Ways To Manage Hot Flashes And Night Sweats
Hot flashes and night sweats are more than inconveniences: they could be symptoms of an illness. They could also be side effects of certain medications and treatments. In this article, well be sharing a comprehensive list of possible causes and management protocols for these reoccurring issues. Well be tackling each issue individually, and then as symptoms that go hand in hand in some situations.
Treatments For Hot Flushes
Many women learn to live with menopause-related hot flushes, but if they’re really bothering you and interfering with your day-to-day life, talk to a GP about treatments that may help.
The most effective treatment for hot flushes is hormone replacement therapy , which usually completely gets rid of them. Your doctor will talk to you about the benefits and risks of using HRT.
If you have had a type of cancer that’s sensitive to hormones, such as breast cancer, your doctor will not recommend HRT and will talk to you about alternatives.
Other medicines have been shown to help, including some antidepressants and a medicine called clonidine.
Why Does Menopause Cause Night Sweats
Night sweats are caused for the most part because your body stops making oestrogen. Oestrogen helps you regulate your body temperature by getting rid of heat. Like hot flushes, low oestrogen levels affect how the brain regulates temperature, with the result that small changes in body temperature are more likely to cause sweating or shivering.
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Remedies For Hot Flashes
If you cant take hormone replacement, Dr. Thacker recommends these tricks to keephot flashes to a minimum:
- Certain foods or environmental triggers can spark a hot flash. Some common triggers include caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods and hot baths.
- Spend a few days tracking your hot flashes and what you did in the hours leading up to them. You might find that spicy meals or flannel pajamas are a recipe for night sweats.
- Turn your bedroom temperature down at night. Wear lightweight pajamas in breathable fabrics like linen and cotton.
- Invest in pillows and mattress covers filled with cooling gel to turn your bed into a no-sweat zone.
Many women turn to herbsand supplements to fight hot flashes. However, studies have so far found littleevidence that theyre effective, Dr. Thacker says.
Scientists are alsotesting a new type of drug that acts at the brain level to stop hot flashes, sheadds. Its a potentially exciting development, but one thats not availablejust yet.
In the meantime, youdont have to suffer in silence. Treat yourself to some cool new pajamas, andtalk to a knowledgeable doctor about how best to deal with this steamy stage oflife.
Complementary Therapies For Hot Flushes
Women often turn to complementary therapies as a “natural” way to treat their hot flushes.
There’s some evidence that isoflavones or black cohosh may help reduce hot flushes.
But the research is patchy, the quality of the products can vary considerably, they can interfere with some medicines, and they can have side effects .
It’s important to talk to your doctor before you take a complementary therapy.
Page last reviewed: 29 August 2018 Next review due: 29 August 2021
Put A Pin In It: Acupuncture For Night Sweats
Acupuncture can reduce menopausal night sweats according to a study published in Menopause Journal. Out of 209 women, 80 percent received acupuncture treatment in addition to the usual care from their doctor. After eight weeks, 47 percent reported a reduction in hot flashes and 12 percent reported a major reduction in symptoms. Acupuncture can actually help to regulate a hypersensitive hypothalamus. It also activates the release of pain-killing endorphins and stress-regulating hormones, which may enhance the regulation of body temperature.
When Does Menopause Occur
Things got much better for me when I became menopausal.
What women know about menopause often involves a mix of myth and marketing, rather than scientific fact. Ask three different people about menopause and you may get three different perspectives.
Many women may tell you that menopause means everything changing and becoming miserable in midlife and that it includes a transition called perimenopause.
Finally, an epidemiologist will tell you menopause begins one year after the final menstruation.
Dealing With Night Sweats During Menopause
Many women tend to confuse normal night sweats with those resulting from menopause. Characterized by excessive sweating in the night, night sweats can be caused by a variety of reasons, including menopause. However, the symptoms of menopausal night sweats differ greatly from night sweats caused by other factors like a heated environment or heavy clothing.
And while normal night sweats are easy to handle , menopausal night sweats can be very severe and can leave the individual with worrisome side effects like excessive sweating , anxiety and heart palpitations. Recurrent menopausal night sweats can lead to conditions like insomnia, fatigue, memory impairment, dementia, heart related issues and even loss of libido in the long run.
Maintain A Healthy Weight
According to the National Institute on Aging , women who are overweight or obese may experience more hot flashes than women at a healthy weight. If you need help losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise, ask your doctor for recommendations and resources. This is another thing that can help improve your overall health as well.
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How To Stop Night Sweats Naturally During Menopause
If perimenopause is a new word to you, you might be wonderingis it just another word for menopause? You might even hear these two words used interchangeably… Arent they the same thing?
Theyre actually two entirely different experiences and should not be discussed as if they are the same thing. There is a significant amount of confusion about the differences between these two words, along with the confusion that surrounds the topic of perimenopause itself. What is it, and how does it affect women?
How To Combat Menopausal Night Sweats
Night sweats are common in the menopause and perimenopause periods. But while this symptom can be unpleasant, there are a number of methods which are capable of preventing it, or at least reducing its severity.
