Soy And Other Plant Sources For Menopause Symptoms
Isoflavones are chemical compounds found in soy and other plants that are phytoestrogens, or plant-derived estrogens. They have a chemical structure that is similar to the estrogens naturally produced by the body, but their effectiveness as an estrogen has been determined to be much lower than true estrogens.
Some studies have shown that these compounds may help relieve hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause. In particular, women who have had breast cancer and do not want to take hormone therapy with estrogen sometimes use soy products for relief of menopausal symptoms. However, some phytoestrogens can actually have anti-estrogenic properties in certain situations, and the overall risks of these preparations have not yet been determined.
There is also a perception among many women that plant estrogens are ânaturalâ and therefore safer than hormone therapy, but this has never been proven scientifically. Further research is needed to fully characterize the safety and potential risks of phytoestrogens.
Tips To Reduce Night Sweats
Although many health conditions may cause night sweats, treating the condition often relieves the symptom. However, not all night sweats are caused by an underlying condition, and the results of treatments are not always immediate. In addition to any medical treatments suggested by your doctor, other ways of relieving night sweats include:
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What Can Cause Night Sweatsbesides Menopause
While its easy to chalk up night sweats to the change if youre in your late 30s or 40s, its best not to assume thats the only possible reason, says Arianna Sholes-Douglas, M.D., a gynecologist in Tucson and the author of The Menopause Myth. I have so many patients who think night sweats are no big deal, she says. Even I brushed them off when they happened to me in my late 30s. But even if you are in perimenopause, theres a chance your night sweats are a sign that something else is going on.
From the benign to the more serious, here are some of the most common reasons for night sweats outside of perimenopauses estrogen nosedive:
When you spike a fever, its a sign that your immune system is hard at work reacting to some sort of bacterial or viral infection. The chills that often come along with fever are a result of muscle contraction and relaxation, which raises the bodys core temperature. When that core temp gets too high, sweating is your bodys genius way of trying to bring it back down to the normal range.
Stress and anxiety
Your thyroid gland is another area involved in body temperature. Thats because your thyroid hormone regulates heat production, says Dr. Streicher. While an underproduction of thyroid hormone will likely make you feel cold all the time, producing too much thyroid hormone often causes sensitivity to heat and excessive sweatingincluding night sweats.
Food or drink
Medication side effects
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Causes Of Night Sweats
Doctors often hear their patients complain of night sweats. Night sweats refer to excess sweating during the night. But if your bedroom is unusually hot or you are wearing too many bedclothes, you may sweat during sleep, and this is normal. True night sweats are severe hot flashes occurring at night that can drench your clothes and sheets and that are not related to an overheated environment.
It is important to note that flushing may be hard to distinguish from true night sweats.
There are many different causes of night sweats. To find the cause, a doctor must get a detailed medical history and order tests to decide what medical condition is responsible for the night sweats. Some of the known conditions that can cause night sweats are:
What To Expect At Your Doctors Appointment
If youve only had an episode or two of night sweats, you probably dont need to see your doctor. Environmental or lifestyle factors are likely causes. You should see your doctor if night sweats occur regularly and disrupt your sleeping habits. You should consult your doctor if you experience fevers, unexplained weight loss, or other symptoms.
When you call to make your appointment, your doctor may ask you to keep a medical diary in the coming days. You should use this diary to track your symptoms. Each time you have a night sweat, be sure to note what you were doing that day, the temperature in your bedroom, and what you ate or drank before going to bed.
At your appointment, your doctor will review your medical history and assess your symptoms. Your doctor may order blood tests to check your thyroid levels, blood sugar levels, and blood cell counts. The results can help them confirm a suspected diagnosis or help rule out an underlying condition.
If you think your night sweats may be a sign of cancer, discuss this with your doctor. Follow these tips to help you have a successful conversation with your doctor:
- Write down a list of questions or concerns you have ahead of time and bring it to your appointment.
- Bring a family member or friend with you for support.
- Take notes during your appointment to help you remember your doctors recommendations.
- If you dont understand something, ask your doctor to repeat it.
- Ask your doctor if you can record your conversation.
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Can Menopause Affect My Sex Drive
Yes, menopause can affect your sex drive but it doesnt mean your sex life is over.
Dealing with the physical and emotional symptoms of menopause can make you feel less sexual desire. The symptoms can also affect your sleep and lower your energy which might make you not so into sex. Vaginal dryness and decreased sensation can also feel like a turn-off. Its also normal to feel a range of emotions, including anxiety, sadness, or loss while going through menopause.
