What causes a menopausal hot flush?

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Offline thedoc

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What causes a menopausal hot flush?
« on: 08/06/2016 20:50:01 »
Mr Mark J Shellard asked the Naked Scientists:
   My mother has been menopausal for about 3 years and suffers terribly from hot flushes. What causes this build up of heat and is it different to the heat flush I feel when I get squeamish about blood ?
What do you think?
« Last Edit: 08/06/2016 20:50:01 by _system »


Offline chris

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Re: What causes a menopausal hot flush?
« Reply #1 on: 10/06/2016 08:33:31 »
No one knows for certain the cause of menopause symptoms, but doctors suspect that changing hormone levels are the likely reason.

The female reproductive cycle involves the release from the brain's pituitary gland of the hormone FSH (follicle stimulating hormone). This stimulates the ovary, provoking the maturation of a number of follicles each month. These follicles secrete oestrogen into the bloodstream. Oestrogen feeds back to the pituitary to shut off the supply of FSH (negative feedback). Another hormone, LH (luteinising hormone) is also produced by the pituitary. Its role is to trigger ovulation and its release is also manipulated by circulating hormonal feedback.

However, as the number of recruitable follicles in the ovary diminish with age the production of oestrogen slowly dries up. The pituitary gland in the brain interprets the low level of oestrogen as a consequence of the inadequate FSH signalling, so more of this hormone is released. The result can be significantly higher-than-normal FSH and LH levels and significant swings in the concentrations of these hormones. Coupled with the drop in oestrogens and the absence of the normal hormonal cycle (as outlined in the article referenced above), tissues - and particularly the vasculature - respond with the symptoms of the menopause: flushes, hot sensations and so on.

Most women report that the symptoms settle with time, but for some it can be very disabling and these people occasionally find relief in hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

I hope this helps to make things clearer.
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