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Though they are most commonly a problem for older menopausal women, there are some things which can cause hot flashes in young women as well. A significant drop in estrogen levels in the body may trigger them, for example, and some other common causes include a malfunction in the ovaries and having a hysterectomy where the ovaries are removed. Some glandular issues may cause them as well. Other causes can include psychological factors, dietary choices, and chemical triggers.
One of the primary causes of hot flashes in young women is problems with ovarian function. A woman's ovaries may begin to fail prematurely, a condition sometimes known as primary ovarian insufficiency, or POI. The organs stop releasing eggs, and the levels of estrogen they produce decreases dramatically; sometimes this occurs over time, and sometimes it happens very rapidly, leading to a condition called estrogen crash. These changes, which can be similar to what normally occurs during menopause, can in turn lead to hot flashes.
Young women who have had full hysterectomies may be prone to hot flashes as well. This typically occurs when both the uterus and ovaries have been surgically removed during a procedure called a bilateral oophorectomy. Since the ovaries normally produce estrogen, this can drastically affect the levels of hormone in the body, leading to estrogen crash.
Glandular issues can also bring on hot flashes in young women. Disorders that affect the pituitary gland can cause them, as can hyperthyroidism, where the thyroid gland is overactive.
Hot flashes can sometimes be a side effect of certain psychological issues. Women experiencing high amounts of stress may have them at times. They can also be part of the physical response that occurs when a woman has a panic attack.
Certain types of food or drink may also cause hot flashes in young women. Spicy or sugary foods are common triggers, as are caffeine and alcohol, particularly wine that contains sulfites. The nitrites in certain types of meat are another common cause.
Chemicals can also trigger hot flashes in women of any age at times. Smokers may be prone to them due to physical response to the nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes. Hot flashes can also be a side effect of some types of medications.