Vol. 38, No. 3, March


PHYsroLocY 19 75. Printed

in U.S,A,



GEORGE W. MOLNAR Medical Research, Veterans Administration


MOLNAR, GEORGE W. Body temperatures during menopausal hot j’mhes. J. Appl. Physiol. 38(3) : 499-503. 1975.-Body temperatures during hot flashes were measured in a menopausal woman. Internal temperatures fell after each flash; lowest: rectal, 35.6”C; vaginal, 35.6”C; tympanic, 35.2OC. 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’C. The heart accelerated 3 3 7; 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 oi 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 discharged. The thermal distress was probably evoked by vascular warming in the cheeks. Dabbing the malar prominences with cold water brought prompt relief.




THE HOT FLASH of the menopause-a sudden hot feeling accompanied by flushing of the face and usually sweatingis a common phenomenon which has not been accorded extensive thermal investigation. Klaften ( 14) measured uterine and other internal body temperatures daily in 24 menopausal women but not during a flash. AlbeauxFernet and Deribeaux (I) had a 50-yr-old patient who flashed 15-20 times/day with heavy sweating and temperature of 36.5-36.7”C. Collett (5) measured the oxygen consumption (up 5-15 %) and cheek temperatures (up 0.52°C) during flashes in ?everal” women. Reynolds (20) reported the finger volume change and face temperature rise during a flash in one menopausal woman. King (13) found no change in the basal metabolic rate in 12 women after removal of the ovaries. A search in the Index Medicus from 1903 to 1973 under the category of menopause yielded no further titles that suggested information on the problem. MATERIALS



All studies were performed on one woman, age 59 yr, weight 55 kg, height 161 cm. She had been on estrogen therapy for 5 yr but it was discontinued when spotty bleeding appeared. Shortly thereafter hot flashing began and became very annoying and discomforting. During many flashes she felt so hot that she either partially disrobed or else stepped outdoors (5-10°C) to cool off. On one occasion the oral temperature was measured; it showed no elevation and so a more complete investigation was decided upon.


hot flashes

Little Rock, Arkunsas 72206

Since her flashes occurred most predictably between 1900 and 2 100 h, the measurements were made during these hours on 4 alternately succeeding days. The subject lay on a Nylon mesh bed which was mounted on an underbed scale. In three tests she was nude and in one fully clothed. For the nude studies the air temperature was maintained at 28-30°C by means of window-unit air conditioners (

Body temperatures during menopausal hot flashes.

Body temperatures during hot flashes were measured in a menopausal woman. Internal temperatures fell after each flash; lowest: rectal, 35.6 degrees C;...
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