It is believed that only menopausal women have hot flashes. There are some medical conditions, like low blood pressure, low blood sugar and hyperthyroidism, that cause hot flashes. Male hot flashes amongst prostate cancer patients are common. A few pregnant women also suffer from hot flashes.
During pregnancy, estrogen levels tend to fluctuate in some women. Even among menopausal women, where 75% suffer from hot flashes, it is not the level of estrogen or other hormones that cause the problem, but the fluctuating hormone levels. Hot flashes are a hot feeling on the neck and face, making the face red, and may be accompanied by sweating, dizziness, head ache and heart palpitation. They can last from a few seconds up to an hour. One of the prime causes of hot flashes is stress and anxiety. Pregnant women do have a lot of anxiety.
When the hot flashes are mild, simple modifications to behavior patterns help manage the problem. Avoiding spicy food, alcohol, caffeine, smoking, diet pills and hot environments can eliminate or reduce the intensity of hot flashes. Exercise, as advised by a physician, helps a lot. A moderate attack of flashes needs more attention. Besides lifestyle modifications, herbal remedies, acupuncture and mild over-the-counter medication assists in preventing severe hot flashes. Any medication taken by a pregnant woman must be with the approval of the physician.
In a severe case of hot flashes, a pregnant woman has a problem which does not have a clear-cut treatment. A menopausal woman can opt for hormone therapy for severe hot flashes. But a pregnant woman cannot have it, as the estrogen can lead to miscarriage. Some anti-depressant medications like clodinine and methyldopa are also not recommended for pregnant women, as they get into the fetal bloodstream.
So the few pregnant women who have hot flashes have to be very careful with their behavior patterns to stop any trigger that starts the problem. They have to trust more on exercise, relaxation techniques and a calm, peaceful mind.