrawal are usually temporary but may last for several days. Other withdrawal symptoms include:
- aches and pains
- anxiety and depression
- loss of appetite
- sleep problems, including insomnia and nightmares
Some of the more severe symptoms include vomiting, fever, hallucinations, and seizures.
A person should seek immediate medical attention if they experience any of these symptoms.
Alcohol intolerance is a genetic disorder in which the body does not have enough of the enzyme activity necessary to break down alcohol.
One of the most common symptoms of alcohol intolerance is facial flushing, but it can also cause excessive sweating.
Other symptoms include:
- low blood pressure
- rapid heartbeat
Sometimes, a person may appear to have alcohol intolerance but may be reacting to another ingredient in the drink. Doctors will use a simple test to determine whether or not alcohol is the issue.
Other factors, such as menopause or medication use, commonly cause hot flashes and night sweats. Drinking alcohol may make these symptoms worse.
A 2006 study that appeared in the Annals of Human Biology found that drinking alcohol during menopause may make night sweats worse. Of 293 people in the study, 36 percent of menopausal females had experienced night sweats.
However, hot flashes and sweating can affect other people, too, since alcohol can harm the endocrine system. This system makes and secretes hormones that can contribute to these symptoms.
Night sweats after alcohol – when is it a sign of alcohol withdrawal?
Sweat is crucial for keeping our bodies cool and our sweat glands continue to work even when we’re asleep.
There are numerous reasons as to why you may experience night sweats, such as having the menopause, low blood sugar or even a fever. Certain medications including antidepressants and steroids can also cause them, while your bedroom environment may also have an effect.
Alcohol is a more serious cause of night sweats and can be a sign of alcoholism. If you are struggling with alcohol, we have outlined the help and support that is available to help you on your journey to recovery.
Alcohol withdrawal and night sweats
Night sweats can be caused by alcohol withdrawal. If you identify yourself as addicted to alcohol, it is crucial that you do not start withdrawing from alcohol without seeking medical advice as the process is potentially life threatening.
Withdrawal symptoms typically occur within 8 hours after your last drink and peak between 24 and 72 hours. Withdrawal symptoms can be classed as mild, moderate or severe. It is important to be cautious as the severity of the symptoms can change within hours.
Mild symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include:
- Mild itchiness
- Slight tremors
- Slight sensitivity to sounds and light
- Feeling clammy
- Mild headaches
Moderate symptoms include:
- Frequent nausea and dry retching
- Pins and needles, burning or numbness
- Tremor seen when arms are outstretched
- Noises become startling and lights become uncomfortable
- Moderate headache or pressure around the head
- Mentally less alert
- Mild confusion
Alcohol withdrawal can lead to delirium tremens (DTs), which is the most severe form of alcohol withdrawal. This is very serious and life-threatening, can worsen very quickly and requires immediate medical care.
Signs of delirium tremens include:
- Constant nausea
- Retching and vomiting
- Auditory and visual hallucinations
- Coarse tremors
- Drenching sweats
- Acute confusion
Severe withdrawals may also lead to seizures as alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant and abrupt withdrawal can lead to CNS excitability.
Priory Hospital Woking’s Dr Laurence Church (MBChB, MRCPsych, MSc) advises that “daily drinkers at risk of being physically dependent on alcohol should not suddenly stop drinking, as they will be at risk of withdrawal seizures and delirium tremens. They should seek medical advice and support to stop drinking. It is usually safe to gradually reduce consumption according to a tapered regime, but in practice this is very difficult to do as it requires people to fully control and limit their drinking.”
Getting help for alcoholism
If you are struggling to give up alcohol, Priory can support you as you work towards achieving a fulfilling life away from addiction. We understand that admitting that you have a problem can be tough, but it is the first and most significant step you need to take.
At one of our Priory alcohol rehabilitation centres, you will receive treatment according to your needs and the severity of your dependence. This can include detoxification, which is done in a safe environment with 24 hour care and support. There is also inpatient rehabilitation, which can help you to gain an understanding of why you drink and develop coping strategies for the future. We also have outpatient therapies, where people can receive care for alcohol dependency around their responsibilities.
