What Are The Risks Of Using Hormones For Hot Flashes
In 2002, a study that was part of the Women’s Health Initiative , funded by the National Institutes of Health, was stopped early because participants who received a certain kind of estrogen with progesterone were found to have a significantly higher risk of stroke, heart attacks, breast cancer, dementia, urinary incontinence, and gallbladder disease.
This study raised significant concerns at the time and left many women wary of using hormones.
However, research reported since then found that younger women may be at less risk and have more potential benefits than was suggested by the WHI study. The negative effects of the WHI hormone treatments mostly affected women who were over age 60 and post-menopausal. Newer versions of treatments developed since 2002 may reduce the risks of using hormones for women experiencing the menopausal transition, but studies are needed to evaluate the long-term safety of these newer treatments.
If you use hormone therapy, it should be at the lowest dose, for the shortest period of time it remains effective, and in consultation with a doctor. Talk with your doctor about your medical and family history and any concerns or questions about taking hormones.
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.
Causes Of Night Sweats
Night sweats and their daytime counterpart, hot flashes, are caused by fluctuating levels of estrogen. Estrogen levels change dramatically during the years surrounding menopause and can cause the temperature regulator in the brain, the hypothalamus, to behave just as erratically. When estrogen levels fluctuate, the hypothalamus is misled into believing that the body’s internal temperature is too hot, causing the body to sweat in an attempt to cool down.
Certain foods and habits can trigger night sweats or make them worse, including the following:
- Warm rooms
- Excessive consumption of caffeine, sugar, and alcohol
- Heavy, thick bedding
- Heavy pajamas made of synthetic fabrics
In rare cases, night sweats can also be caused by certain medications, infections, and even cancer. It may be a good idea to check with your doctor about the side effects of your medications or any underlying conditions.
Recommended Reading: Light Headedness And Menopause
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.
Try Hormone Replacement Therapy
Some women find that lifestyle changes are enough to make their night sweats manageable. But if your symptoms are severe and theyre affecting your quality of life, hormone replacement therapy could be a treatment option for you.
Dr. Coppa offers hormone therapy to balance hormone levels and reduce menopausal symptoms. Your hormone therapy plan is tailored to your needs, and our team performs a comprehensive exam and reviews your symptoms before recommending treatment.
Hormone replacement therapy is available in a variety of forms, from oral tablets to topical creams. While this therapy can relieve night sweats, it can also be a good treatment option for other bothersome menopause symptoms like vaginal dryness and mood swings.
You dont have to go through menopause without support. Partner with Dr. Coppa and our team to find relief from night sweats and hot flashes. Contact the office nearest you. We have locations in Providence, Cranston, and Smithfield, Rhode Island.
You Might Also Enjoy…
World Menopause Day: How To Cope With Hot Flushes And Night Sweats Advice From The Menopausal
Today is World Menopause Day a day aimed at raising awareness of menopause and of options available for improving health and wellbeing. The symptoms of menopause and perimenopause can feel pretty foul at times.
Today is World Menopause Day a day aimed at raising awareness of menopause and of options available for improving health and wellbeing.
The symptoms of menopause and perimenopause can feel pretty foul at times.
Heather, who is 52 and perimenopausal, tells us: When I was working in Boots, I would have to go in the chiller, lean with my hands on the cold metal wall, and stay there until I broke out in goosebumps.
If I came out too soon, the hot flush would start over again.
Unfortunately, hot flushes are something that dont disappear with time for everyone, so many will have to learn to live with them for the long haul.
Dr Deborah Lee, of the Dr Fox Online Pharmacy, tells Metro.co.uk: Many of my friends still have them.
Although hot flushes are most common around the age of 50 the most common time for menopause and usually eventually stop, this is not always the case. 5% of women have hot flushes for life.
My neighbour in her 80s and still has them. She calls them Caribbean experiences.
In the event that you dont have a huge freezer that you can safely stand in, here are some tips from experts and people going through the menopause themselves on how you can feel better when hot flushes and night sweats strike.
Hot Flashes: What Can I Do
Hot flashes, a common symptom of the menopausal transition, are uncomfortable and can last for many years. When they happen at night, hot flashes are called night sweats. Some women find that hot flashes interrupt their daily lives. The earlier in life hot flashes begin, the longer you may experience them. Research has found that African American and Hispanic women get hot flashes for more years than white and Asian women.
