Hot Flash(?)

I’m a 73-year old male, so I’m not in and never have had menopause. Women who have say they have occasional “hot flashes” at night (caused by hormone changes, I guess). A lady I run with (who is 57 and has them) says she gets very hot sometimes. Anyway, last night as I got into bed with Pilgrim (my 6-year old female cat) and after playing chess on an internet chess site, I felt intense heat which began in my head. Not unpleasant, mind you; actually, on a cold night, it felt good. This sensation traveled down my body. As it did so, it left the area which it was in, until it completely passed, in a matter of a few minutes. Does anybody have any idea what could have caused this? I don’t think it was the same as a “hot flash,” because, other than being male and past the menopause age anyway, it was not uncomfortable as described to me by others - but disconcerting as I didn’t know what was going on.

While I’m on this subject, what is it in hormonal changes that cause “hot flashes”? I believe it must have something to do with the blood flow, but I don’t know what and how that is caused by the hormones.

This is just WAG’ing, but I think the hot flash is due to the effect of a pulse of GnRH (and/or other hypothalamic hormones) on blood vessels, skin, and other tissues. This makes a bit of sense since GnRH levels are elevated in menopause (since there is not enough estrogen around to suppress them). Of more interest to me is the observation that administration of other hypothalamic hormones also causes flushing (eg. TRH, CRH). So, it seems there’s almost a generic effect of hypothalamic hormones to cause flushing, whether they come from endogenous release (as is the case for GnRH in menopause) or from exogenous administration (as is the case for CRH, etc.).

Again, I want to emphasize that this is just my speculation (albeit based on some understanding and experience in endocrinology). But speculation is okay since even the cognoscenti are uncertain as to the cause of the menopausal hot flush.

Thanks, KarlGauss, for the reply and link. The reason for my own experience will probably remain unknown.

Niacin is also known for it’s hot flushing characteristics - did you eat something with a lot of niacin before going to bed? :wink:

I was going to mention this, because I took a niacin tablet once, on the recommendation of a friend of mine, with no warning about the flushing symptoms. I had no idea what was going on when suddenly I had the same kind of ‘hot flash’ run from my scalp down through my body; lasted about 10 minutes though.

After that, I used it on purpose a few times just to get warm at night so I could get to sleep. :stuck_out_tongue: I can’t recall what foods trigger a niacin response, though, hrm.

Aaah so! I take 500mg of niacin every evening, on the suggestion of my tp, who thought my cholesterol was slightly elevated. I knew about the flushing mechanisms of niacin, but, you know, I’ve been taking it for years and that was the first time, and only time so far, that I had the flushing, which actually went from my head to my abdomen. Thanks, Cat Whisper. You’re the cat’s meow. Taomist, mine actually lasted perhaps 10 minutes, but not any more than that.

BTW, on my next annual physical, my cholesterol dropped quite a few points (below 200), and my tp noted how much diet and niacin helped to lower my cholesterol, but not my HDL (fortunately), which is near 90.

Well, my work here is done. :slight_smile:

I thought the flushing was supposed to be unpleasant - I guess that must vary with people.

I’ve been taking niacin for years, on the advice of my doctor, and it does cause the flushing symptom every couple of weeks. In my case I find it extremely unpleasant – it feels like my skin is burning. Very annoying, IMO.

Well it has been more unpleasant for mrAru than me …

He has a thyroid condition and is always cold. I get a hot flash and I turn on the air conditioner in the bedroom … I swear there were days in this past year where you could hang meat in the bedroom … Poor mrAru is huddled under the IKEA 365 double layer comforter in the middle of July. :eek: and I am wearing the least covering tank top and shorts I can find in the closet. :frowning: