Hot flashes are not just a woman’s problem. Men can and do get hot flashes. As in women, hot flashes in men are caused by hormonal imbalances and fluctuations. Hot flashes in men should be evaluated by a medical doctor. A simple blood test can help determine the cause of hot flashes in men. Once the cause has been determined, most men can be successfully treated for hot flashes. Here are some common causes of hot flashes in men and how they can be treated.
Causes of Hot Flashes in Men: Andropause (Male Menopause)
Yes, men really do go through male menopause. Called andropause, it is estimated that over 25 million men in the U.S. experience symptoms of this condition. Andropause can last anywhere from 5 to 15 years and is characterized by a gradual drop in testosterone levels.
Testosterone is the male sex hormone. If testosterone levels become low enough, the hypothalamus may be signaled that the body is overheating. In response, the hypothalamus sends signals to expand blood vessels to force the perceived heat to leave the body. The body responds by trying to cool down. The result: men get hot flashes. Not sure if male hot flashes are related to andropause? If hot flashes are accompanied by weight gain, insomnia, reduced sex drive and slowed hair growth, andropause may be the cause. Treatment with hormone replacement is usually succcessful in reducing hot flashes.
Causes of Hot Flashes in Men: Aging Hormones
As men age, their body begins to produce less of the male hormones testosterone and androgen. As levels of male hormones dip below normal, a man may experience hot flashes. Night sweats and a decreased sex drive can also become a common occurrence. Aging hormones usually begin affecting men during their 50’s. Testosterone levels naturally reduce by about 1% a year after age 40. However like women, men can begin experiencing a decrease in hormones as early as their 30’s or as late as their 60’s. Testosterone replacement therapy can help restore proper hormone levels and eliminate hot flashes in men.
Causes of Hot Flashes in Men: Cancer or Tumor
The causes of hot flashes in men can also be more serious. Prostate or testicular cancer can cause hot flashes in men. Both of these types of cancers cause a fluctuation in hormone levels which in turn can cause hot flashes. A tumor on the hypothalamus or pituitary gland can also cause hot flashes in men. Treatments for these types of cancers can include medication, removal of the prostate gland, testes or any tumors. However, medication may further lower testosterone levels and cause more hot flashes so hormone replacement may be necessary.
Causes of Hot Flashes in Men: Hypogonadism
Hypogonadism is a condition in which a man’s body doesn’t produce enough of the hormone testosterone. Testosterone is the hormone in men responsible for masculine growth and sex drive. Hypogonadism can develop over time or can be present at birth. Depending on the cause, hypogonadism may be treated with testosterone replacement therapy. In addition to hot flashes symptoms include fatigue, erectile dysfunction, decreased sex drive, decrease in muscle mass, infertility, development of breast tissue and a decrease in hair growth.
Causes of Hot Flashes in Men: Prostate Cancer Treatment
Therapy for prostate cancer may cause hot flashes in men because they bring about a reduction in the amount of testosterone in the body. This reduction is often sudden and dramatic leading to the rapid onset of hot flashes. Two of the most common prostate cancer treatments are hormone therapy and surgical removal of the prostate gland or testicles.
Hormone therapy uses medication to either stop men from producing testosterone or block it from reaching cancer cells. Removing the testicles also reduces the levels of testosterone. Since prostate cancer cells need testosterone to grow, removing the hormone slows the cancer or kills it. However, the loss of testosterone also causes hot flashes in men. Treatment may include giving men small doses of estrogen which will cause hot flashes to diminish.
Causes of Hot Flashes in Men: Medications
Taking medications that affect testosterone can also cause hot flashes in men. Medications that counteract the natural effects of testosterone or decrease testosterone levels are the usual culprits. Treatment includes switching medications.
Harvard Medical School Health Publication
Medicine Net: Hot Flashes Symptoms
Mayo Clinic: Hypogonadism Male
Mayo Clinic: Prostate Cancer Treatments