When most of us think of menopause, the image that typically comes to mind is that of a lady dripping with sweat while standing in front of an open freezer. For women going through perimenopause and menopause, one of the most common symptoms they experience is known as hot flashes. But what about the related symptom known as cold flashes?
Yes, women going through the menopause transition may also suffer a symptom known as cold flashes, although this symptom is somewhat less prevalent. Let’s get to the bottom of what can induce cold flashes and what is happening inside you.
What are Cold Flashes?
Shivering and chills are uncomfortable side effects caused by cold flashes, which are abrupt reductions in body temperature. Similar to hot flashes, they are typically brought on by variations in hormone levels that occur during menopause. The inability of the body to maintain a consistent temperature, which is disrupted as a result of these shifts, is the root cause of cold flashes.
There is evidence that emotional triggers, such as anxiety or panic disorders, may also play a role in the onset of cold flashes. Hormones are discharged from the body if there is sufficient anxiety or fear. These hormones are not the same hormones connected with menopause, yet, they produce the same impact: they cause our body’s thermostat to become inaccurate.
Symptoms of cold flashes include chills, numbness, and other sensations. There are two sorts of symptoms associated with having a cold flash. The first category is the experience of having a lower temperature, whether actual or perceived (feeling cold or chilled).
The second type of response is the body’s physiological reaction to the perception (tingling or shivering). While none of these symptoms risk the patient’s life, they can be extremely irritating, especially if they last for more than a few minutes.
The following is a list of the primary symptoms of cold flashes that are experienced by the majority of people:
Feelings of Frostiness and Chills: A state of discomfort caused by a lower-than-normal body temperature. Chills are a common reaction to natural changes in body temperature, and they frequently follow a hot flash or occur throughout the night.
Shivering is an involuntary muscle response that occurs as the temperature of the body drops. The quick contraction and relaxation of muscles help to increase blood flow and warm the body.
A tingling sensation, also referred to as “pins and needles,” is most prominently in the hands and feet. Numbness, on the other hand, can occur anywhere in the body. The sense of tingling is caused by alterations in circulation, which occur when your blood flow adjusts in reaction to the cold.
A feeling of dread, palpitations, and shortness of breath: These symptoms are not always linked to the occurrence of cold flashes. If you have these symptoms in conjunction with cold flashes, it is likely a sign that you are suffering from an anxiety condition or a panic attack.
Why are cold flashes associated with menopause in the first place?
Menopause is transitioning from a woman’s reproductive years into her post-childbearing years. If a woman has not had a period for at least one year, it is assumed that she has entered menopause. Her ovaries have reached the stage where they can no longer fulfill their roles of controlling her monthly cycle and getting her body ready for conception.
Ovaries are responsible for the production of estrogen as well as progesterone. After menopause, levels of these two important female sex hormones are at their lowest possible point in a woman’s body. During perimenopause, the years that immediately precede menopause are referred to as “the years of transition,” Estimates and progesterone levels do not gradually decrease but can become highly unpredictable.
The fluctuations and overall shifts in your hormone levels can throw off the balance of several of your body’s systems. Because estrogen and progesterone receptors are distributed throughout our bodies, it is possible to feel the effects of changes in hormone levels everywhere, from your brain to your bones. And while we’re talking about your brain, here is where the hot and cold flashes originate from in your body.
Alterations in hormone levels can disrupt the activities of the hypothalamus, making the region more sensitive. Your hypothalamus is a portion of your brain responsible for the production of hormones that govern your body’s temperature, appetite and thirst, sleep, heart rate, sexual desire, and mood, as well as the release of hormones from your pituitary gland.
Extreme fluctuations in temperature, such as hot flashes and cold sweats, can result from a dysfunction in the hypothalamus. During the transition from perimenopause to postmenopause, about 85 percent of women report experiencing hot flashes at some point in their lives. Nevertheless, shifts in hormone levels can frequently be the culprit behind your feeling of being momentarily chilly.
The difference between cold flashes and hot flashes
Many people use the following definition to define hot flashes:
An abrupt feeling of warmth or strong heat is centered in the upper portion of your body, sometimes broad.
Across your face, neck, and chest, it is washing over you.
Rapid beating of the heart
Experiencing a sharp rise in levels of anxiousness
On the other hand, cold flashes are described by females as a momentary sensation of chilliness all over the body, which is frequently accompanied by tingling, shivering, and sometimes even sweat. During a cold flash, some ladies may get a pale complexion.
