Hot flashes are known to occur mostly in women. And when you mention such word, the first thing that comes to mind is menopause in women. But are there things like hot flashes in men? Yes, there are. Men also experience their own hot flashes in their own special way. Though the causes in men may be different from those in women, the experiences are the same.
In this post, we shall take a look at hot flashes in men, the symptoms, causes and treatment. We are sure you will be better educated and acquire concrete facts after reading this post to the end. If you have questions, you can ask them using the comment box at the end of the post.
What are hot flashes in men?
Hot flashes in men are feelings of warmth which spread over the body, especially around the head, neck and upper body, and is mostly followed by flushing or outbreak of sweats and usually lasts from 30 seconds to several minutes.
Hot flashes used to be a condition considered to be women’s problem, but statistics have shown that in the United States alone, over 25 million men experience hot flashes while over 408 million men pass through the problem worldwide.
Hot flashes in men, just like in women, are accompanied by sleeplessness, reduced hair growth, and weight gain. But a lot of men misunderstand it to be ordinary night sweats, when in actual sense it is more than mere night sweats.
Symptoms of Hot flashes in Men
This condition has some signs and symptoms that are easy to recognize, though they may mimic symptoms of some disease conditions if not properly understood. Some of these symptoms include:
- A feeling of warmth around the head, face, neck and upper body
- Cold, clammy sweat which results in discomfort
- Increased heartbeats (palpitation)
- A feeling of pressure in the head
- Sleeplessness (insomnia) or poor sleep
- Memory problems
- Reddening of the skin
- Symptoms vary from one to ten times daily
Hot flashes in men and women are caused by different factors. While in women the problem is mainly caused by perimenopause, the problem has a different cause in men. Here are the possible causes in men:
Hot flashes are common in men whose testes have been surgically removed while treating cancer of the prostate. Orchiectomy or Orchidectomy (if one or both testes are removed) leads to a drastic drop in testosterone production.
This is the male equivalent of the female menopause. Andropause leads to reduction in testosterone production which eventually brings about the symptoms.
Some medications are known to counteract the effects of testosterone. Taking such medications would lead to a dramatic drop in the level of the hormone and result in men experiencing hot flashes. Some the medications include Glyceryl Trinitrate (Nitroglycerine), Niacin (has different brand names), Nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia), Calcitonin (Miacalcin, Cibacalcin, Calcimar), Vancomycin (Vancocin), etc.
Tumor of the Hypothalamus
This gland regulates the body temperature. But when there is a tumor of the Hypothalamus, the gland could fail in its duty and there would be hot flashes due to poor body temperature regulation.
A common disorder of the thyroid gland is hyperthyroidism (over-active thyroid). One of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism is hot flashes in men, which can sometimes be mistaken to be Andropausal symptom.
Excessive use of alcohol interferes with the function of the hypothalamus thereby leading to bouts of hot flashes in men. Apart from affecting the hypothalamus, alcohol absorption into the bloodstream affects your circulatory system, increasing your heart rate and blood pressure, and dilating the blood vessels. The increased heart rate and blood pressure combine to produce the heat of a hot flash while the dilated blood vessels fill with blood leading to flushing. Alcohol withdrawal can also cause hot flashes in men who have been drinking heavily.
Hot flashes is one of the side effects of the food additive Monosodium Glutamate (MSG). So, when you experience hot flashes, it is good to check how much of this addictive you have been adding to your food lately.
Some of the ways to treat hot flashes in men include the following:
Bioidentical Hormone Therapy
The use of Bioidentical testosterone therapy can go a long way in relieving the symptoms of hot flashes in men. In men who are suffering from cancer of the prostate, the use of small dosage of estrogen, which is also used for the treatment of hot flashes in women usually relieves the symptoms. But before commencing the treatment, make sure that comprehensive laboratory investigations are carried out to determine the hormonal level and what would be needed for the correction. Men who have prostate cancer are forbidden from taking testosterone but they can use female hormones (estrogen) instead.
When the right test is conducted, it enables your physician to prescribe the right dose of the drug that will take care of not just the hot flashes but also other symptoms associated with andropause.
This is the best treatment for men who are placed on Androgen suppression treatment for prostate cancer. Medroxyprogesterone Acetate works better than a lot of the hormonal drugs in relieving the symptoms of hot flashes in men. It is taken 20mg daily.
Just like high intensity exercise, when you do resistance training exercise which assist in building muscle mass, there would be an increase in your testosterone level. Such exercises include bench presses, squats and deadlifts. This should be done for at least 45 minutes, two to three times per week. You could also do cardio exercises like sprints, which should be done for 6-15 seconds for about 20 minutes at a time, two to three times per week.
You must never embark on any cardio that lasts more than one hour because of its tendency to reduce testosterone secretion and lead to a leaner body mass. In the course of your weight training exercise, you should try and observe a rest of around two minutes in between each exercise, because rest assists the body in producing more testosterone.
Change in Diet
Some diets are known to improve testosterone production. Such diets should be eaten frequently to help the body boost production of the hormone. Examples of such foods are lean animal and plant proteins, diets high in omega 3, whole grains, organic foods, low saturated fats, and antioxidants. Antioxidant foods have anti-inflammatory properties that enable the body fight against the causes of hot flashes like caffeine, alcohol, stress, spicy foods, etc.
Apart from the aforementioned ways of treating hot flashes in men, there are natural remedies that work quite well in ameliorating or totally eradicating the symptoms. Some of these remedies include:
- Dong Quai: This special herb has ‘adaptogen’ properties. This means that it has the ability to increase or decrease the level of testosterone if it becomes too low or too high. So, its use in men with andropause is to assist in increasing the level of testosterone which is too low. The ideal dose for reducing hot flashes in men is 240mg daily for at least two months.
- Black Cohosh: It is highly believed that Black cohosh has the power to lower the elevated levels of sex hormone binding globulin which plays a role in testosterone reduction thereby causing hot flashes in men. When the level of sex hormone globulin is decreased, there is a rise in testosterone thereby bringing the hot flashes under check. You should take from 40 – 80mg daily.
- Gingko Biloba: This herb boosts blood circulation to the various parts of the body. With improvement in circulation, the symptoms of hot flashes are gradually overcome. You need to take a minimum of 240mg daily for at least two months to control the symptoms of andropause.
- Zinc: Zinc stimulates the pituitary gland to boost the production of testosterone. Hot flushes decrease as the level of testosterone increases. The highest dose of Zinc that is required to increase testosterone production is 75mg daily divided into three doses of 25mg each.
- Vitamin D: This is believed to aid testosterone production by boosting the function of its receptor sites. It is equally believed to help in making testosterone to be more present in the bloodstream thereby assisting in overcoming the symptoms of hot flashes. The minimum dose required to reduce hot flashes is 600iu a day.
- Vitamin E: The work of Vitamin E is similar to that of Zinc, by making the pituitary gland to send a message to the testes to instruct them to produce more testosterone. The increase in testosterone level brings about a drastic reduction in the symptoms of hot flashes. The normal dose needed to boost testosterone production is 400iu.
Hot flashes have variant causes as well as different ways it can be treated. If you are diagnosed with the problem, you can try out the tips we have highlighted in this post. Nevertheless, our advice is not intended to take the place of medical experts. If your symptoms continue after trying our tips, then see your doctor for more investigations and better management. Your doctor knows the type of test to conduct and the best medication to prescribe in order to help solve the problem of hot flashed you are experiencing.