Aug. 15, 2006 — -- Hot flashes are the most common complaints of women who are experiencing menopause.
There are ways, however, to combat them through clothes, food and herbal supplements.
A woman has reached menopause when she has not had a period for 12 months in a row. During that time, her body slowly makes less of the hormones estrogen and progesterone.
Women usually experience menopause between 45 and 55 years old, but some may experience menopause at younger ages because of medical treatments such as surgery to remove the ovaries; genetics; or cancer treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation to the pelvic area.
Hot flashes usually appear during the perimenopause transition when a woman is in her 40s.
When a woman has a hot flash, she suddenly feels warm in her face, neck or chest.
The sensation can last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes. Some women feel their heart beating faster and as a result, become anxious.
Those who have had a hysterectomy or an oophorectomy have more severe hot flashes.
Other symptoms include night sweats, or the vagina may become dry and thin, causing sex to be painful.
Karen Giblin, the founder of the menopause education program Red Hot Mamas, came to "Good Morning America" to offer some ideas about how to make menopause easier to endure.
For more on menopause, visit the Red Hot Mamas menopause Web site at redhotmamas.org.