How stress could be responsible for your hot flushes
Hot flushes are an extremely common symptom of the menopause: three quarters of all menopausal women will experience them at some point.1 Hot flushes are sporadic, random, and sudden feelings of heat that overcome the whole body. As well as being uncomfortable they can cause dizziness, increased sweating, heart palpitations, and blushing, although symptoms vary from person to person. Although hot flushes are harmless, they can be incredibly difficult to live with. Some menopausal women report severe hot flushes in excess of 15 times a day, and around 10-20% of all postmenopausal women say they find their hot flushes very distressing.2 They can be embarrassing and disruptive to your everyday routine and can have a profound effect on your general wellbeing.
Although for most women hot flushes begin to occur after their last period, hot flushes are also common during perimenopause, which begins several years before menopause, when a woman stills has her period.3 The exact cause of hot flushes is still relatively unknown, and it is difficult to pick out a singular definitive cause as there are multiple factors involved. During menopause, a woman’s hormone levels may rise and fall due to her ovaries producing less oestrogen. This hormonal imbalance is thought to be an important factor in why hot flushes occur.
Having said this, low levels of oestrogen do not cause hot flushes alone. It is believed that the sudden decrease of oestrogen that occurs during menopause has an effect on the hypothalamus in the brain, which essentially acts as your body’s internal thermostat. Usually, when your hypothalamus detects the body is overheating, it triggers a series of involuntary responses such as vasodilation (which is when your blood capillaries dilate, causing your face to turn red, or “blush”) and increased sweating.
When the body is too hot, it is these responses that enable it to cool off and sustain a reasonable temperature, in a process called homeostasis. It is believed that the drop in oestrogen causes the hypothalamus to stimulate the release of hormones that trigger these unwanted hot flushes. While on a hot day this mechanism of action is important to stop you from overheating, when it occurs out of the blue at inconvenient times, it can be distressing.
What does stress have to do with it?
Stress is an important underlying factor in explaining what could be causing your hot flushes. It is an evolutionary response triggered by a perceived threatening stimulus that in turn triggers a series of bodily functions such as an increased heart rate and sweating. From an evolutionary perspective, this would have been advantageous as it would have allowed you to flee from a predator or aided in a physically demanding activity such as hunting.
Nowadays, non-threatening stimuli (such as work or family troubles) still trigger this same mechanism, causing a series of unwanted, involuntary responses. During the stress response, your adrenal glands are stimulated and produce adrenaline, which causes your heart rate to increase and your blood pressure to rise. This increased heart rate can raise blood pressure and cause a hot flush. While it is impossible to say “cut down on stress”, you could take up activities that are known to reduce levels of stress, such as exercise, meditation, or yoga. This may help in reducing the number of hot flushes you experience.
As well as ensuring you are keeping active, maintaining a healthy diet could be key in reducing your stress levels, which in turn could alleviate your hot flushes. While “comfort” foods make you feel better in the short term when you are feeling stressed, in reality these high-fat foods can make you feel lethargic and can have an adverse effect on your ability to cope with stress.4
As well as slowing you down, high-fat foods can increase cholesterol and consequently can cause an increase in blood pressure, which in turn raises your risk of having hot flushes.5 Cutting down on the amount of salt and fatty foods you consume will help reduce your blood pressure. Also making the switch from traditional comfort foods to high-fibre yet still carbohydrate-rich alternatives, such as baked sweet potatoes, may help you cope with stress. Eating fibre-rich carbohydrates releases serotonin, a neurotransmitter than can elevate your mood and help you cope with stress.
There are many other steps you can take to ensure you don’t suffer so many hot flushes. Firstly, stop or cut down on smoking, as it is known to increase both the severity and frequency of hot flushes.5 Smoking is known to have an effect on hormone levels in women, and it is believed that this causes an increase in prevalence of hot flushes.6 Also, being physically active and making sure you get enough exercise is shown to help.