Other Causes of Cold Flashes
An anxiety attack might happen to a person experiencing excessive levels of anxiety. In this stage, the body experiences a flood of acute mental and physical symptoms and reacts to them.
When people have panic attacks, their body responds by activating the fight-or-flight response to protect them from imagined danger. During a panic episode, common physical symptoms that may manifest themselves include the following:
Feeling the heat or the cold
symptoms such as profuse perspiration, tremor or shaking, nausea, abdominal pain, chest pain, difficulty breathing, and weakness in the legs
The body releases adrenaline and stress hormones during anxiety or panic attacks. These hormones interfere with the hypothalamus’ ability to effectively regulate body temperature, which may result in either cold or hot flashes.
No evidence suggests that pregnancy is linked to experiencing chilly flashes. On the other hand, a person can experience chilly flashes right after giving birth.
These cold flashes often referred to as postpartum chills, are capable of causing acute and unexpected shivering.
According to a study conducted in 2001, 32 percent of participants experienced postpartum chills. The study’s authors concluded that the chills might be caused by the transfer of blood from the fetus to the woman who is giving birth when she is in labor.
Alterations in temperature to an extreme degree are another symptom that may indicate illness. Our bodies’ immune systems employ temperature as one of the defense mechanisms they deploy to ward off infectious agents.
Several medications and therapies, including certain cancer treatments, are capable of causing fluctuations in body temperature.
Discuss Possible Remedies.
As was previously mentioned, cold flashes are frequently associated with feelings of anxiety and stress. Finding healthy ways to deal with stress and worry can help reduce the frequency and severity of cold flashes. Reducing continuous stress and worry can also assist in reducing levels of stress hormones, which can interfere with the hypothalamus’s capacity to regulate your body temperature.
Learn to Deal with Stress
There is no quick fix to deal with stress, but the following are some strategies that are beneficial to a significant number of people:
- Exercise: Exercising regularly helps you maintain your physical health and causes your body to produce chemicals known as endorphins. Endorphins increase mood, as well as the body’s resistance to pain and inflammation, as well as sleep quality and duration. Getting some exercise during a cold flash can raise your body temperature and end the uncomfortable sensation of having cold flashes.
- Sleep: One of the most beneficial things you can do for your health is to get a sufficient amount of quality sleep each night. Taking the time to ensure that your bedroom is conducive to a restful night’s sleep can have a sizeable impact on both your mood and your level of stress.
- Self-care: Everyone’s version of self-care is unique to them. Reading a book, spending time with friends, or participating in a pastime are all examples of healthy self-care practices. Setting aside time for yourself can boost your mood, reduce stress and anxiety, and make you feel like you have more time in the day, even when it may feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day.
- Yoga, meditation, or other spiritual practice: Yoga and meditation are well-known for their stress-relieving and health benefits. Both of these activities strengthen the link between the body and the mind, making it easier to prevent the physiological effects of mental stress. Many individuals discover that engaging in spiritual activities, such as attending church or other religious events, performing acts of charity, or reading books on religion or spirituality, satisfies them. This feeling of meaning and fulfillment can have a favorable effect on one’s mood and level of stress.
The good news about managing stress is that even modest adjustments frequently have an additive effect. Sleep can be improved by exercise, and the two can act together to lessen feelings of anxiety.
Hormonal Replacement Therapy
Medication containing female hormones is known as hormone replacement treatment (HRT). When you reach menopause, your body will stop producing estrogen, so you must take medicine to replace it. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is among the most prevalent treatments for menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes and discomfort in the vaginal area.
In postmenopausal women, hormone replacement treatment has also been shown to minimize the risk of bone fracture and prevent bone loss.
However, there is a possibility of adverse effects when hormone replacement treatment is utilized. The type of hormone therapy, the amount, the length of time the prescription is used, and your specific health risks all play a role in determining these hazards. To get the best possible outcomes, hormone therapy should be individualized for each patient and reassessed at regular intervals to ensure its advantages continue to exceed its disadvantages.
What are the primary categories of hormone therapy that are available?
When you reach menopause, your body stops producing estrogen, and one of the primary goals of hormone replacement treatment is to restore that balance. There are primarily two kinds of estrogen replacement therapy:
Systemic hormone replacement treatment: Systemic estrogen, taken as a pill, skin patch, ring, gel, cream, or spray, often contains a greater estrogen dose absorbed throughout the body. Systemic estrogen can also be applied to the skin. It is effective in treating any of the typical symptoms associated with menopause.