It is hot flashes, which can spread sudden heat through the face and upper body, which cause night sweats. They are understood to be experienced by as much as 85 per cent of women. The natural menopause typically happens between the ages of 45 and 55, and lasts for approximately seven years – that means night sweats can occur for a long period of time.
Causes Of Night Sweats
Night sweats are very commonly associated with menopause, as are hot flashes and excessive sweating. The root cause of these menopause symptoms is probably the same.
As levels of estrogen fall during menopause, the normal functioning of the area of the brain that acts as the body’s thermostat is thrown off-course. Although not fully understood, it is believed that the drop in estrogen confuses the hypothalamus, making it think that the body is overheating.
This brings about all the usual responses the body would normally use to keep cool: the skin reddens and the sweat glands begin to work .
Night sweats can also be experienced by men or by non-menopausal women. Most often, these night sweats do not indicate a health problem, but occasionally, night sweats can be a sign of symptom of something wrong with your health.
If you are a man or a woman who is not going through menopause, it would be wise to seek advice from your doctor if you suffer from unexplained night sweats.
Q: What Is A Hot Flash
A: Hot flashes are the quick bursts of hot skin and often drenching sweat that last anywhere from 30 seconds to about five minutes. Your face and neck may turn red, your heart rate may increase and you will most likely break out in a sweat. Night sweats are the same thing, only youre asleep and are jolted awake by the heat and sweat sensation consuming your body.
These sudden bursts, especially at night, can cause fatigue, irritability and even forgetfulness. For 10 to 15 percent of women, hot flashes are so severe that they disrupt normal functions, such as leading a meeting or sticking to a schedule. If you feel your daily activities are impacted by hot flashes, make sure to speak with your gynecologist.
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Keep Calm To Cool Down
A Yoga Nidra meditation can aid the onset of sleep. Once asleep, however, can you mitigate the shock of waking up suddenly in a hot sweat? The fight or flight response is likely in full swing, but the breath can help to lower both anxiety levels and body temperature. A cooling pranayama will beat the heat. Curl the sides of your tongue up and inhale through it like a straw for a count of five. Then close your mouth and exhale through your nose for the same count. If you cant curl your tongue, simply inhale through closed teeth to make a hissing sound. Then exhale through your nose.
How Are Night Sweats Treated
Treatment depends on the cause of the night sweats. For menopause-related night sweats, hormone therapy estrogen alone or with progestin is one option. Hormone therapy can also help with other symptoms of menopause including bone loss and vaginal dryness. Estrogen replacement therapy should not be used in women with a history of breast cancer. All hormone therapies carry some risks, including blood clots and gallbladder inflammation.
Non-estrogen medications used to treat hot flashes include:
Non-drug treatments for night sweats from any cause include:
- Wearing loose-fitting, lightweight, cotton pajamas
- Using layered bedding that can be removed as needed during the night
- Turning on a bedroom fan/opening windows
- Sipping cool water throughout the night
- Keeping a cold pack under a pillow, then turning your pillow over to rest your head on a cool surface
- Avoiding common night sweat triggers such as alcohol, spicy foods, caffeine, cigarettes
- De-stressing through deep breathing, relaxation, and exercise
- Undergoing hypnosis to help relax and focus on feeling cool
- Exercising daily. Walking, swimming, dancing, and bicycling are all good choices.
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Dealing With The Symptoms Of Menopause
You could argue that the physical and mental changes that occur during menopause aren’t really “symptoms.” The term is usually associated with a disease, which menopause is not. Also, it is often hard to say which changes are a direct result of a drop in hormone levels and which are natural consequences of aging. Some of the symptoms overlap or have a cascade effect. For example, vaginal dryness may contribute to a lower sex drive, and frequent nighttime hot flashes may be a factor in insomnia.
Hot flashes and vaginal dryness are the two symptoms most frequently linked with menopause. Other symptoms associated with menopause include sleep disturbances, urinary complaints, sexual dysfunction, mood changes, and quality of life. However, these symptoms don’t consistently correlate with the hormone changes seen with menopause transition.
Menopause And Its Effect On Night Sweats
Menopause is considered to be one of the main triggers of brutal night sweats in ladies above 50 years of age. At the onset of menopause, the ovaries in a womans body would stop ovulating . The absence of ovulation would lead to a significant drop in the estrogen levels in the body.
The hypothalamus is the part of the brain that deals with body temperature regulation. Changes in the estrogen levels can have a profound impact on the hypothalamus which is greatly influenced by these hormones. The sudden dip in the estrogen levels in the body would trick the hypothalamus into thinking that the body is overheating.
As a result, the hypothalamus would send immediate signals to the rest of the body, instructing it to cool down immediately. The body would respond accordingly by immediately triggering the sweat glands and dilating the blood vessels. This in turn would lead to what the individual experiences as sudden intense perspiration which is usually accompanied by some or all of the symptoms mentioned above.