While there are lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your hot flushes, there are some risk factors that you cannot do anything about. Race, for example, is also said to have an effect on hot flushes in menopausal women. Studies have shown that menopausal women of African descent have more frequent, intense, and longer hot flushes than Caucasian women. It is also shown that Hispanic women have more frequent, although less severe hot flushes than Caucasian women.7,8
Whilst in isolation hot flushes are inconvenient and uncomfortable, there are a number of secondary complications that can arise that can cause more severe problems. For example, hot flushes during the night can keep you awake and cause ‘night sweats’. This can subsequently lead to a lack of sleep which can lead to a host of medical problems as well as having detrimental effects on your general health and wellbeing. In some cases, hot flushes can also induce anxiety and could even trigger bouts of depression. If you feel that hot flushes are having a detrimental effect on your wellbeing, it is important to seek the advice of a doctor who could prescribe you medication to keep them under control.
Page last updated June 2017
What they are:
Hot flash is a naturally occuring feeling of intense body heat, which can be uncomfortable and even sleep distracting. Triggers of hot flashes are anything that create heat and stress in your body. As such, quick fixes include removing things that can cause you to increase heat and stress.
A hot flash is a feeling of intense body heat that can occur during the day or at night. They are a naturally occurring reaction from your body to hormonal changes, especially during perimenopause and menopause period. Depending on the cause of hot flashes, they can sometimes last for 6 to 24 months for menopause-related symptoms, or even 7 to 11 years for others. While they can be mild, moderate, or severe, hot flashes can be uncomfortable, causing discomfort or even sleep disruption.
- Sudden spread of warmth of upper body and face
- Experiencing red, blotchy skin
- Increased heartbeat
- Sweating, especially in the upper body
- Tingling in the fingers
- A chilled feelings as hot flash lets up
Hot flashes are extremely prevalent. It’s estimated that up to 75% of women in the perimenopause or menopause period in the US report experiencing them. As such, it is all the more important for us to truly understand why they exist, to look into how to avoid having them, and the eventual future prevention.
Alcohol:A very common trigger of hot flashes. All alcoholic beverages cause differing degrees of blood vessels expansion, which makes you feel warmer.
Spicy food:Similar to alcohol, many spices and ingredients that give food their heatare vasodilators that expand your blood vessels. To illustrate, anything that taste hot, or taste like heat in your mouth can cause hot flashes in your body.
Caffeine:Unlike alcohol and spicy foods, caffeine narrows blood vessels instead of widening them– it’s a vasoconstrictor. However, caffeine slightly raises people’s heart rate, which can have the same effect in triggering a hot flash.
Smoking:When smoking, your heart rate increases naturally. Other than the increased heart rate, the warmth that comes from smoking will also increase the possibility of getting heat flashes.
Emotions/ Stress:Many women report getting hot flashes when they’re having an emotional responses. That is because intense emotions rushes the blood to the surface of our skin, triggering a hot flash. Think about it as being red in the face when you feel angry.
Hot beverages/ hot weathers/ hair appliances/ too much clothing/ heavy blankets, sheets/ exercising right before bed:similar to the other triggers, anything that creates warmth in your body will increase the possibility of getting hot flashes.
How to deal with hot flashes:
Although it is not guaranteed that these methods will for sure work, below are some ideas that should serve as a good place to start and give ideas about how to get rid of hot flashes.
Intuitively, a quick fix is to cut out the things that trigger hot flashes, as mentioned above.
Other than those simple fixes, below are some other suggestions.
- Sleeping cooler. There are many ways through which you can achieve this goal. You can wear more lightweight, loose-fitting clothes, use fans during the night, or to have a “chill pillow”. One such option of an active cooling pillow that will constantly maintains the optimal temperature is MOONA. The thermoregulated pad will keep your pillow at the desired temperature constantly, something no other similar options can claim. (To compare all of your cooling pillow options, check out our article here.)
- Establish a calming bedtime ritual to reduce stress
- Practice mindfulness, be it through yoga, meditation, or guided breathing, to help your body relax.
Adding natural foods and supplements to your diet can help reduce hot flashes in the long term. Although the scientific effectiveness of these methods is unclear, some women report that they can be helpful. Some of these are harmless home remedies, however, some products mentioned may have side effects or may interfere with medications that you are currently taking, it is important to take the below suggestions with a grain of salt and consult your doctor before taking them.