If you lose interest in sex during this time, itll probably come back when your symptoms stop.
A pretty common symptom that can affect your sexual desire is vaginal dryness, which can make sex uncomfortable or even painful.
For symptoms that affect your sex life, trying one or more of these things can help:
Use water- or silicone-based lube when you have sex. You can buy lube at most drugstores or online.
Give your yourself more time to feel aroused. Moisture from being aroused protects sensitive tissues.
Have sex and/or masturbate more often. This increases blood flow to your vagina, which helps keep your vaginal tissue healthy.
Some people may actually find that they want to have sex MORE after menopause, because they dont have to worry about getting pregnant. This may give you a sense of freedom to enjoy a renewed and exciting sex life.
Menopause is a natural biological process. And while it marks the end of your ability to get pregnant, it definitely doesnt have to be the end of your sexuality.
You Have Hyperhidrosis An Excessive Sweating Disorder
Yes, thats a thing, and according to the American Academy of Dermatology , it essentially happens when a person sweats more than necessary .
One big difference between hyperhidrosis and run-of-the-mill sweating: Hyperhidrosis typically affects specific body parts, per the AAD, like your palms, feet, underarms, and head. Keep in mind though, this is excessive sweatingthe AAD describes hyperhidrosis as excessive sweating that interferes with daily activities in those who have it.
If you think you have hyperhidrosis, talk to your dermatologistthey can prescribe specific deodorants or other methods of treatment, like Botox injections to block sweat glands, per the AAD.
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What Causes Hot Flashes At Night
There are many reasons for having hot flashes at night including hormone fluctuations, a hot sleeping environment, an infection, or the food or prescription medications recently consumed.
While less common, having hot flashes at night can be a symptom of certain cancers, like lymphoma.
There are also normal body temperature variations that happen while sleeping, which can lead to excessive sweating and feeling hot overnight.
Other Drugs May Be Useful In Some Patients
Studies of non-estrogen drugs to treat hot flashes in women with a history of breast cancer have reported that many of them do not work as well as estrogen replacement or haveside effects. Megestrol and medroxyprogesterone , certain antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and clonidine are non-estrogen drugs used to control hot flashes.
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What Can You Do
Stay cool. At night, a “chill pillow” filled with water or other cooling material might help. Use fans during the day. Wear lightweight, looser-fitting clothes made with natural fibers such as cotton.
Try deep, slow abdominal breathing . Practice deep breathing for 15 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes in the evening, and when a hot flash starts.
Plant estrogens, found in soy products, may have weak estrogen-like effects that could cut hot flashes. Doctors recommend you get your soy from foods like tofu and edamame rather than supplements. Some studies suggest black cohosh may be helpful for 6 months or less. Botanicals and herbs may have side effects or change how other medications work, so ask your doctor first.
When To Talk To Your Doctor
Night sweats can be uncomfortable and sometimes frightening. Not all night sweats are caused by an underlying condition, but you should speak to your doctor about new or unusual night sweats, or night sweats that occur regularly and do not respond to lifestyle changes. Your doctor can take steps to diagnose any underlying health condition and ensure you receive appropriate treatment.
Other symptoms that merit a visit to your doctor if they occur with night sweats include:
- Weight loss without changing your diet or exercising more
- Unexplained fever
- Mood changes
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Side Effects From Drug Therapy For Hot Flashes And Night Sweats May Develop
Side effects of non-hormonal drug therapy may include the following:
- Antidepressants used to treat hot flashes over a short period of time may cause nausea, fatigue, dry mouth, and changes in appetite. Some antidepressants may change how other drugs, such as tamoxifen, work in the body.
- Anticonvulsants used to treat hot flashes may cause fatigue, dizziness, and trouble concentrating.
- Clonidine may cause dry mouth, fatigue, constipation, and insomnia.
Side effects from drug therapy may vary from person to person, so treatment and dose will be specific to your needs. If one medicine does not improve your symptoms, switching to another medicine may help.
Chills Or Hot Flashes
Many people also report experiencing thermal sensations, including chills or hot flashes, during a panic attack. The physiological mechanisms behind this are not totally understood, although one theory is that this is also a result of the fight-or-flight response.
Although hot flashes are included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, or DSM-5, as symptoms of a panic attack, research shows that sometimes panic can actually be a response to a hot flash.