Low-dose vaginal product: The quantity of estrogen absorbed by the body can be reduced by using low-dose vaginal preparations of estrogen. These preparations can take the shape of a cream, pill, or ring. As a result, low-dose vaginal preparations are often solely employed to treat the vaginal and urinary symptoms associated with menopause.
If your uterus has not been surgically removed, your physician will most likely prescribe estrogen in addition to progesterone or progestin (progesterone-like medication).
This is because estrogen on its own, in the absence of the counteracting effects of progesterone, can drive the growth of the lining of the uterus. This growth increases the risk of endometrial cancer. You may no longer need to take progestin after removing your uterus (a procedure known as a hysterectomy).
What are the potential side effects of hormone replacement therapy?
In the most extensive clinical experiment conducted to this point, hormone replacement therapy, which comprised of an estrogen-progestin tablet called Prempro, was found to raise the risk of several serious illnesses, including the following:
Clots of blood form
Cancer of the breast
Studies conducted after this one have revealed that these dangers differ based on the following:
Age: Women who begin hormone therapy at 60 or older or more than ten years after menopause are at a larger risk of developing the illnesses listed above. However, the benefits of hormone therapy tend to outweigh the dangers when the treatment is begun before the age of 60 or within ten years of the onset of menopause.
Medical background: When assessing whether or not hormone replacement therapy is right for you, it is vital to consider both your personal medical history as well as your family medical history, as well as your risk of developing cancer, heart disease, stroke, blood clots, liver disease, and osteoporosis.
When determining if hormone therapy is possible for you, you and your physician should consider all these potential adverse effects.
What are the advantages of undergoing hormone therapy, often known as HT?
Hormone therapy, also known as HT, is commonly administered to alleviate menopausal symptoms such as the following:
Flushes of heat.
The dryness of the vaginal tract can make sexual activity uncomfortable.
Other uncomfortable symptoms of menopause include nocturnal sweats and itchy, dry skin.
Other positive effects of consuming HT on one’s health include the following:
- A lower possibility of getting osteoporosis as well as a lower possibility of breaking a bone.
- mood enhancement, as well as a general sense of greater mental well-being in some women
- Reduced number of teeth lost.
- Reduced likelihood of developing colon cancer.
- Decreased likelihood of developing diabetes.
- Modest improvement in joint discomfort.
- Hormone therapy has been shown to reduce the risk of death for women in their 50s.
What are the potential side effects of hormone therapy, often known as HT?
Although hormone therapy (HT) benefits many women going through menopause, there are risks associated with the treatment, just as there are with any medication, whether prescribed or over-the-counter. These are some of the known health risks:
- A higher likelihood of developing endometrial cancer (only if you still have your uterus and are not taking progestin along with estrogen).
- A higher likelihood of developing blood clots and having a stroke.
- An increased risk of problems with the gallbladder and gallstones.
If hormone therapy is started after the midlife mark, there is a greater likelihood of developing dementia. There is a correlation between beginning HT during the middle years of life with a lowered risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Long-term use is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.
The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) paroxetine is the only non-hormonal drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States to treat hot flashes. Paroxetine is typically prescribed to patients suffering from depression. It has been demonstrated to significantly reduce hot flashes, and it also has the potential to reduce cold flashes.
Other non-hormonal medicines, such as gabapentin, which is recommended for treating seizures, clonidine, which is used to treat hypertension, and oxybutynin, which is typically prescribed for overactive bladder syndrome, are sometimes taken off-label to assist reduce the severity of cold flashes. Shen adds that each of these medications affects the neurotransmitters in the hypothalamus, the same part of the brain responsible for the onset of a hot flash.
Things Spouses Can do to Help Each Other.
Menopause is difficult for everyone involved, not just women going through it but also the men who love them. If your spouse or partner is going through “the change,” she will undoubtedly experience uncomfortable symptoms like hot flashes and mood swings, which will probably impact both you and your relationship.
A recent poll found that 38 percent of males reported that their wives’ night sweats and insomnia associated with menopause impaired their intimacy, and they listed their partner’s loss of sleep or bad sleep as the primary cause.
Even though you might be unable to stop the lady in your life from experiencing hot flashes, you can help her get through this challenging time, which will preserve and grow your connection.
Be aware of what can be expected.
Although the typical age of menopause in the United States is 51, many women report that they first experience symptoms in their early 40s. Symptoms such as hot flashes, cold flashes, night sweats, and insomnia can start as early as seven years before a woman has her last period and continue for at least five years after her last period. This amounts to approximately 12 years of disruptive symptoms.
Know what exactly triggers those symptoms?
