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Causes of Hot Flashes in Young Women

author image Elle Paula
Elle Paula has a Bachelor of Science in nutrition from Framingham State College and a certificate in holistic nutrition from the American College of Healthcare Sciences. She is also a licensed aesthetician with advanced training in skincare and makeup. She plans to continue on with her education, complete a master's degree program in nutrition and, ultimately, become a registered dietitian.
Causes of Hot Flashes in Young Women
Young women may experience hot flashes as a result of ovarian failure. Photo Credit young woman image by Vasiliy Koval from <a href="http://www.fotolia.com">Fotolia.com</a>

MayoClinic.com defines a hot flash as an episode of mild to extreme heat that causes flushing of the face, neck and chest and an increase in heart rate. Excessive sweating often accompanies a hot flash as well. Hot flashes are a common symptom of menopause in older women, but can affect young women due to a number of conditions.

Premature Ovarian Failure

Premature ovarian failure occurs when the ovaries lose their normal function before the age of 40. When ovaries do not function normally, they cannot produce eggs or enough of the hormone estrogen. This can cause a number of symptoms as well as infertility. Symptoms of premature ovarian failure include irregular periods, skipped periods, vaginal dryness, difficulty concentrating, decreased sex drive and hot flashes. Premature ovarian failure occurs because of abnormalities in the ovaries due to chromosomal defects or exposure to toxins, such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy, according to MayoClinic.com. Treatment for premature ovarian failure includes hormonal replacement therapy and supplementation with vitamin D and calcium. MayoClinic.com notes that infertility associated with premature ovarian failure cannot be reversed.

High Estrogen Levels

During a normal reproductive cycle, the ovaries release an egg about every 28 days. While the egg is waiting for fertilization, estrogen levels in the body increase. If the egg is not fertilized, estrogen levels eventually return to normal and come back into balance with the hormone progesterone. Occasionally, the ovaries fail to release an egg during a reproductive cycle. If this occurs, estrogen levels remains high for an extended period of time. This results in dysfunctional uterine bleeding, which is abnormal vaginal bleeding that can be characterized as late periods, spotting between periods and heavier periods. In addition to abnormal bleeding, other symptoms include an increase in body hair, moodiness, vaginal dryness and hot flashes, according to MedlinePlus. A significant increase in blood loss may also result in anemia and fatigue. Dysfunctional uterine bleeding caused by a hormonal imbalance is usually treated with the use of birth control pills or intrauterine devices to control hormones. In those who wish to become pregnant, medication to stimulate ovulation may be given. Iron supplements are also given to those who have developed anemia due to dysfunctional uterine bleeding.

Panic Attacks

Panic attacks are episodes of intense fear and dread that have no known trigger an occur suddenly. In addition to fear, a variety of physical symptoms are associated with panic attacks. These symptoms include, but are not limited to, shaking, increased heart rate, increased sweating, chest pain, shortness of breath, tingling and numbness in the extremities, dizziness, weakness and hot flashes. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, in order to be considered a panic attack, at least four of these symptoms must be present at the same time. A six to nine month treatment plan that includes therapy as well as medication is generally recommended for those who experience panic attacks.

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