If IBS causes hot flashes, how on earth does this occur?

IBS stands for irritable bowel syndrome. It is common. So are hot flashes.

Can hot flashes be caused by irritable bowel syndrome?

Yes, says Michael Blume, MD, a gastroenterologist at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital, Baltimore.

“This is not uncommon at all. Many people with IBS attacks feel flushed, warm, clammy and can feel as if they have to pass out.

“This has to do with the nervous system supply to your gastrointestinal tract.

“Part of what governs the function of your GI tract is related to your autonomic nervous system, that part of your nervous system that works without your thinking about it.

“One part of this system is called your parasympathetic nervous system, most notably your vagus nerve, and in many patients with IBS, this often becomes very active.

“When it does, it may give the sensation of hot flashes, as well as the other symptoms mentioned above.

“Many patients feel that they may be running a fever when it often just is related to a feeling of warmth and clamminess one sees with this phenomenon.

“Most people actually running a fever usually feel cold, and may have chills, rather than feeling warm.”

If you can’t tell when you’re having a hot flash vs. a fever, you can take your temperature with an instrument — that you can get at a drugstore — that instantly yields your temperature.

At any rate, IBS can definitely generate a hot flash. But if you’re going through menopause or have been having true postmenopausal hot flashes, irritable bowel syndrome is likely not the cause of any of these episodes.

In practice for 20+ years, Dr. Blume treats over 65 conditions including abdominal pain, appetite loss, blood in stool, celiac disease, colon cancer, esophageal and liver disease, gas and IBS.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer. 

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Top image: Shutterstock/YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV