Monday, May 21, 2012

Hot Flashes in Men | Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

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Did you know that there are also hot flashes in men? Hot flash is one of common menopause symptoms in women, but sometimes it also can occur in a man. It is also familiar known as a hot flush. It is a kind of momentary sensation of heat, and usually followed by a red, sweating, and flushed face. The exact cause of hot flush is still debatable, but many experts believe that changes in hormone have a significant contribution to lead this problem.

What else you need to know, especially about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of hot flashes in men? You might also like to read hot flashes after menopause in women, before continuing!

How hot flashes in men can occur?

Most women will experience hot flush during menopause, and the decreasing estrogen hormone in this period is believed the answer why this condition can occur! The same way in men, the decreasing testosterone is also believed for the main possible cause of hot flash in a man.

Once again, there is still unclearly answer why the decreased testosterone can result hot flash! But some experts believe that hypothalamus may be the key of this problem. Hypothalamus is a kind of thermal control central in the brain. Flushing & warmth may be triggered by the signals that are sent by the nervous system which then eventually may lead to blood vessels in the skin to open out (widen)!

Fortunately, most men are able to keep their testosterone level at normal range which is effective enough to prevent hot flush -- though the levels of testosterone in men tends to decrease by about 1 percent /year (particularly after 40 years of old). In essence, hot flash is more common in women than in men!

Risk factors

After the age of 50, the estrogen hormone level in women can drop significantly. In men, the testosterone level can begin to slowly drop in the age of 30. Most men who are over 70 years of old usually have testosterone deficiencies. So, the risk of hot flashes in men increases with the age.

Another factor or condition that can put you at higher risk is when you have prostate cancer and your doctor recommends taking androgen deprivation therapy. Because this therapy is a kind of common prostate cancer treatment that can contribute in lowering your testosterone hormone!

The percentage of men with androgen deprivation therapy and at the same time also experience hot flash is high (about 80-70 percent).

Why men with prostate cancer need androgen deprivation therapy? Well, for this case -- the testosterone hormone in men can stimulate the growth of prostate cells. And therefore, a treatment (like androgen deprivation therapy) that can restrict the actions of this hormone or decrease the levels of this hormone will be helpful & effective in treating prostate cancer. Talk and discuss more with your doctor to find more advices if you are undergoing androgen therapy and you experience hot flush!

Other less common factors that may contribute in increasing the risk of hot flashes in men are:
  1. Lack of physical activity.
  2. Having high BMI (Body Mass Index) or being overweight (obesity). This condition may lead to a high frequency of hot flush.
  3. And cigarette smoking. Men who are smoker may have higher risk of having hot flash.
How long does hot flash in men last?

In menopause period of women, hot flush usually last for about one year, but there are also some women who experience it for more than one year.

Hot flashes in men that are caused by androgen deprivation therapy usually will go away after about 4-3 months from the first day when this therapy has stopped. Even, for patients who permanently need this therapy also still have a chance to get over their hot flush -- though most of them don’t!

But some studies found that hot flashes in men also can last for more than 8 years of stopping treatment. There were about 40 percent of men with androgen deprivation therapy still had this problem after 8 years of the therapy.

Symptoms of hot flashes in men

There are no significant differences between the common hot flash symptoms in women and in men. This problem is usually more common to occur at night, and sometimes patient may also have many in one day. It can be brief for several minutes, and it usually also often leaves cold sweat behind that result a chilled feeling.

And common symptoms may include:
  1. A feeling of flushing or warmth (most intense over the trunk or head, or through the face/upper body) that usually come suddenly.
  2. Your feeling of warmth usually will be followed by redness of the skin (blotchy skin) and profuse sweating.
  3. You may also experience perspiration on the upper body.
  4. Another symptom may be increased-heartbeat.
Moreover, both men and women with hot flash may also at high risk of experiencing irritability and anxiety.

Hot flashes treatment

One of common choices to treat hot flashes in men is TRT (Testosterone Replacement Therapy). It can help restore the testosterone level in men which then can help reduce the hot flash symptoms. But TRT is not recommended for men who have prostate cancer!

For men with prostate cancer, female hormones are usually considered to treat their hot flush. A study found that about 83 percent of men with female hormone treatment (estradiol /estrogen) had been successfully treated. Another female hormone such as progesterones also can help reduce hot flashes in men.

But unfortunately, the use of female hormones to treat hot flashes in men who have prostate cancer also can cause several side effects, such as; weight gain, bloating, breast tenderness /swelling, increased PSA levels, and may also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Other treatments with fewer side effects may include SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors), Venlafaxine. SSRIs can lead to sexual problems (like sexual dysfunction), while venlafaxine may increase the level of blood pressure. And another popular treatment is the use of Neurontin that may only result dizziness for the common side effect. To get more detailed information, talk and consult more with your doctor!
Reference:, MayoClinic, and WebMD