A hot flush is a sudden feeling of being very hot, which does not result from your physical surroundings.
Tell-tale signs of a hot flush include sweating for no reason, your skin turning red, and sweating profusely.
These sensations are usually felt most strongly in the head and groin regions.1
Common amongst menopausal women, it is less well known that men can also experience hot flushes. So are the symptoms similar in men? And what can they do to relieve them? We take a closer look.
Are men really affected by hot flushes?
Yes. Hot flushes, or hot flashes, do occur in men.
Hot flushes are usually experienced by women, especially when going through menopause.
It is rarer for men to experience this condition, but when it does occur it can coincide with symptoms such as erectile dysfunction, mood swings, and loss of libido.2
Male hot flashes (also called hot flushes in men) are usually short-lived, and a male hot flush will usually last under five minutes.
The male menopause
“Male menopause” (also known as “andropause”) is a commonly used term for a collection of symptoms developed by some men in their late 40s or early 50s.
Some men (although not all) experience symptoms such as anxiety, depression, loss of sex drive, and erectile dysfunction.3
Experiences such as these can really impact overall wellbeing and sense of self, so it is important to recognise male menopause symptoms and attempt to resolve them.
However, it is worth noting that calling such a syndrome “menopause for men” can be a little misleading, as it suggests that symptoms are related to hormonal changes in the body, as they are for women.
But this is not the case, and researchers are not yet sure exactly why male menopause occurs in some men.
What are the causes of the male hot flush?
Hot flashes in men can be a result of medical reasons, such as low testosterone levels (also known as “low T”).4
Androgen deprivation therapy
But this is not the most common reason for male hot flashes: 80 percent of hot flashes in men occur due to androgen deprivation therapy, which is a treatment for prostate cancer.5 This treatment affects the production of testosterone.
Another cause of male hot flashes in men is late-onset hypogonadism.6
Hypogonadism is a condition where the testes produce an abnormally low quantity of hormones. If hot flashes are a new symptom, it could be a result of the development of this disease later in life, which sometimes happens in men who are obese, or who have type 2 diabetes.
This condition can be diagnosed by a doctor, but it is worth noting that it is a very unusual disease that is rarely the cause of male hot flashes.
Stress, depression and anxiety
However, if you are experiencing male hot flashes but do not have an unusual testosterone level, the underlying causes may not be medical.
Some attribute hot flashes in men to stress, depression and anxiety, and it is certainly the case that hot flashes can make these problems even worse.
If you are not sure what the cause might be, it is worth arranging a visit to see your GP to discuss your symptoms.
There are some things you can do to prevent how often you experience a male hot flash.
- Cutting down on your alcohol intake. Higher than average alcohol intake is a common trigger in male hot flashes.
- Quit smoking. As well as affording a host of health benefits, quitting smoking can reduce hot flashes in men.
- Avoid coffee and spicy food.
- Try to wear loose rather than tight fitting clothing.
If you are experiencing male hot flashes and fatigue, there are a few things you can do to alleviate the uncomfortable symptoms.
- Although it seems obvious, keeping your room cool and well ventilated will help. Invest in a fan, or try to sit closer to the window and away from radiators.
- Avoid synthetic fabrics, and opt for cotton instead. These will not only keep you cooler but allow sweat to evaporate quickly.
- Daily showers in lukewarm water, rather than very hot, will keep your overall temperature lower.
- Try to stay calm. Male hot flashes often come with a big side helping of anxiety, which makes them even worse. Combat this by taking slow, deep breaths.
Last updated: 11 February 2021
Author: Bhupesh Panchal, Regulatory Affairs
Bhupesh started his career as a clinical toxicologist for Public Health England, advising healthcare professionals all around the country on how to manage clinical cases of adverse exposure to supplements, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, industrial chemicals and agricultural products. After 7 years in this role and a further year working as a drug safety officer in the pharmaceutical industry, Bhupesh joined Holland & Barrett as a Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate in 2019.
In his spare time, Bhupesh likes to cycle and has been learning to speak Korean for several years.