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Hot flashes are most often associated with the period of menopause, i.e. menopause. However, young people, women and men, also experience heat waves and confluent sweats. So what is the cause of sudden severe sweating in these people? The reason may be stress, medications, hormonal disorders. For some, hot flashes are a symptom of thyroid disease, heart disease, and even cancer. Therefore, they should never be underestimated.

Hot flashes most often affect the face, neck and chest. Suddenly there is a feeling of warming this area, accompanied by increased sweating. For some, they are even sweating. In an instant, the face turns red, drops of sweat run off the forehead, clothes stick to wet back, wet patches of sweat appear under the armpits. Some people have hot flashes at night, wake up in a sweat.

Hot flashes are not only unpleasant but also embarrassing, especially when a heat wave occurs during an important meeting, exam, or interview. The feeling of heat flowing through the whole body is most often associated with menopause, but it actually occurs in people of all ages. It is important to know what are the possible causes of a hot flush, as in some people this symptom may be related to a serious illness. If the hot flushes continue, see your doctor who can help determine the cause.


Hot flashes, sweating, redness of the face may be related to arterial hypertension. However, it should be emphasized that many patients do not have these symptoms. That's why hypertension is called the silent killer.

Disease is diagnosed when the mean value of the three measurements repeated at the next visit exceeds 139/89 mmHg. Over 10 million Poles have arterial hypertension. Some of them are unaware of it because they never measure it. This is especially true of young people convinced that it is a disease of people of advanced age. Meanwhile, arterial hypertension is increasingly found in twenties, teenagers and even children.

Important.Even with prolonged high blood pressure, there may be no symptoms at all. If they do occur, they are the result of serious complications. Therefore, measurement of blood pressure should be performed regularly, even ifits correct values ​​were previously found.


Hot flashes may indicate an overactive thyroid gland. Especially when they are accompanied by other symptoms:

  • irritation,
  • insomnia,
  • palpitations,
  • weight loss,
  • muscle weakness,
  • hair loss,
  • irregular periods,
  • shaking hands,
  • excessive thirst.

Thyroid hormones have a great influence on the functioning of the body because they stimulate the metabolism. They also regulate the production of energy and heat, and have a significant impact on the nervous, skeletal and muscular systems.

Thyroid diseases are currently a problem of 30-40% of Poles. When this gland is sick, it does not hurt and usually does not make itself felt for a long time. But the effects of disturbances in his work affect the entire body. The incidence of hyperthyroidism (hyperthyroidism) is higher in women than in men, especially after the age of 70. The cause of the disease (more often than in young people) is multinodular goiter and a single thyroid tumor as well as Graves' disease. Occasionally, the cause of hyperthyroidism may be thyroid cancer or excessive secretion of TSH by the pituitary adenoma.

Important.Any suspicion of thyroid disease requires consultation with a doctor who will order appropriate diagnostic tests (e.g. hormone concentration tests: TSH, fT3, fT4, the level of anti-thyroid antibodies, thyroid ultrasound ). The endocrinologist deals with the diagnosis and treatment of thyroid diseases.

Reaction to spicy / hot food

Some people get hot flashes during or after a meal. The body heats up rapidly under the influence of a spicy dish, and after a while it becomes covered with sweat.

This is a physiological phenomenon called gustatory sweating. It is most often found on the nose, around the mouth and on the forehead. It is the body's reaction to the chemicals in the food and to its temperature. The list of body-warming spices that cause a wave of heat includes:

  • ginger,
  • cinnamon,
  • chili,
  • pepper,
  • curry,
  • nutmeg,
  • carnations,
  • allspice,
  • cardamom,
  • turmeric.

Important.Watch your body's reaction and eliminate the culprit from your diet. Spicy spices, caffeine, alcohol, other stimulants or even sugars can trigger hot flushes.


Easily associated with the occurrence of drenching sweats. Hot flashes can occur in situations that surprise us and require sudden mobilization of the body. It can be a lot of tension and stress before entering the exam, strongfeeling of shame, stage fright before speaking in public. In such situations, hot flashes are usually accompanied by erythema on the face, neck and décolleté, hand tremors. Some also mention dry mouth, burning ears, excessive sweating, severe anxiety.

All these symptoms, and above all a heat wave, are the result of a burst of hormones (including adrenaline, norepinephrine) that make the body fully ready. Adrenaline widens the blood vessels. That is why red spots appear immediately on the face and neck, accompanied by a feeling of warmth, at the moment of nervousness or other strong emotions (e.g. anger).

Important.The state of mobilization is a natural reaction, but it should not appear too often or last too long, as it will affect your he alth. So if you live under constant stress or your reaction to a stressful situation is very strong, even paralyzing, think about relaxation methods. Find a psychologist or psychotherapist who will help you overcome stage fright and anxiety. It will tell you how to deal with stress. He will assess whether the hot flush is caused by neurosis.


The basic symptom of neurosis is anxiety, accompanied by physical ailments, such as hot flashes. It is a feeling different from fear or tension caused by a stressful situation, where we can easily pinpoint the stimulus that triggers the reaction.

A person with neurosis is usually unable to accurately determine the cause of their emotional state. May experience generalized anxiety (e.g. is constantly worried about something). In some, the disease causes sudden panic attacks for no apparent reason. Fear grabs the throat, makes the heart quiver, headaches and sweating. Such a seizure may last several to several minutes. With time, however, it appears more and more often.

Some people with anxiety disorders have phobias, e.g. claustrophobia, agoraphobia. Anxiety disorders are manifested primarily in the sphere of the psyche, but neurosis is also accompanied by physical ailments. Especially those caused by the stimulation of the autonomic (vegetative) nervous system, managing the work of individual organs and systems - various signals from the gastrointestinal tract (diarrhea, constipation), heart palpitations, a feeling of shortness of breath, pressure and chest pain resembling a heart attack, problems with blood pressure, waves hot, reddening.

Important.A psychiatrist, clinical psychologist and psychotherapist deals with the treatment of neurosis. The method of treatment depends on the background and the severity of the disease. In some cases, pharmacotherapy is necessary.

Hormonal changes in pregnancy

During pregnancy and after giving birth, hot flashes are common.They are associated with numerous hormonal changes. From the moment of fertilization, the revolution affects the entire hormonal economy, which results in an accelerated metabolism, which can warm up the body.

Hot flashes and sweats during pregnancy are also designed to cool the body so that it does not overheat. In turn, heat waves during the puerperium are related to the cleansing of the body - the body gets rid of excess fluid. Physiological sweating affects many pregnant and postpartum women.

Important.Although hot flashes and sweating during pregnancy are usually a natural symptom, it is worth telling the doctor in charge of your pregnancy. It happens that the ailment may be related to other diseases, e.g. thyroid disorders characteristic for the period of pregnancy.

Overweight and obesity

People who are overweight or obese have effort to make every move. More than in people with a normal body weight. As a result, the body overheats and sweats easily.

People who struggle with extra kilos may have a problem with hot flashes, excessive sweating, redness of the face. According to experts, the cause of these ailments is most likely a higher level of estrogen associated with the amount of body fat.

Important.It has been thought for many years that adipose tissue could reduce menopause in women by promoting the production of estrogen, the female sex hormone. It therefore seemed that obese women endure menopause better. However, it turned out to be the opposite. This is indicated by research conducted under the supervision of Dr. Lucia Costa-Paiva from the University of Campinas in Sao Paulo.

"Obesity has been shown to exacerbate all symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes and night sweats, muscle and joint aches and bladder problems. The hot flashes are even stronger the higher the body mass index, says Dr. Costa-Paiva. " (source:


This is what we're talking about a man's menopause. Although the hormonal changes associated with aging do not resemble "pauses", they only appear gradually. In men, the average concentration of testosterone (male fertility hormone) in the blood serum decreases very slowly with age - not more than 1% per year. One of the symptoms of menopause is heat attacks and excessive sweating. Testosterone deficiency can also cause hyperactivity and nervousness.

Important.The first symptoms of menopause may appear even in a 40-year-old. However, they usually become noticeable in your 50s, when your body is losing hormones. Some men choose to use hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

Drug side effect or drug interactions

Hot flashes, confluent sweats, a feeling of warmth on the face may appear in people who take medications. Many preparations have such side effects, so you should always read the drug leaflet carefully.

Some medications can interact with other medications or supplements, resulting in hot flashes. So if you are on medication and have a cold sweat or hot flush, tell your doctor. Even if it is a side effect of the preparation (as the manufacturer informs in the leaflet), it may be possible to replace the drug with another one.

Increased sweating, facial flushing, hot flushes may occur when taking:

  • antipyretic and diaphoretic drugs
  • antidepressants
  • steroid drugs
  • contraceptive medications


Very characteristic of this disease, apart from chronic cough, are night sweats combined with flashes of heat waves. Tuberculosis has long ceased to be a disease of the poor, it often affects well-off people who live under constant stress, eat poorly and lead an unsanitary lifestyle.

According to statistics, 1.7 billion people worldwide may be infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. 5-10% of them may develop active tuberculosis at some point in their lives. HIV infection, diabetes, smoking, and excessive drinking of alcohol are a risk factor for the transition of a latent tuberculosis infection to an active disease.

Important.There are three types of tests that can be used to find out if there are tuberculosis in the body and if the disease has developed: tuberculin skin test, full-format X-ray, bronchoscopy.

Heart disease

Hot flashes and the accompanying palpitations, night sweats, may indicate heart problems, e.g. arrhythmias. The risk of cardiac arrhythmias increases with age and is also higher, e.g. in smokers, people with high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and people whose relatives suffer from heart disease.

Important.The basic test that registers electrical phenomena in the heart is the EKG. However, it is so short-lived that it generally only picks up persistent arrhythmias. The greater probability of their detection is in the case of 24-hour ECG recording, i.e. with the Holter method.


Hot flashes, sudden sweating, or reddening of the face, neck and décolleté may be related to cancer. Sometimes it is related to hormonal disorders caused by cancer, while in others it is associated with drenching sweats in the course of infection.accompanying the disease (leukemia, lymphoma) or substances released by tumor cells.

Cancers that can cause hot flushes include :

  • carcinoid
  • leukemias
  • lymphiaki
  • pancreatic cancer
  • pheochromocytoma (dye)

Important.If you have hot flashes and at the same time: low fever or fever, lose weight, sweat intensively, have enlarged lymph nodes, be sure to see your GP.

Michał Chudzik, MD, PhD, cardiologist, Medicover Poland

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