Managing Vasomotor Symptoms (Hot Flashes) in Menopause

Key Takeaways
  • Vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause are related to your body’s ability to regulate temperature. This leads to symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, feeling overheated, and excessive sweating.
  • Although the exact mechanism for this isn’t understood, it’s believed that the reduction of estrogen during menopause has an impact on your body’s internal thermometer. This causes your body to act like it's overheating, even when it’s not.
  • For moderate-to-severe symptoms, prescribed treatments options can be an effective option with the gold standard of treatment being hormonal therapy
  • In addition, there are some non-prescription treatments that can be attempted, but their efficacy remains limited.

Although there are over 30 different symptoms associated with menopause, the most commonly recognized symptoms are the vasomotor symptoms, think hot flashes and sweating,  that many people experience throughout the menopause continuum.

These symptoms can be quite severe. So much so that it impacts the daily lives of 75% of people in their menopause journey with 1-in-4 people experiencing symptoms that they identify as severe. Symptoms can vary widely from person to person, because each person’s menopause experience is unique to them.

Many practitioners like to think of menopause like puberty in reverse. And like puberty, it helps to think of menopause as an extremely individualized experience.

This page will help you understand what vasomotor symptoms are, the causes and their treatments.

What are Vasomotor Symptoms in Menopause?

Menopause related vasomotor symptoms (VMS) are related to the reduction of estrogen in the body during the menopause transition. This impacts your body’s ability to regulate temperature.

These symptoms present as:

  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats (hot flashes that occur while you sleep)
  • Feeling overheated (coming on abruptly and intensely)
  • Excessive sweating

These symptoms can also lead to sleep disruption and mood changes. This can lead to exhaustion, which can make daily life more difficult to manage.

If you’re experiencing symptoms associated with menopause, like VMS night sweats or hot flashes, be sure to talk to a practitioner at Felix. They may be able to suggest vasomotor symptom treatment options that will help.

What do Vasomotor Symptoms Feel Like?

Imagine sitting in a sauna. It’s a warming feeling that almost immediately begins to make us sweat. In the right time and place, this is a pleasant feeling. Refreshing and rejuvenating.

Now imagine you’re sitting at your desk at work, or you’re having dinner with your family. Fully clothed in the beautiful outfit you’ve picked for the occasion. You’ve done your hair and makeup to look your best.

Suddenly, you feel like you’re sitting in the sauna. Every part of your body starts to sweat excessively. You feel flushed, overheated, and uncomfortable. Your hair mats to your head. Your makeup begins to run. You may even feel embarrassed.

This is the way menopause vasomotor symptoms can feel. They come on all at once, and they can turn a pleasant conversation into an uncomfortable situation at the snap of a finger.

What Causes Vasomotor Symptoms?

Although the reasoning for this isn’t fully understood yet, it’s believed to be related to the  hypothalamus (your body’s internal thermostat).

When the hypothalamus believes that your body is overheating, it opens up all your skin’s blood vessels and sweat glands to cool you down. The problem is that during menopause, fluctuating hormone levels trick the hypothalamus into thinking you’re overheating, even when you’re not.

Since you’re not actually overheating, vasomotor symptoms cause flushing in the face, similar to blushing, as well as excessive sweating and feeling overheated.

If you believe that you’re starting to experience VMS hot flashes or night sweats,consider talking to a healthcare practitioner at Felix. They can suggest potential treatment options that may be able to help control these bothersome symptoms..

When Do Vasomotor Symptoms Start and End?

You may start to experience vasomotor symptoms as early as the start of the menopause transition.

Menopause VMS symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats can last anywhere from 30 seconds to several minutes at a time. In addition to this, they may vary in intensity and duration each time.

Vasomotor symptoms related to menopause can occur several times in a day, or only a few times per week. It’s entirely dependent on the individual experience.

What Can You Do About Vasomotor Symptoms?

Prescribed hormone treatments have been shown to be one of the most effective medication-based vasomotor symptom treatment methods.

For Moderate-to-Severe Hot Flash Symptoms

Hormone treatments are considered the gold standard treatment for reducing vasomotor symptoms in menopause.

For Mild Hot Flash Symptoms

Lifestyle strategies could be a helpful choice, before trying hormone treatments. This can include things like:

  • Keeping your body temperature cool (i.e., wear light clothing, air conditioning, ventilation, etc.)
  • Participating in regular exercise
  • Avoiding alcohol intake and cigarette smoking
  • Following a healthy diet
  • Behavioral modifications (i.e., avoiding stressful situations)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has also been found to be helpful for some who experience VMS.

When Should I Talk to My Healthcare Practitioner?

If you believe that you’re entering the menopause transition, and you’re starting to experience VMS symptoms like hot flashes or night sweats, or you’re just interested in learning more about what to expect, talk to a practitioner at Felix.

After talking to you about the symptoms you’re experiencing, as well as learning more about your medical history, a Felix practitioner may be able to suggest treatments that could work for you.

With Felix in your corner, you can kick vasomotor symptoms to the curb, so that you can get back to living life on your terms.

Medically reviewed by


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