Health Topics

Are Premenopausal "Cold Flashes" a Real Thing?

Dr. Holly L. Thacker discusses what cold flashes are and how to help control your temperature instability.

Q: Long before menopausal hot flashes began, I had “cold flashes” before bed or at night. Is this a real thing — perhaps part of some larger inability of the body to regulate temperature before menopause?

A: Yes, cold flashes are real. While your circadian rhythm normally makes you feel a bit cooler at night, cold flashes can be a manifestation of temperature instability — a common occurrence for women at midlife.

What’s happening? With fluctuating hormones, your brain’s internal thermostat becomes more sensitive. This means you may notice feeling either hot or cold.

If you’re troubled by cold flashes:

  • Wear socks to bed to keep your feet warm
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed
  • Participate in regular exercise (both weight-bearing and aerobic)

Hormonal and nonhormonal options are also available to help with temperature instability. Talk to your women’s health specialist to discuss options that may be right for you.