Middle-aged dude getting hot flashes. WTF?
September 27, 2010 10:09 AM   Subscribe

I'm a dude getting hot flashes. What is this? MANopause?

42-year-old dude. Not in great shape. Trying to lose more than a few through healthy eating and exercise.

For the past 3 weeks, I've been getting extended hot flashes. Feels like my internal thermostat is broken; every room feels is 10-20 degrees warmer than it is. I'll be sweating for no reason at all. It was 55 degrees last night in Seattle, and I was sleeping with the window open, under just a sheet, and even that felt warm.

* Exercise? Not getting any more than prior to the hot flashes.
* Dehydration? Nope, I'm drinking plenty of water.
* Medication? I started taking 24-hour Claritin regularly about a month ago, but this isn't listed as a side effect.

You are not my doctor, but do you have any ideas to research? Am I just getting old? Should I be scaring kids off my lawn?
posted by Cool Papa Bell to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Googling Claritin hot flashes pulls up a lot of hits. Given that that's the one factor you can isolate, it might be worth looking further into.
posted by Zophi at 10:13 AM on September 27, 2010

Best answer: Here are five possible causes. Note that some of the causes are very serious. See a doctor.
posted by amro at 10:14 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Hot flashes usually last for just a few minutes, don't they? If it's lasting all night long, maybe what you're experiencing is heat intolerance, instead. Heat intolerance is a symptom of hyperthyroidism (among other things), which is an easy thing for your doctor to run a blood test for.

You might want to try seeing if laying off the Claritin for a week helps, though. Some people get weird side effects from a drug.
posted by Ery at 10:34 AM on September 27, 2010

Best answer: It may have been 55 degrees last night, but it was 55 degrees with 85% humidity. Our weather has been extremely muggy, with an unusually high dew point. Other parts of the country are familiar with the problems of high dew point, but we - soggy as we are - rarely have it this bad.

Dew point is the point at which the air is fully saturated with water. It's hit its carrying capacity, and can take no more. What does this mean to you? It means that none of your sweat will evaporate. Like, at all.

You probably don't even realize that you're constantly perspiring. We actually lose quite a lot of water through our skin in the course of a day. When it's as humid as it has been, all of that water stays put. You're left clammy, sticky, and unhappy.

If you're a person who's inclined to be a little more sweaty than usual, then the last few weeks will have been a misery for you. For me, too. A fan can help, because it moves the air around. But basically, it's just a matter of riding it out.

I'm not seeing you shouldn't see a doctor. I'm just saying, it's sticky here lately!

(Another thing is, if my blood sugar drops too far, I get very sweaty and overheated, and a little bit shaky. If you've been cutting back on the calories, that might be the cause. But this is such a distinctive feeling, and you don't mention feeling faint or wobbly, that I ruled it out.)
posted by ErikaB at 10:50 AM on September 27, 2010

Best answer: A couple of anecdotal data points:

1 - I'm in Portland and have been feeling the same way as you. The weather lately has been kind of sticky and humid, even if it the temperature doesn't reflect really high temperatures. It's been had to feel comfortable.

2 - I agree thattaking a break from the Claritin would be good, to see if things improve. I've taken medication before that has caused some weird and unlisted side effects. I started an antibiotic a few months ago, and started getting a piercing headache in my left temple. None of the official literature mentioned it as a side effect but when I Googled it, I found lots of people had the same side effect. I stopped taking it and within 2-3 days the headaches were gone.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 11:11 AM on September 27, 2010

I got these earlier in the summer - I had a one-two whammy of viral-bacterial infection. Some antibiotics to control the bacterial stuff, and time and rest to cure the virus. It actually needed two courses of antibiotics to cure, as it came back a month later.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:36 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

A few points:
- Low blood sugar will definitely give you hot flashes but that isn't what these sound like. They're a burning wet sensation all over that sometimes pulsates and often feels like I can sense every pore. Being a guy, I don't know how that compares to what girls get.
- If I get too cold I will start generating heat on my own and that circuit's pretty hard to turn off (try a warm shower). I suspect this is genetic. It's common enough in my family that the guys are known by their wives as portable heaters.
- I get freaky reactions to most drugs (red hair genes... so much fun) and take Claritan regularly for parts of the year and never had what you describe from that, but...
- Low hydration levels did do this to me though. Aim for a 4-5 cups (the measuring cup kind) a day at least. Keep it simple and just use water. It gets dicey with sugar/caffeine/dairy in the other drinks.

A doctor sounds like a good idea, just in case.
posted by jwells at 11:41 AM on September 27, 2010

Thyroid problems could cause hot flashes. I would seriously schedule a doctors appointment. Could just be nothing, could be a small problem or something as serious as thyroid cancer.

Please see a doctor as hot flashes can be a thyroid problem.
posted by majortom1981 at 1:26 PM on September 27, 2010

Doesn't 24 hour Claritin contain pseudoephedrine?

Pseudoephedrine is classed as an amphetamine, and amphetamines are notorious for inducing hyperthermia.
posted by jamjam at 4:14 PM on September 27, 2010

Response by poster: I stopped the Claritin and yeah, Seattle had several muggy-ass days and nights, and I learned what a dew point is. So far, I feel much better. Thanks, all.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:37 AM on September 29, 2010

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