Hot flashes: up to what age can you get them?


Hot flashes can have a significant impact on the quality of life of women in menopausal transition or postmenopause. Until what age can you suffer from it? How to relieve them? Explanations with Dr. Odile Bagot gynecologist and author of  Menopause, don't panic!

“  I feel like my head is in a sauna  ,” Rosa admits on a forum. “  I have sweats at night and I wake up exhausted  ,” adds Sophie. Between 60 and 70% of women suffer from hot flashes during menopause. A phenomenon that plays spoilsport and can seriously impact quality of life. Fortunately, solutions exist to remedy this…

Hot flashes and night sweats in women: what are we talking about?

Vasomotor disordersmore commonly called “hot flashes” – are the most common signs of menopause . “We talk about flushing, a term that designates both dry daytime hot flashes and those accompanied by sweating at night,” says Dr. Odile Bagot. The intensity, frequency and above all the tolerance of hot flashes vary greatly depending on the woman: “  From a few flushes during the day to nights spent wringing out her nightie!  », confirms the gynecologist.

And for men?

Hot flashes are not just the preserve of women. Men can also suffer from it, especially during andropause  ! They are due to the drop in testosterone production. Certain medications prescribed to treat prostate cancer can also cause hot flashes…

What are the symptoms of hot flashes?

Hot flashes are manifested by a feeling of heat that goes from the chest to the neck as well as in the face, sometimes accompanied by redness or even sweating. They are mainly triggered by:

  • emotions, stress;
  • the heat ;
  • consumption of spicy foods or hot drinks;
  • the alcohol.

Why do I have hot flashes? What are the causes ?

At menopause, hot flashes are closely linked to the sudden drop in estrogen which disrupts the body temperature regulation center located in the hypothalamus . “  The temperature regulation center, in other words your body's thermostat, is located in the brain, more precisely in the hypothalamus ,” explains Dr. Bagot in her book  Menopause, don't panic! Before menopause, it is set to 0.4°C, the thermal neutrality zone. When the core temperature varies by more than 0.4°C, the body releases this excess heat in the form of a good sweat or by dilating all the vessels in the skin to cool the blood. A menopausal woman who suffers from hot flashes has a thermal neutrality threshold close to zero: her “air conditioning” turns on for a yes or a no!  »

What are the contributing factors?

Some women are more at risk of experiencing hot flashes. “  Several studies have demonstrated a link between body mass index and hot flashes, with overweight or obese women being more prone to them because their small surface vessels evacuate heat more difficult  ,” specifies Dr. Odile Bagot. Conversely, certain epidemiological studies tend to prove that less than 25% of Japanese women have hot flashes . Could their diet rich in soy , which contains isoflavones ( phytoestrogens ), be the beginning of an explanation?

When do hot flashes end? How old can a woman get hot flashes?

It differs from one woman to another. “  At the start of menopause, more than three-quarters of women will suffer, to varying degrees, from hot flashes; five years later, one in two will still fan themselves, and I have even seen 80-year-old ladies asking for their minidose of estrogen to avoid hot flashes. It’s rare, but it exists, confides Dr Odile Bagot.  A few lucky ones are spared, without us being able to draw up their profile.  »

How do you know if you are menopausal?

Menopause – diagnosed, remember, after a full year without periods – is preceded by a phase called premenopause which generally begins around the age of 47 or 48 and extends until the definitive cessation of menopause. rules. “  Today we are talking more about the menopausal transition ,” explains Dr. Bagot.  During this menopausal transition, women will alternate periods of relative hyperestrogenism – with breast tenderness, shortening menstrual cycles, heavier periods, mood disorders, etc. – and periods of hypoestrogenism where they will be in amenorrhea for several months and may experience the first hot flashes.  »

Premenopause and menopause: how to stop having hot flashes? What are the solutions ?

Do hot flashes have a major impact on your daily life? Don't worry, there are solutions to fix this. Please note that the treatment of vasomotor disorders of menopause is the main indication for menopausal hormonal treatment (THM). 

“  Estrogen supplementation always overcomes hot flashes ,” reassures the specialist.  If this is not the case, we will look for another cause of the vasomotor disorders, such as thyroid dysfunction (hyperthyroidism), hypertension or even hypoglycemia. In women for whom hormonal treatment is contraindicated – for example in the case of a history of breast cancer – alternatives exist in complementary medicine.  » 

What are the natural treatments to combat hot flashes?

Food supplements, homeopathy, phytotherapy, sophrology, acupuncture or relaxation sessions: many natural treatments can partially relieve hot flashes.


Homeopathic complexes such as Acthéane® (Boiron), Complexe 518® (Weleda) and Climaxol® (Lehning) help to reduce hot flashes. “  Some of them do slightly better than placebos, without the difference being very significant ,” says Dr. Bagot.  But the placebo effect already represents around 50% of reactions in hot flashes. It doesn't matter, we only ask one thing of them, that is to provide relief in a completely harmless manner, right?  » You can, if necessary, contact a homeopathic doctor who will individualize the treatment according to your symptoms.

Food supplements

Many food supplements based on isoflavones help alleviate the vasomotor disorders of menopause. “  The daily dose of isoflavones from food supplements should not exceed 40 mg ,” insists Dr. Bagot in her work.  We must therefore be vigilant when the product offers, in association with soy, already rich in isoflavones, a phytoestrogen from another family, such as lignans from hops or coumestrol from alfalfa  . Phytoestrogens are also contraindicated in the event of a history of breast cancer.


Several plants such as black cohosh, alfalfa, hops, fennel or flaxseed have proven estrogenic activity and can help people experience menopause better. “  Black cohosh is traditionally used against hot flashes but its mode of action is complex,” says the specialist. As a precautionary principle, its use in herbal medicine (but not in homeopathic dilution) is contraindicated in gynecological cancers, particularly of the breast.  »


Finally, relaxation, sophrology, hypnosis and even mindfulness meditation reduce the impact of vasomotor disorders on quality of life. And Dr. Bagot concludes: “  Practicing regular physical activity is also a good thing.  If athletes do not have significantly fewer hot flashes than sedentary people, they often feel better about their bodies, which largely contributes to good tolerance of climacteric disorders. One last tip? For the night, invest in separate duvets, a light one for you and a thicker one for your other half!  ".