Life

Red alert: Why exactly is a flushed face a symptom of the menopause?

It's thought menopausal hormone changes cause heat control mechanisms in the brain to misfire

THE surprising reasons for a flushed face. This week: Hormones

HOT flushes are one of the most common symptoms of the menopause. A rise in facial temperature causes blood vessels just under the skin to dilate, resulting in reddening.

One theory is that hot flushes are down to a malfunctioning of heat control mechanisms in the brain, possibly triggered by changes in oestrogen and other hormones around the time of menopause. Flushes are occasionally seen in men, with a drop in testosterone implicated – most likely as a result of androgen deprivation therapy, a prostate cancer treatment which restricts the production of testosterone, so it can't stimulate cancer cell growth.

The NHS says hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is an effective treatment. But other therapies can help, including vitamin E, which has anti-inflammatory effects, and even antidepressants, which regulate hormones, such as serotonin, that influence body temperature.

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