According to Rebecca Brightman, MD, OB/GYN, assistant clinical professor at Mount Sinai Hospital, “changes in hormone levels [such estrogen and progesterone] during menopause might alter the body’s ability to control its core temperature.” In addition, some women may have vaginal bleeding at odd times, vaginal dryness, and pain while engaging in sexual activity.
Show some compassion.
In addition to the biological changes, the emotions associated with menopause can be challenging. According to Gail Saltz, MD, author of The Ripple Effect: How Better Sex Can Lead to a Better Life, “even if no one wants more children, menopause can still represent a certain loss of youth and potential that may strike your wife as sad.”
For example, “even if no one wants more children, menopause can still represent a certain loss of youth and potential that may strike your wife as sad.” “Give some thought to how you may feel if you were to reach a milestone in your biology that caused your body to change and try to picture yourself doing so.
If you put yourself in her position, you’ll have a much easier time understanding and accepting the adjustments.
Discuss the matter.
According to Saltz, a lot of guys feel awkward when talking about menopause, but you can try to talk about methods you may help relieve her symptoms together as a team. Inquire about how you might reduce their stress. In addition, encourage healthier sleeping patterns and get everyone involved in a fitness routine. Some women might need to be persuaded to consult a medical professional to learn about the many hormonal and non-hormonal treatment options available.
Maintain the spark between you two.
According to Saltz, a woman in this day and age still has the desire to be desired and to feel that she is valued. Instead of avoiding closeness, embrace it as long as it doesn’t make your partner feel uneasy. It’s possible that gestures as simple as candlelit supper or strolling hand in hand can significantly impact how she sees herself and the two of you as a pair.
Sexual activity may be unpleasant or even painful. Talk to them about the things that make them feel good and those that don’t.
Perform some tests with different lubricants.
Several moisturizers available over the counter can help alleviate vaginal dryness. You should try a few different ones until you discover one you both enjoy.
Even though they might not want sex right now, it does not mean they will never want it again.
What to do if you get a cold flash
Once a cold flash has begun, there is not much that can be done to halt it once it has begun. You will, however, be required to wait for it to pass and for your temperature to return to normal before you can proceed. On the other hand, there are several things that you can do to assist lessen the symptoms or to lower the probability that you will get cold flashes:
Putting on additional layers can help you feel more comfortable when you have a chilly flash.
Keep moving when you’re experiencing a cold flash. This can assist in raising your body temperature, which in turn may result in you experiencing less of a chill.
If you’ve just had a hot flash, you should quickly change out of any damp clothing or bedding. This may help avoid a cold flash from occurring in the future.
Take care of your tension. You could try yoga, medicine, deep breathing, or anything else that helps you calm down.
Avoid things that can cause a hot flash since anything that can cause a hot flash, such as alcohol or very spicy food, can also cause a rebound cold flash.
Drink it off: If you sense a chilly flash coming on, warming your body up with a hot beverage like tea or warm milk will help you get through it faster. (Feeling hot? Consume some ice water to avoid a hot flash from occurring (which, if it does, could result in a cold flash as a rebound effect).
Should you get your repeated cold flashes checked out by a doctor?
Contact your healthcare professional if you are concerned about your cold flashes. Suppose they are affecting your day-to-day life, such as keeping you awake at night or preventing you from participating in the things you like doing with other people. In that case, you should also make an appointment with your primary care physician.
Your doctor could recommend tests to assist in determining the underlying problem. For instance, they may request a blood test to detect the levels of hormones and other chemicals.
You should be ready to answer several important questions, such as what occurs before, during, and after the cold flash in this scenario. For instance, have you been feeling queasy or lightheaded? Have you been eating or exercising? How frequent are the hot flashes, and are you under great stress? If it is pertinent, you will probably also be asked questions concerning the most recent cycle of your menstrual cycle.
Your doctor may be able to offer therapies that are aimed specifically at the underlying illness, although this will depend on the cause. To end cold flashes, the first thing that must be done is to treat whatever is causing them.
FAQs About Cold Flashes
Does HRT offer you extra energy?
Using hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to address the symptoms of hormonal shift can, in some very meaningful ways, help you feel younger. It has the potential to boost your energy levels, improve your mood, and enhance your sexual drive. Both men and women may find that it makes sexual activity more pleasurable and helps them sleep better.
Does HRT assist with the reduction of tummy fat?
Hormone replacement therapy, often known as HRT, can impact a woman’s ability to shed extra pounds. In the same study, it was discovered that women who underwent HRT had a lower body mass index (BMI) by almost one full point and nearly three pounds less fat mass than women who did not receive HRT.
