Hot Flashes in Teenagers
It is possible for children and teenagers to experience hot flushes or hot flashes similar to those of menopausal women. However, while hot flashes are normal and expected in older women, they are not common or normal for teenagers. Hot flushes usually signify an underlying condition that requires medical attention. Treating the underlying condition should reduce the incidence of hot flashes in teenagers.
A decreased level of estrogen in the body is a trigger for many hot flashes, according to Breastcancer.org 1. The estrogen level causes your hypothalamus -- the part of your brain responsible for controlling body temperature -- to become confused and "think" that your body is too hot. Your body responds by releasing sweat to get rid of the imaginary heat, causing an uncomfortable, overly moist experience.
In men, having too-low levels of testosterone can cause hot flashes, according to the National Institutes of Health. Testosterone is the hormone that regulates a man's sex drive and produces sperm cells, among other functions. Although low testosterone is usually a problem in older men, it is possible for teenage boys to have a testosterone deficiency. Causes include trauma to the testicles, diseases of the hypothalamus or pituitary gland, and certain types of cancer or genetic diseases. Low testosterone can also be a side effect of using morphine or anabolic steroids.
Some people who have seizures due to epilepsy report hot flash-like symptoms during a seizure 2. According to an article in the "Southern Medical Journal," one patient was monitored during what she thought was a hot flash; brain activity showed it was actually a mild seizure. If your teenager has epilepsy, complaints of a "hot flash" may be a warning sign that a seizure is coming on 2.
Premature Ovarian Insufficiency
Hot flashes are one symptom of a condition called premature ovarian insufficiency or POI, according to the Children's Hospital of Boston. POI affects about 0.1 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 29. The ovaries of women and girls with POI don't make the proper amounts of estrogen, which can hinder growth and development. The most common symptoms are lack of breast development and menstrual periods, but hot flashes, vaginal dryness and mood swings can occur as well. Hormone replacement therapy can help treat the condition, but it is usually permanent.
According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of British Columbia, hot flashes can be one of the physical symptoms of a severe phobia. A phobia is "an extreme anxiety response toward something that is not causing immediate danger." Some phobias common in older children and teenagers include injections, going to the dentist, severe weather, heights and enclosed spaces.
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