Once a woman’s menstrual cycle is over, she experiences a lot of changes in her body. Hot flashes become unwanted friends of women in their menopause phase. They suddenly feel warm, mostly over the chest, face, and neck. Women tend to sweat a lot as well due to the hot flashes they experience during menopause. But the list of problems for women in their 40s and 50s doesn’t end with hot flashes. Cold flash is also a symptom of menopause, and it’s got nothing to do with winter. In fact, many women might have experienced it but might have wondered what to call it.
Delving deep into it, HealthShots got some answers about cold flashes during menopause from Dr Veenu Agarwal, Director – Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Gurugram.
Is cold flash a symptom of menopause?
The sudden feeling of cold and shivering when temperature outside is quite comfortable is a cold flash. According to Dr Agarwal, as women head towards midlife, around two-third of them experience psychological, emotional as well as vasomotor changes. The exact reason for such changes is still not well-understood, but she says that it’s been linked with peri-menopausal changes in hormonal levels, especially a fall in estrogen causes it. This leads to imbalance of neurotransmitters in different parts of brain, and cold flash is caused by one such imbalance that impacts a part of brain called Hypothalamus. It is responsible for maintaining the body’s temperature.
Cold flashes can be felt at any time of the day. However, they tend to appear more around bedtime or middle of the night. You might suddenly start feeling cold, develop chills and start shivering without having a fever or flu. Your body temperature will be usually normal, but you will feel cold. Sometimes, cold flashes may even trigger anxiety or panic attacks that might last from 30 seconds to a few minutes. They are usually mild, but sometimes they tend to be uncomfortable.
Is it normal for women to have cold flashes during menopause?
Vasomotor symptoms like cold flashes are common during menopause. Nearly 50 to 70 percent of women might experience vasomotor symptoms a few years before the periods stop completely or in the first two years after that, says the expert. For most women, the symptoms are mild and last for only a few months. For some women, they are difficult to handle and disrupt their daily life.
Cold flashes have transient episodes at random times of the day. On their own, they will not affect your health directly. But here’s how you might be affected –
• If cold flashes happen at night regularly, you might get sleep deprived.
• During the day, frequent occurrences can impact your work.
• They might also affect your mental peace and self-confidence.
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Hot flashes vs cold flashes
Cold and hot flashes represent the two opposite ends of the same hormonal mechanism that interferes with the thermoregulation of the body, says the expert. During hot flash, you might get a sudden sensation of warmth and sweating in an otherwise comfortable environment. On the other hand, it’s the sudden sensation of chills and shivering that bothers you during cold flashes.
How to handle cold flashes?
You must be prepared to handle the episode of cold flash whenever it comes unannounced. Here is what to do:
• When a cold flash hit you, start walking around. This will increase your blood circulation and warm you up.
• Wearing warm clothes and socks also helps in decreasing chills and shivering.
• Sipping warm water or milk can make you feel warm from inside.
• If you can get someone to rub your feet, that can give you warmth and relax you too.