Journal of Applied Physiology

Body temperatures during menopausal hot flashes

G. W. Molnar


Body temperatures during hot flashes were measured in a menopausal woman. Internal temperatures fell after each flash; lowest: rectal, 35.6 degrees C; vaginal, 35.6 degrees C; tympanic, 35.2 degrees C. Where sweating occurred, the skin temperature fell during the flash and rose after it. Finger and toe temperatures always showed a sharp rise at the onset of a flash with a slower fall after the flash. Only the cheeks showed additional temperature rises; maximum, 0.7 degrees C. The heart accelerated 13% at the onset of the flash but slowed immediately thereafter. The flash interval was sharply demarcated by undulations in the ECG baseline. There was never any premonitory sign of the imminence of a flash. A central excitatory state seemed to build up, perhaps by the accumulation of a chemical compound, but not of heat, which was explosively dischargedmthe thermal distress was probably evoked by vascular warming in the cheeks. Dabbing the malar prominences with cold water brought prompt relief.