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Effective Ways To Deal With Night Sweats During Menopause
Sadly, medications and treatments would have little or no effect on menopausal night sweats and its symptoms. The best way to control the condition is to opt for natural remedies and practices that would help the individual in question understand about these night sweats better in addition to learning to tackle them more effectively in the progress.
Given below are some of the more common remedies for menopausal night sweats.
Identify the Patterns
Identifying the potential triggers of menopausal night sweats is often half the battle won! Once the triggers are identified, all the individual would need to do is stay away from them until she feels better or until the condition is completely under control.
Maintaining a regular journal would be of great help at this stage as it would help the individual joy down the instances when she experienced night sweats. Jotting down information of what she might have eaten or done the night before could help her narrow down on the possible triggers over a period of time .
Stay Away from Triggers
Once the potential triggers of menopausal night sweats have been identified , the individual would need to take extra measures to avoid them at all costs. Accordingly, some of the most common triggers of menopausal night sweats include spicy foods, caffeinated beverages, alcohol, sugary foods and hot beverages etc. Avoiding these foods to a great extent can help the individual deal with night sweats better.
Reduce Stress Levels
Supplements And Complementary Therapies
There are various alternatives to HRT to ease the symptoms of menopause.
Interest has been shown in the use of melatonin for sleep disturbance, as the ‘sleep hormone’ is influenced by the decline in oestrogen and progesterone at menopause. However, there is uncertainty around the appropriate dose and possible interactions with medications including antidepressants, anticoagulants, and medicines for diabetes.
“While it’s true that the body produces less melatonin with age,” says Savvas, “the evidence that melatonin actually helps with sleep is poor. It can help with jetlag where the circadian rhythm is out of sync, but there’s little evidence of benefit in supplement form for long-term sleep issues or for women at menopause.”
Yoga, acupuncture, massage and meditation have all been shown to have beneficial effects on well-being and may help with relaxation and sleep. A 2017 study demonstrated that almost half of the menopausal women who took part experienced a decrease in vasomotor symptoms, but noted that more research was needed.
There is limited evidence to show that supplements such as magnolia bark, L-theanine, magnesium, 5-HTP and valerian can help induce better sleep – and black cohosh and red clover are purported to reduce night sweats. Phytoestrogens from plants including soya, tofu, chickpeas and nuts also act like a weaker form of oestrogen in the body.
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Night Sweats: How To Help Yourself
There are a number of factors that can make the problem of night sweats worse:
- It is obvious that night sweats are made worse in a warm bedroom. Turn off the central heating, open the window and bring out the lighter duvet.
- Night sweats can be triggered by sudden changes in temperature.
- Avoid hot drinks, caffeine and red wine at night.
- Avoid chocolate, refined or spicy foods.
- Avoid becoming dehydrated by drinking plenty of water.
- Smoking can make night sweats worse.
- Emotional upset and stress increases adrenaline levels, making your sweat glands work harder.
- Using an extract of sage such as sage tablets can provide relief from excessive sweating and night sweats.
Genitourinary Syndromes Of Menopause
A 2015 study revealed that 45%-63% of menopausal women experienced bladder and vaginal symptoms including nocturia , soreness and irritation, and dyspareunia . The decline in oestrogen leads to atrophic changes of the delicate tissues in the bladder and vagina, which can cause sleep disturbance.
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How Long Do Hot Flashes And Night Sweats Last
Hot flash duration varies, and during menopause and perimenopause, some women average one hot flash per day. A long-term study of perimenopausal women published in JAMA Internal Medicine found hot flashes and night sweats can last for years. Known as the Study of Womens Health across the Nation , this deep dive into the expected life expectancy of vasomotor perimenopause and menopause symptoms found the mean duration to be 7.4 years. Thats an awfully long time to have to deal with hot flashes! The sheer longevity of these symptoms, which greatly impact a womans quality of life, deems it necessary to find healthy and effective ways to deal with the long-term discomfort.
Donnas Night Sweats Are Like Being In A Tropical Climate She Has Them Two To Three Times A
I very rarely have them in the day, I usually have them at night, just before going to sleep and its just extraordinary rush of energy, and breaking out in a complete sweat, can sweat right through your night clothes, even into the sheets. I dont actually mind it in a way. I guess if I hadnt known about it I might have found that quite disturbing, but actually my sisters been going through that prior to me so I was quite aware in a way. But in some ways its quite nice because Ive always been a person whos cold in bed at night, now I feel like Ive got my own hot water bottle to keep me warm at night.Did you have to change the bedding and your clothes at night when it happened?Sometimes. Yeah, sometimes. And how did that affect your partner?Hes just kind of curious actually. Yeah, hes asking questions, hes asked me like, What does that feel like? I said I thought it was a bit like having a panic attack, something that happens, that you dont really have any control over.Can you describe it?Its really, I find it really hard to describe but I guess it would be like being in a tropical climate, a kind of clamminess and sweating, and its not, I dont find it particularly unpleasant, actually.How long does it last?Well it comes and goes, its like waves of heat so they might last a few minutes at a time, and then it kind of recedes and then it,How many times a night?For me, two or three.
Coping with hot flushes and night sweats
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