This may be the case for people who are in menopause, when hot flashes are often a result of hormone disruptions. Experiencing a sudden hot flash is uncomfortable and frightening, and may actually trigger a panic attack on its own.
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Alternative And Complementary Menopause Treatments
Some studies have found that soy products relieve hot flashes, but researchers are still looking into it. There arenât many large studies on whether other supplements such as black cohosh or âbioidenticalâ hormones work for menopause symptoms. Talk to your doctor before starting any herbal or dietary supplements.
Yoga, tai chi, and acupuncture are safer ways to manage menopause symptoms.
Causes Of Night Sweats And Hot Flashes
Imagine you have just drifted off to sleep and you are having a wonderful dream when all of the sudden you wake up overheated and drenched in sweat. What a way to wake up, right? Unfortunately, millions of men and women experience night sweats on a regular basis. This condition is more common amongst women. And while your night sweats could be caused by your bedroom temperature being too warm, they could also signal an underlying medical condition that should be checked out by your integrative health provider.
It is important to understand that what appears to be a night sweat could instead be termed a hot flash. So how do you know the difference? First, hot flashes typically begin with a heat sensation emanating from the neck, chest, or abdomen. The skin becomes visibly red and feels warm to touch. Hot flashes can last from three minutes to thirty minutes. Afterwards, a person may experience sweating as well. Hot flashes occur day or night but are most common during the night.
Conversely, night sweats are defined as excess perspiration that occur specifically during sleep. Sufferers often wake up drenched or soaked in perspiration and may find the need to change clothes or even their sheets.
The National Institutes of Health reports that 33 percent of individuals report night sweats. Furthermore, 16 percent of these individuals state their night sweats are so severe to soak their bedclothes.
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What Are The Risks Of Using Hormones For Hot Flashes
In 2002, a study that was part of the Womenâs 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.
Using Hormones To Treat Hot Flashes And Night Sweats
Some women may choose to take hormones to treat their hot flashes or night sweats. A hormone is a chemical substance made by an organ like the thyroid gland or ovary. During the menopausal transition, the ovaries begin to work less effectively, and the production of hormones like estrogen and progesterone declines over time. It is believed that such changes cause hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.
Hormone therapy steadies the levels of estrogen and progesterone in the body. It is a very effective treatment for hot flashes in women who are able to use it. They can also help with , , and maintaining bone density.
Hormone treatments can take the form of pills, patches, rings, implants, gels, or creams. Patches, which stick to the skin, may be best for women with cardiac risk factors, such as a family history of heart disease.
There are risks associated with taking hormones, including increased risk of , , blood clots, breast cancer, gallbladder disease, and . Women are encouraged to discuss the risks with their health care provider. The risks vary by a woman’s age and whether she has had a hysterectomy. Women who still have a uterus would take estrogen combined with progesterone or another therapy to protect the uterus. Progesterone is added to estrogen to protect the uterus against cancer, but it also seems to increase the risk of blood clots and stroke.
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What Are Night Sweats
Night sweats are drenching sweats that soak clothes and bedding and disturb sleep. Night sweats occur when blood vessels expand, causing increased blood flow, and then contract. This causes a sudden wave of heat that spreads throughout the body, followed by sweating, reddening of the skin, and rapid heartbeat. Often, the night sweat is followed by a cold chill.
On A Bad Night Christina Wakes Up Drenched And Has To Get Up And Wash Before Trying To Get Back
The night sweats are terrible. It doesnt matter whether I go to bed with nothing on and I sleep on my own, and I will still wake up absolutely drenched. And I can have a sheet over me and that will be wringing wet in the morning as well so its like having to go to sleep with towels. And I dont have a plastic cover on my mattress because that tends to aggravate the situation so its just me having towels underneath me so you wake up with marks all over your back and everything else. But, even just going with no sheet you still have the sweats.So this is even in winter you are sleeping with a sheet.Yeah. Windows open and everything else so just trying to calm that down.And how many times would you be woken up at night?On a bad night at least three or four times and then having to go and get washed and try and dry off and everything else and change everything and then try and get back to sleep again.So you actually change your clothing and your bedding do you?Yeah, if Im wearing like a cotton nightie. That all has to come off. The towels that are on top of the sheets have to come off and be changed again. And then I go to the other side of the bed and try and make sure that youre sleeping on a dry patch. I mean Im quite lucky because I am on my own and I dont have to disturb anybody.
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