You may decide you don’t need to change your lifestyle or investigate treatment options because your symptoms are mild. But, if you are bothered by hot flashes, there are some steps you can take. Try to take note of what triggers your hot flashes and how much they bother you. This can help you make better decisions about managing your symptoms.
You May Like: Dr Yael Swica
What Can I Do To Prevent Night Sweats
Breathe deeply: According to the National Institutes of Health , slow, rhythmic and patterned breathing helps with hot flashes and night sweats.
Try to keep your bedroom cool: Try to keep a fan by your bed or sleep with lightweight sheets anything to keep the temperature down and the air circulating so you can relax at night.
Exercise during the day: Exercising during the day can decrease stress as well as help you sleep better at night.
Click on this link to read more prevention tips on hot flashes Natural Remedies for Hot Flashes.
Treating Hot Flashes And Night Sweats In Perimenopause
Perimenopause is the transitional time leading up to menopause, which occurs on average at 51.5 years of age. During this time, fluctuations in hormones can cause symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, difficulty concentrating, irritability and memory changes.
Some women may have no symptoms, says Dr. Yolanda Kirkham, a gynecologist at Womens College Hospital. It may be very transient, very tolerable, and not need treatment. But for other women it can be quite disruptive to their quality of life, or last several years.
Hot flashes and night sweats are called vasomotor symptoms. Risk factors for developing these symptoms include:
- being physically inactive
- having a body mass index over 30
- smoking cigarettes
- experiencing stress
Healthy lifestyle changes such as improving diet, becoming more active and not smoking can be challenging, but they can help with vasomotor symptoms.
For example, in perimenopausal women who are overweight, losing just 10 per cent of their body weight can also help decrease hot flashes, Dr. Kirkham says.
Smaller, more immediate changes that may help manage hot flashes include wearing layered clothing, carrying a fan, and using products such as cooling pillows.
Vasomotor symptoms, along with other symptoms of menopause such as vaginal dryness, are caused by hormonal changes that occur as the ovaries decrease their production of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone.
Risks and benefits
Read Also: Sweet Potato Menopause
The Medications You’re Taking
“Some medications can affect the parts of your brain that control your body temperature or your sweat glands,” explains Dr. Ram. “This means these medications can also induce night sweats.”
The types of medications associated with night sweats include:
- Hypoglycemia medications
“Talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing night sweats as a result of a drug you’re taking for another health condition,” Dr. Ram advises. “In some cases, your doctor may be able to prescribe an alternative version of the drug.”
What Causes Hot Flashes And Night Sweats
The short answer to this question is hormones. Yes, its those pesky hormones that fluctuate and change throughout a womans life that make perimenopause and menopause truly challenging times.
When you enter the perimenopausal years, your body produces less estrogen and progesterone than it used to. The years leading up to menopause are characterized by a gradual decline in the many kinds of hormones our ovaries produce to sustain fertility, reproductive health, and other bodily functions.
Don’t Miss: Early Menopause After Tubal Ligation
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?
Will I Have Hot Flashes As I Approach Menopause
Hot flashes are one of the most common signs of perimenopause, the years leading up to menopause. Menopause, when your period stops for good, typically happens between age 45 and 55.
Some women experience the heat and flushing of hot flashes without sweating, while others sweat so much they need a change of clothes. When hot flashes happen at night, leaving you and your sheets drenched, theyâre called night sweats.
For about 75% of women, hot flashes and night sweats are a fact of life during perimenopause and menopause. A lucky minority wonât experience them at all. Some women will experience only mild hot flashes.
But for 25% – 30% of women, hot flashes and night sweats will be severe enough to interfere with quality of life, says Valerie Omicioli, MD, clinical assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive science and a certified menopause practitioner at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.
A single hot flash can last anywhere from one to five minutes and may occur a few times a week for some women or daily for others. When hot flashes are severe, they may strike four or five times an hour or 20 to 30 times a day, Omicioli says.
Don’t Miss: Menopause And Dizzy Spells
You’re Going Through Menopause
You’ve heard of hot flashes, right? Well, menopause also comes with night sweats.
