Menopause, hyperthyroidism, damage to the hypothalamus, urinary tract infections and carcinoid syndrome can all cause hot flashes, according to Healthline. Pituitary tumors, HIV infection and alcoholism also produce symptoms that resemble hot flashes, adds Drugs.com. Men with low testosterone levels due to surgical removal of the testes to treat cancer and men who take a testosterone-lowering medication can experience hot flashes.
Hot flashes occur in 85 percent of women who experience natural menopause, those who enter menopause due to surgical removal of the ovaries, and women who take estrogen-lowering medications, notes Drugs.com. While some women continue to experience hot flashes for up to 15 years after their last menstrual cycle, the average is two years. Seventy-five percent of men who undergo an orchiectomy experience hot flashes once the testes are surgically removed. Food additives, such as monosodium glutamate, and certain medications, including niacin, vancomycin and nitroglycerin, have side effects that mimic hot flashes.
A menopausal hot flash usually begins in the head region. A woman feels extremely warm, and her skin may flush, explains Drugs.com. Some women perspire heavily and others experience an irregular heart rate, dizziness and weakness. The average duration of a hot flash is four minutes. Hot flashes often occur at night, disrupting a woman’s sleep and resulting in fatigue, cognitive difficulties and emotional agitation the following day.