A cold flash can be described as a sudden onset of cold sensation that makes you shiver. This is often referred to as chills. It may last for a few minutes and then subside on its own. It is not the same as the natural reaction of the body towards a low room temperature. Many people complain that they get hot and cold flashes alternately.
A series of cold and hot flashes at night is triggered by some intrinsic factors. In women who are approaching menopause, cold and hot flashes could be a menopausal symptom. The brain is responsible for regulating the body temperature. During menopause, the level of the female reproductive hormone estrogen fluctuates abnormally. When there is a sudden drop in the level of this vital hormone, it has a spontaneous effect on the temperature control mechanism of the brain. As a result, the brain may raise or lower the body temperature which, in turn, gives a sudden feeling of heat or cold. Younger women may experience it due to hormone imbalance during or before menstruation or during pregnancy and soon after childbirth.
Sometimes, a brain injury can affect the temperature regulation mechanism of the body and cause cold flashes quite frequently. A number of underlying health problems, like gastroenteritis, diarrhea, urinary tract infections, panic attack, common cold, pneumonia, etc., can be responsible for this problem. HIV patients tend to get experience the sensation during nighttime, which is often accompanied by excessive shivering.
When you visit a doctor with this problem, he will first identify the cause after having a detailed discussion about your lifestyle and medical history. If it is a symptom of menopause, he may recommend hormone replacement therapy. Here, low doses of estrogen hormone are administered so that the temperature regulation mechanism of the body functions normally. If it is caused by anxiety or panic attack, then low dose of antidepressants are prescribed. Besides, doctors suggest some changes in the diet and lifestyle. It includes a well-balanced nutritious diet and regular exercising to keep the mind and body healthy and relaxed. One should also avoid tea, coffee, alcohol, and spicy foods in order to reduce the intensity of the sensation.
Acupuncture, yoga, hypnotherapy, and various other relaxation techniques have proved to be highly beneficial for providing relief from cold flashes. To restore the hormonal balance, women can have a herbal tea prepared from dried herbs, like milk thistle, sage, ginseng root, and rosemary. Put all these herbs in a cup of boiling water and keep them soaked for 5 - 10 minutes. This tea should be taken 2 - 3 times daily for best results. However, have a word with your doctor before consuming this tea.
After you wake up with cold flashes at night, you may find it difficult to fall asleep again. The first thing that you must do in this condition is to make yourself comfortable. Drinking a glass of water may make you feel better. If you get night sweats along with it, keep a towel to wipe off the sweat. Try to relax your mind with some breathing exercises. Back counting from 10 to 1 can help you fall asleep. Also, always wear loose, comfortable clothes made of natural fabric, while sleeping.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and should not be substituted for the advice of a medical professional.