- Eating one or two servings of soy per day has been shown to decrease the frequency and intensity of hot flashes occurrences according to thisstudy.
- Consuming black cohosh supplements or related products can treat hot flashes in the short term. However, do watch out for the side effects of black cohosh if you have a liver problem.
- Taking evening primrose supplements or related products, but side effects can include nausea and diarrhea.
- Eating flax seeds or flaxseed-related products may help reduce hot flashes, per thisWebMD article.
- Getting acupuncture consistently.
These 5 Things (That Aren’t Menopause) Could Be Causing Your Hot Flashes
Anxiety is also a sign. | iStock.com/Viktor_Gladkov
Most people attribute hot flashes and random moments of sweating to menopausal symptoms. But if you’re under 40 and in good health, these hot flashes may seem a bit premature — and slightly concerning.
There are other reasons you could be experiencing hot flashes that aren’t biological and actually a result of external factors in your life and body. We’ve rounded up the top five reasons you could be unnecessarily overheating, and how to fix them.
1. Excessive weight gain
Most people are familiar with, or at least aware of, the relationship between weight gain and metabolism. Since your body fat is metabolically active, excess weight that you put on can screw with your metabolism — also promoting hot flashes, Beth Battaglino, RN, told Prevention.
Changing your diet and increasing your exercise are two surefire ways to bring relief to hot flashes associated with excessive weight gain. Overweight and obese women who ate healthily and exercised around 200 minutes a week reported fewer hot flashes than those who didn’t attempt to change their lifestyle, a University of California, San Francisco study found.
While there’s plenty of anxiety associated with menopause, hot flashes as a result of anxiety alone can strike at any age. “Anxiety” is a word mental health experts associated with the physical symptoms of stress and worry. Hot flashes that result from anxiety usually occur suddenly, involve uncontrollable sweat, and can make you feel extremely hot even when your environment is a normal temperature.
Hot flashes that result from anxiety are fairly unpredictable and can occur anywhere on your body, encompass your entire body, or persistently affect just one area of your body. They can come and go rarely or occur frequently and may change frequency over time.
If you experience hot flashes as a result of anxiety and apprehensive behavior, you can end the hot flashes by practicing relaxed breathing, increasing your rest, and trying not to worry about the hot flashes. Hot flashes are a symptom of your body’s reaction to stress and will disappear once your body and mind have relaxed.
3. A reaction to food or allergy
If you love spicy Thai or hot sauce then you’re probably no stranger to the hot flashes that result from eating hot foods. Caffeine and alcohol can trigger these hot flashes as well and eating lighter foods as well as eliminating alcohol and caffeine generally stops hot flashes.
However, if you still notice a persistent issue, you could have an unidentified food allergy that’s upsetting your body. Pay attention to what foods you eat that result in hot flashes and seek a doctor or dietician’s advice if the symptoms persist.
4. Your bedroom is too hot
Night sweats aren’t a symptom exclusive to menopause. Many premenopausal women have woken up in a cold sweat with hot flashes. While night sweats can occur as a result of hormonal changes or infections, they may also be a result of your body temperature’s natural fluctuation.
If you notice persistent hot flashes that come on in the middle of your sleep, the solution may be closer than you think. “It may be as simple a fix as turning down the thermostat or sleeping with fewer blankets or clothes,” Lynn Simpson, MD, an ob-gyn at Cleveland Clinic, told Prevention.
5. Prescription medication
Many prescription drugs — including antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and osteoporosis drugs — include hot flashes as a common side effect. For those with anxiety, your hot flashes could be a result of both your physical anxiety and the medication you take to manage it.
Battaglino recommends looking for symptoms soon after starting a new course of medication. “If they coincide, you’ll know that’s probably the cause,” she adds. However, if the discomfort continues, consult your doctor about switching to a similar medication that doesn’t cause a heat reaction.
Check out more information on the easiest ways to relieve hot flashes.
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Ah, caffeine. It’s one of our daily routine’s most dastardly double-edged swords. Swear it off and you could be missing out on a host of health benefits (a decreased risk of cancer and diabetes among them; see the cool list of benefits here). Drink too much and you risk messing with your sleep, triggering anxiety, and possibly spiking your blood pressure.
The latest news to tip the precarious pro-con balance? The Mayo Clinic’s release of brand-new data on the link between caffeine and menopause symptoms. This new report, published in a recent issue of Menopause, is the largest study ever to examine this connection, and included survey responses from 1,800 female patients at the Mayo Clinic between July 2005 and July 2011.
“It’s a preliminary study,” says lead author Stephanie S. Faubion, MD. “However, we did find that caffeine intake is associated with more bothersome hot flashes and night sweats.”
Things got a bit more complicated when researchers took another look at the data. They found that pre-menopausal caffeine drinkers reported improvements in symptoms like poor memory and difficulty concentrating. That positive association, however, did not appear in post-menopausal patients. In other words: caffeine could help us in one stage of the transition, but hurt us in another.
So, we ask, empty coffee mugs poised for an afternoon refill: What’s a woman of menopausal age to do?
First, consider the study’s weaknesses. The questionnaire did not ask women how much caffeine they consumed, making it difficult to determine how many cups it takes to turn up the heat. And, the authors concede, the results showing caffeine’s positive effects for pre-menopausal women may simply reinforce what we’ve always known about the chemical: It can transform us from sluggish and sour to sunny and super-alert. But if that’s the case, why wouldn’t caffeine’s mind-sharpening effects simply follow us into post-meno life, too? On this point, the researchers are also unsure, writing that the finding is “unclear” and “could have occurred by chance.”
“The most important takeaway is that women who are particularly bothered by hot flashes and night sweats consider reducing their caffeine intake,” Faubion says. It’s just one of a host of lifestyle changes she recommends for easing symptoms, from dressing in layers to practicing yoga to managing stress. “It doesn’t mean you have to give up all caffeine,” she adds. We’ll raise a cup of joe to that.
MORE: The Ultimate Owners’ Guide To Menopause
Can You Actually Sweat Out Alcohol?
That explains why you may smell a little of last night’s tequila in the gym the morning after. Plus, many people sweat more after a night out. That’s because as alcohol accumulates in the blood vessels, they enlarge, explains Axe. “This can make people feel hot, which triggers the sweat glands.”
But here’s an important distinction: You’re not actually sweating out alcohol. You’re sweating out the by-product of alcohol.
Okay, well can exercise cure your hangover?
Unfortunately, no. (And there’s not currently any hangover-free booze-we’ve checked.) Alcohol takes time to exit the body, and hitting the gym won’t actually help you clear out the alcohol or cure your hangover faster. In fact, according to Daniels, “trying to sweat out alcohol or a hangover can make your hangover way worse.”
It all comes down to dehydration. After a night involving a few (or more) drinks, you’re probably dehydrated when you wake up. That’s because alcohol inhibits the release of vasopressin, an antidiuretic hormone that helps your body reach equilibrium when the concentration of electrolytes get wanky. (It does this by reducing how much you pee). So with each boozy sip, you prevent vasopressin from doing its job.
“And to top it off, alcohol is a diuretic, so it increases how often you pee,” says Axe. (These frequent bathroom runs and serious dehydration are one reason you probably wake up early after drinking.)
If you work out when you’re already dehydrated, you could actually exacerbate your hangover symptoms, such as headaches, fatigue, brain fog, and “meh” mood. (Keep an eye out for these other symptoms of dehydration.) “It’s actually the opposite of sweating that will work for fighting a hangover; it’s drinking lots of water and rehydrating that will help,” says Caleb Backe, a certified personal trainer at Maple Holistics.
What if it feels like it helps?
Whether it’s H2O and B12, a juice shot and Advil, or black coffee and a plain bagel, everyone has their own trusty hangover cure. If you swear that hitting the gym makes you feel better, you’re not totally crazy.
“The real reason some people claim to feel better after a hungover workout is because of the endorphins, not the actual sweating,” says Rao. His suggestion: “If you do choose to work out, limit it to light cardio and ensure adequate hydration to keep up with the loss of water that occurs.” (Or maybe opt for this eight-minute at-home hangover workout.) Save the 15-miler or weightlifting session for another day.