“About 75% of perimenopausal women report having night sweats,” says Dr. Ram. “The frequency typically peaks in the first few years following menopause and then declines over time.”
Dr. Ram’s tips for reducing menopausal night sweats:
- Avoid triggers. Things like alcohol, spicy foods, caffeine and smoking can be sweating triggers.
- Keep your bedroom cool and sleepwear light. Adjust the thermostat, use fans, open windows , wear breathable pajamas and use lightweight bedding.
- Cool yourself down. If you wake up in a sweat, uncover your feet and neck, drink a glass of cold water, place a cool washcloth on your head or run cold water over your wrists.
- Consider lifestyle adjustments. Watching your weight and limiting stress can reduce the frequency or severity of night sweats.
“Talk to your doctor if the above home remedies don’t help limit the amount you’re sweating at night during or after menopause,” says Dr. Ram. “There are some medications that can be prescribed to reduce night sweats.”
Night Sweats In Women And How To Stop Them
Night sweats in women can be caused by everyday factors such as stress, diet, illness, or hot temperatures. A longer list on the causes of night sweats can be found here.
Some simple changes that could make a difference include:
- Avoid hot food and drink. Hot drinks and spicy food can cause what is known as gustatory sweating. Avoiding these triggers, especially before bed, could help reduce night sweats.
- Stay hydrated. This will help flush out any possible triggers, such as alcohol, caffeine or spicy food, consumed during the day.
- Keep cool. Wearing light, breathable bedclothes and using a thin sheet instead of a heavy duvet will help keep you cool. Try opening the window or use a fan to increase the circulation of cool air.
- Apply antiperspirant. Have a cold shower before bed and apply an antiperspirant. For the best protection, use a clinical-strength antiperspirant that has extra-effective protection against sweating, such as DegreeÂ® Clinical Protection. It works with your bodyâs chemistry to form a deep protection against sweating and odour, so you can wake up feeling clean, fresh and ready to take on the day.
Also Check: Intrarosa Pros And Cons
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.
How To Prevent Night Sweats In Women
We normally associate sweating with a challenging gym session or a stressful day in the office, but sometimes we sweat when we least expect it â like when weâre fast asleep. This is known as nocturnal hyperhidrosis, or ânight sweatsâ. Women are likely to experience night sweats at some point during their lives, and although it can feel uncomfortable, itâs usually nothing to worry about.
Whether you want to find out how to prevent night sweats when pregnant, during the menopause, or just generally, this article outlines some tips and tricks that will help you get a comfortable, dry nightâs sleep.
Don’t Miss: Perimenopause Dizzy Spells
How To Prevent Night Sweats When Pregnant
Night sweats in women are common during pregnancy. Hormones and blood flow will change constantly throughout pregnancy, and your body may respond to this by sweating more to cool you down.
Many pregnant women find they have a restless nightâs sleep, but you can at least keep your underarms dry! Try using an antiperspirant before bed that will last the full night . DegreeÂ® Antiperspirant sticks are formulated with MotionSenseÂ® technology, so as you toss and turn in the night, or get up to go to use the toilet, the microcapsules will release a burst of refreshing protection against odour, so you can go back to sleep feeling fresh and comfortable.
What Can I Do About Hot Flashes
Hot flashes occur from a decrease in estrogen levels. In response to this, your glands release higher amounts of other hormones that affect the brain’s thermostat, causing your body temperature to fluctuate. Hormone therapy has been shown to relieve some of the discomfort of hot flashes for many women. However, the decision to start using these hormones should be made only after you and your healthcare provider have evaluated your risk versus benefit ratio.
To learn more about women’s health, and specifically hormone therapy, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health launched the Women’s Health Initiative in 1991. The hormone trial had 2 studies: the estrogen-plus-progestin study of women with a uterus and the estrogen-alone study of women without a uterus. Both studies ended early when the research showed that hormone therapy did not help prevent heart disease and it increased risk for some medical problems. Follow-up studies found an increased risk of heart disease in women who took estrogen-plus-progestin therapy, especially those who started hormone therapy more than 10 years after menopause.
The WHI recommends that women follow the FDA advice on hormone therapy. It states that hormone therapy should not be taken to prevent heart disease.
Practical suggestions for coping with hot flashes include:
Recommended Reading: Dizziness During Menopause