Hot flashes are feelings of intense heat that often affect women during menopause. But men can also experience hot flashes from hormonal changes, lifestyle causes, and due to some medical reasons.

A hot flash is a feeling of intense heat that is not triggered by your immediate surroundings. It often appears suddenly.

Hot flashes are commonly linked to women undergoing menopause. But men can also experience this condition.

Language matters

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. We use the term “women” and “men” in this article to refer to sex assigned at birth and reflect terms historically used to gender people.

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Women experience hot flashes from a sudden fluctuation in hormones as they age. On the other hand, men do not experience a natural sharp decline in testosterone.

In fact, men typically experience about a 1 percent drop in testosterone every year after 30. This is considered a healthy and steady decline.

Androgen deprivation therapy

Hot flashes in men most likely occur due to a prostate cancer treatment called androgen deprivation therapy. This treatment works to restrict the production of testosterone so it’s unable to stimulate cancer cell growth.

It’s estimated that as many as 80 percent of men who undergo this form of therapy have hot flashes.

Lifestyle causes

Hot flashes in men sometimes coincide with other symptoms like:

Stress, depression, or anxiety may cause these symptoms. More research is needed to fully understand how these symptoms correlate to hot flashes.

Medical causes

A variety of causes may be responsible for low testosterone levels, or “low T,” but men with this condition can experience hot flashes as well.

Symptoms include:

  • a sensation of warmth that comes on suddenly
  • heavy sweating
  • reddening of the skin

While triggers of hormone decreases differ for men and women, symptoms of hot flashes are identical in both sexes.

The warmth and flushing sensation is felt most intensely in the head and trunk areas. Heavy sweating and skin reddening may accompany these symptoms.

Such symptoms may pass quickly, generally averaging less than 5 minutes, and end in a cold sweat. Some men and women may experience these symptoms infrequently, while others may experience them up to 10 times a day.

Most men stop having flashes after about 7 months of finishing their androgen deprivation treatment, according to a 2017 study. Men who stay on the therapy may continue to experience these symptoms.

Lifestyle changes like eating a low fat diet and avoiding spicy foods, getting enough quality sleep, and exercising regularly may help reduce discomfort during hot flashes.

One 2009 study suggested that taking antidepressants, progestin hormones like megestrol, or anti-androgen hormones like cyproterone (not available in the United States) may help relieve hot flashes in men. Estradiol and testosterone replacement therapy may be helpful.

A 2012 study suggested that multiple antidepressant medications may help. It also noted that the anticonvulsant gabapentin is the best studied and potentially most effective of the nonhormonal treatment options.

It’s important to know that testosterone replacement therapy is not recommended for men with a history of prostate cancer since it may stimulate cancer cells. Those with hot flashes related to prostate cancer treatment may benefit from treatment with the medications paroxetine or clonidine. Physical activity like yoga or another exercise is also recommended.

Talk with your doctor before taking any medications off-label.

You can help prevent hot flashes by avoiding common triggers, such as:

  • alcohol
  • smoking
  • coffee
  • spicy food
  • warm room temperatures
  • tight or heavy clothing

Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about hot flashes in men.

At what age do men get hot flashes?

Unlike women who commonly experience hot flashes due to the naturally occurring, rapid, age-related decline in hormone production, men experience a much slower decline in testosterone levels with age.

Rather, hot flashes in men often coincide with certain health conditions or present as side effects to treatments like stress and androgen deprivation therapy.

What do hot flashes in men feel like?

Many people describe hot flashes as a warm, flushing sensation that sweeps over the face, chest, and upper body. Symptoms often come on within seconds and may cause perspiration or skin redness.

What health conditions cause hot flashes in men?

One of the most common causes of hot flashes in men is androgen deprivation therapy, a treatment for prostate cancer that restricts testosterone production. Low testosterone levels, stress, and anxiety may also cause hot flashes in some.

Hot flashes cause an intense, heat-like sensation to sweep the face and upper body. Perspiration and skin redness are also common.

Symptoms usually appear quickly and subside within minutes. They may happen several times each day but can also be an isolated event.

Treatment varies depending on the cause. If you have hot flashes, speak with a doctor about the potential causes and treatment options.