Last Updated on April 13, 2023
Hot flashes and nausea are symptoms that can occur concurrently or on their own. Hot flashes are sudden warm sensations that can lead to sweating and flushing of the face and neck region. It can last from a few seconds to several minutes, occurring up to several times a day.
Nausea is an unpleasant feeling of vomiting or uneasiness in the stomach. It is a common symptom in many conditions, including motion sickness, morning sickness, pregnancy, and multiple gastroenterological disorders.
Both of these can severely impact a person’s quality of life. In this blog, we shall discuss hot flashes and nausea in more depth and help you decide if you would like to participate in clinical trials for women.
Hot flashes are the most prevalent symptom of menopause. These sensations can occur at an unspecified time of the day and are characterized by waves of hotness throughout your upper body, notably your head and chest area. Your skin may also become flushed and blemished.
Apart from the heat, hot flashes might cause you to sweat. Hot flashes at night can cause a lot of night sweats, interfering with your sleep cycle. Hot flashes and nausea can occur in both men and women, but menopausal and perimenopausal women are the most affected.
Risk Factors for Hot Flashes
Risk factors for hot flashes:
- Age: Hot flashes are more prevalent in older individuals.
- Gender: Perimenopausal or postmenopausal women are much more likely to have hot flashes.
- Genetics: Some people are likely more prone to hot flashes due to their genetics.
- Lifestyle: Smoking, drinking alcohol, and a passive lifestyle can result in hot flashes.
- Medical Conditions: Medical conditions like obesity and diabetes.
- Medications: Certain medications or chemotherapy treatments can also cause hot flashes.
- Mental Health Conditions: Stress or anxiety are known triggers.
Menopause begins when you have not had a period for 12 months straight. As an individual gets near menopause they may experience a set of symptoms including hot flashes and nausea. Some women experience hot flashes before and after menopause. While there is no pinpoint cause for nausea, hormonal imbalances, and medications can cause nausea.
Causes of Nausea
Causes of nausea include:
- Gastrointestinal problems: GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or gastroenteritis.
- Infections: Influenza, food poisoning, or norovirus.
- Pregnancy: Nausea in the first trimester of pregnancy.
- Medications: Antibiotics, painkillers, and chemotherapy drugs.
- Motion sickness
Hot Flashes and Nausea: The Connection
Hot flashes and nausea can occur either separately or together. These can severely impair a person’s lifestyle if they occur frequently or with severity.
Hot flashes and nausea are related to the changes in hormonal levels of estrogen in the body. Estrogen is a hormone that plays a critical role in the body by regulating temperature. A decrease in estrogen can cause a sudden, intense rise in body temperature. It can induce a nauseating feeling and even vomiting. Additionally, hot flashes and nausea can be prevalent during menopause.
Common Exacerbating Factors
Multiple factors can make hot flashes and nausea worse. Stress and anxiety are known triggers for nausea making these worse. Similarly, the consumption of alcohol or spicy food can also trigger hot flashes and nausea. Additionally, certain medications like opioid drugs and chemotherapeutics can also cause this.
Combined Management Strategies
There are many ways to counter hot flashes and nausea. These can help individuals to manage symptoms:
- Lifestyle Modifications: Simple changes like wearing loose-fitting clothes, avoiding alcohol and spicy food, or even using a fan.
- Hormonal Therapy: Hormone therapy can help balance hormonal imbalances, reducing the frequency and severity of the symptoms. However, hormonal therapy is not suitable for everyone, and proper consultation with a doctor should precede initiation.
- Medication: Certain medications—such as antidepressants and antiseizure drugs—can help manage symptoms and reduce the severity.
- Meditation: Practicing mind-body techniques like yoga and deep breathing exercises can help.
- Alternative Therapies: Some individuals have found relief in alternate therapies like acupuncture and herbal remedies. It is also important to explore alternative therapies through clinical trials.
Hot flashes and nausea can occur with other symptoms such as:
- night sweats
- headaches and migraine
- nighttime insomnia and daytime fatigue
- lack of sleep
- stress and anxiety
- vaginal dryness
- decreased libido
- weight gain
- increased urination and incontinence
- frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs)
Does Diet Affect Hot Flashes?
Hot flashes can affect you not just physically but mentally as well. Fortunately, these effects can be minimized through certain lifestyle changes such as diet adjustments. Your diet can help reduce hot flashes and nausea.
It is preferable to have simple foods rich in phytoestrogens, such as soy foods. A plant-based diet can mimic the effects of estrogen due to its richness in antioxidants. The following foods can potentially help manage hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms:
Green tea, bok choy, cauliflower, and cabbage can help to keep the body hydrated and regulate electrolyte levels.
Whole wheat is an excellent choice for dietary fiber. These can help promote a balanced diet, regulate blood sugar levels, and offer relief from hot flashes. Consuming white flour should be avoided as it may worsen hot flashes and increase the frequency of night sweats.
Fruits and Vegetables:
Incorporating dark green leafy vegetables and fruits such as broccoli, spinach, and kale.
Other Phytoestrogen-rich Foods:
Soy, celery, chia seeds, green beans, oats, and legumes can mimic the effects of estrogen and help control hot flashes.
Foods Rich in Vitamin E:
Avocado, shellfish, and sunflower seeds can help decrease depression and slow down menopausal weight gain.
Drinking plenty of water (8 to 12 cups) can reduce bloating and help avoid dehydration.
- Healthy Omega-3 Fats from Fish
- High Protein Content
Treatment Options for Hot Flashes
- Hormone Therapy (Estrogen and Progesterone Therapy): A combination of progesterone and estrogen can be used throughout perimenopause and menopause for hot flashes and nausea. Pills, vaginal lotions, and skin patches are common ways to administer estrogen. A thorough consultation with your healthcare physician should help you decide whether to begin these hormone therapies.
- Estrogen Therapy: Estrogen treatment (ET) is initiated when the body does not produce estrogen alone. Skin patches, vaginal creams, and tablet forms of estrogen are usual modes of drug usage. Again, it is important to consult your physician beforehand.
- Non-Hormonal Treatment: Antidepressants are usually prescribed to those unable to take estrogen.
- Estrogen Alternatives: These are called synthetic estrogens and they can help with vaginal atrophy.
Overall, hot flashes and nausea can be challenging to manage, but there are various methods that people can use to alleviate their symptoms. It is imperative to keep your healthcare provider in the loop, especially if the symptoms progress.
Additionally, multiple ongoing hot flashes research may provide novel therapies for those struggling with hot flashes and nausea.