Medically reviewed by Alyssa Quimby, M.D.

Mention menopause to anyone, and hot flashes are what they’ll likely think of first. Interestingly, experts aren’t exactly sure why hot flashes (also known as vasomotor symptoms) occur and why most women (about 80 percent) experience them as they go through menopause.

“We think hot flashes are caused by dysregulation in the part of the brain called the hypothalamus due to a drop in estrogen,” says Sarah Yamaguchi, M.D., an ob/gyn in Los Angeles.