Will taking HRT cause me to lose weight?
As a result of HRT’s ability to return the metabolism to its pre-menopausal state, many women discover that taking the medication results in a loss of weight for them. Progesterone can cause fluid retention, giving the appearance of weight gain. However, the dosage and timing of progesterone can be adjusted to reduce the severity of this side effect.
How long before you start to feel better when you start on HRT?
HRT won’t start to work its magic for you until a couple of weeks have passed. It may take up to three months before you feel the full effects of the medication. If you still have not noticed any positive effects after four to six months of taking HRT, switching to a new kind of HRT can be helpful. There is a possibility that it will take some time for your body to adjust to HRT.
Why do I get a sudden jolt of cold sometimes?
Changes in a person’s hormone levels and feelings of tension and panic can contribute to the occurrence of cold flashes. The hypothalamus is a brain region responsible for regulating an individual’s core body temperature. When hormones interfere with the hypothalamus’s capacity to perform normal functions, a person may experience cold flashes.
When going through menopause, is it usual to get cold flashes?
Two flashes can occur during menopause: hot flashes and cold flashes. A hot flash is arguably one of the most common symptoms of menopause. Cold flashes are, however, much rarer.
What can you do to stop a cold flash from happening?
What to do if you get a chilly flash
Putting on additional layers can help you feel more comfortable when you have a chilly flash.
Keep moving when you’re experiencing a cold flash. This can assist in raising your body temperature, which in turn may result in you experiencing less of a chill.
If you’ve just had a hot flash, you should quickly change out of any damp clothing or bedding.
Take care of your tension.
What are the signs that your estrogen levels are too low?
- Dry skin is one of the symptoms of decreased estrogen levels.
- Tender breasts.
- Fragile bones.
- Having trouble concentrating on things.
- Mood swings and an irritable demeanor.
- Dryness or atrophy of the vaginal tissue.
- bursts of heat and sweating at night
- Irregular periods or no periods (amenorrhea).
What specific vitamin deficiency causes you to feel ill with a cold?
Anemia and a lack of warmth are symptoms of iron deficiency and vitamin B12 deficiency, respectively. Chicken, eggs, and fish are all good sources of vitamin B12, and those who are iron deficient may want to eat more pork, poultry, fish, peas, soybeans, and chickpeas. Dark green leafy vegetables are also a good source of iron.
Does vitamin D raise estrogen?
Increased levels of vitamin D in the blood have been related to lower levels of estrogen and maybe a lower risk of breast cancer.
Is it possible that menopause could cause you to feel weak and shaky?
There are times when menopause can make a woman feel weak, trembling, and even dizzy. This may result from several different symptoms, every one of which — on its own or in combination – may impact your health. Night sweats, for instance, can prevent you from falling asleep and leave you feeling exhausted and grumpy the next day.
In contrast, hot flashes can cause your face, neck, or chest to become uncomfortable with the heat. This sensation can spread to other body parts, causing you to sweat and have chest palpitations. Alterations in your mood or worry are also possible, both of which have the potential to make you feel unsteady at times.
Why do women experience symptoms of menopause?
The transition through menopause is unique for each woman. Some women may go through menopause with no discernible symptoms, while others may feel as though they are experiencing every one of the menopause symptoms listed. Alterations in the female hormones estrogen and progesterone levels are the root cause of the symptoms, lasting anywhere from a few months to several years.
Recent studies have shown that 15 percent of women in their 80s experience hot flashes that can be very bothersome. Alterations in hormone levels can occur naturally with aging or can be induced by a doctor through medication or surgery.
When should I anticipate starting to go through menopause?
In most cases, a woman will start experiencing symptoms of menopause when she is in her late 40s or 50s. On the other hand, earlier menopause may be caused by surgery, treatment for cancer, or genetics passed down from family members.
Will go through with a hysterectomy result in early menopause?
If a woman keeps both ovaries after a hysterectomy, she will not go through menopause immediately. After having your uterus removed, you will no longer have periods and will not be able to have children. On the other hand, because your ovaries could still produce hormones, you might not exhibit any other signs of menopause. In the later stages of your life, you may experience natural menopause one or two years earlier than is typically anticipated.
The most common causes of cold flashes are changes in hormone levels and emotional stress. They can be upsetting and interfere with a person’s regular activities.
If a person has cold flashes for the first time or if they are having an influence on their quality of life as a result of the cold flashes, they should think about consulting a medical practitioner.