Hot flashes in men

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Hot flashes in men: What causes them?

Question

What causes hot flashes in men? I thought only women got hot flashes.

Marian
South Carolina

Answer

While hot flashes — brief episodes of intense warmth and sweating — are more common in menopausal women, men may experience them as well.

Men may have hot flashes when they experience a sudden and substantial drop in the sex hormone testosterone — such as after surgical removal of the testes (orchiectomy) or when taking medications to decrease testosterone levels for treatment of prostate cancer.

Like women, men may also experience hot-flash-like symptoms due to:

  • Tumor of the hypothalamus or pituitary gland
  • Certain infections, such as tuberculosis or HIV
  • Reaction to monosodium glutamate (MSG), a food additive
  • Reaction to certain medications, such as nifedipine (Procardia, Adalat), niacin, and calcitonin (Calcimar, Miacalcin, others)

Hot flashes in a man should be evaluated by a doctor. A blood test can help determine if testosterone deficiency (male hypogonadism) is the cause of hot flashes. If the cause of hot flashes can be determined, treatment typically is directed at the underlying cause, such as testosterone replacement or switching medications. If treatment of the underlying cause is not possible, then treatment is directed at reducing the symptoms of hot flashes.

Last Updated: 11/14/2006
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