Whether you hit the gym or not, if you actually want to beat the hangover, your best course of action is to rehydrate, replenish your electrolytes, and nosh on carbohydrates. Try a combo of drinking coconut water or a cup of bone broth (which are high in electrolytes) and eating complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes or quinoa, suggests Axe.
And if you’re regularly too hungover to take that trendy new butt-sculpting workout class with your pals, it may be time to rethink your drinking habits. (BTW, here’s why you drink alcohol even though you know it’s not great for you.)
- By By Gabrielle Kassel
The only thing worse than waking up hung over is waking up hung over and sweaty. Unfortunately, it’s a thing. Alcohol prompts your body to sweat, which is why you might wake up dripping on drenched sheets after hitting the booze too hard the night before.
© Photographed by Ali Gavillet. Refinery29
Brigitte Zeitlin, RD and founder of BZ Nutrition, explains that our bodies respond to alcohol with sweating for a few different reasons. “It’s affecting our nervous system, which results in throwing off our body’s ability to sense and regulate body temperature,” Zeitlin says. “We’re sensing that we’re hot and flushed, and we sweat because that’s the body’s natural way of cooling itself down.”
It also has to do with the heart and circulatory system, explains Jenny Beth Kroplin, RD and founder of Nutritious Love.
“Alcohol can speed up the heart rate, or cause heart irregularity, which triggers vasodilation, a widening of blood vessels,” Kroplin says. “This vasodilation moves warm blood closer to the surface of our skin, the largest organ of our body, causing the entire body to feel warm or flushed — which in turn can trigger perspiration.”
Why is this hangover sweat a problem?
You may think the only problem with waking up sweaty is having to wash your sheets as you chase ibuprofen with Gatorade. But there’s another issue that’s more physiological. Your night sweats are dehydrating you.
If you’re like me, you may have thought alcohol was automatically dehydrating the second it touched your precious lips. It’s actually the way your body processes the alcohol that dehydrates you, though. “Alcohol can be dehydrating to the body through increased urination, vomiting, and perspiration,” says Kroplin. So, the alcohol causes sweating, which results in dehydration, if you’re looking for the classic cause-and-effect explanation.
Another reason for the dehydration: “The more alcohol you’re drinking, the fewer hydrating drinks you’re drinking,” Zeitlin says. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always seem like there’s time to drink water when you’re sucking down your vodka soda on the dance floor. Dietitians want you to make time.
Why does it happen when we’re asleep?
The thing is, your body would probably be a sweaty mess whether you were asleep or not. Many of us start drinking at night, and so we happen to be asleep when the body is reacting to alcohol by virtually squeegee-ing your pores.
If you’re pounding mimosas at a 10 a.m. brunch, your body would still sweat more than usual during the day because that’s when the alcohol is working its way through your body’s system, Zeitlin says.
However, you may not notice it as much, because there are more opportunities to replenish your body’s H2O supply during the day. Even if you’re only drinking bloodies at brunch, you ostensibly have eight or so more waking hours to make up for it and drink water. At night, you’re asleep, so you’re not taking in any liquid. “Worst case scenario, if you’re wasted by 3 p.m., you still have time to drink water and rehydrate yourself and rebalance before you go to bed,” Zeitlin says.
What can you do to stop the sweats?
This all sounds bad, right? But there are things you can do to help your body cope with the sweaty, liquor-fueled mess you’ve created.
“A good rule of thumb is to drink at least eight to 10 ounces or more of water before drinking an alcoholic beverage, and alternating water between alcoholic beverages,” Kroplin says. “Keeping an electrolyte fluid in rotation like coconut water will also help the body rehydrate and stay on a good hydration track.”
You’re also losing B vitamins when you drink, so Zeitlin recommends having a glass of water, some cheese sticks (high in those vitamins), and some whole grain crackers before bed. This combo will make you feel way better the next day than that greasy slice of pizza. She also recommends taking a shower before going to sleep to cool down your body temperature.
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Cheers to a more hydrated bod and cleaner sheets.