Research On Risks Of Menopause Hormone Therapy
In 2002, a study that was part of the Women’s Health Initiative , funded by NIH, was stopped early because participants who received a certain combination and dosage 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 caused many women to become wary of using hormones.
However, research reported since then found that younger women are 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 postmenopausal. Newer hormone formulations seem to have less risk and may provide benefits that outweigh possible risks for certain women during the menopausal transition. Studies continue to evaluate the benefit, risk, and long-term safety of hormone therapy.
Before taking hormones to treat menopause symptoms, about your medical and family history and any concerns or questions about taking hormones. If hormone therapy is right for you, it should be at the lowest dose, for the shortest period of time it remains effective, and in consultation with a doctor.
When To See A Gp
It’s worth talking to a GP if you have menopausal symptoms that are troubling you or if you’re experiencing symptoms of the menopause before 45 years of age.
They can usually confirm whether you’re menopausal based on your symptoms, but a blood test to measure your hormone levels may be carried out if you’re under 45.
What Are Hot Flashes
Hot flashes can be a pretty unpleasant symptom of perimenopause and menopause. We dont totally understand the cause of hot flashes.
Most people describe a hot flash as a sudden hot feeling that spreads all over your body but mostly the upper body, like your arms, chest, and face. You may also get sweaty, and your fingers may tingle and your heart may beat faster. A typical hot flash usually lasts anywhere from 1 to 5 minutes.
Hot flashes at night are called night sweats. Sometimes they can get so severe that you soak your sheets with sweat.
Hot flashes are super common. More than 3 out of 4 people have them while going through perimenopause and menopause.
Nothing will make hot flashes stop completely, but there are some things you can do to help get some relief. Wearing light, loose clothes, keeping your room cool, drinking cold liquids, and avoiding alcohol and caffeine can help you stay cool.
Prescription hot flash treatments can be helpful, too. Hormone therapy works best to treat hot flashes, but other medicines like SSRIs and SNRIs and clonidine may also help. Research shows that herbs, vitamins, acupuncture, and reflexology dont help with hot flashes.
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Why Are Menopausal Sweats Worse At Night
During the night, hormone levels can swing even more drastically, which sometimes results in much more severe hot flashes that can leave clothes and bedding soaked. Diet caffeine, spicy foods, and alcohol are just a few of the dietary contributing factors that can create more severe hot flashes at night.
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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What Makes My Hot Flashes Worse
Though your changing hormones may be the only cause of hot flashes, several lifestyle factors come into play. Things like increased stress and anxiety, excess weight gain, and underlying health issues can increase the length and intensity of hot flashes.
But you can adopt several healthy habits to help control and even prevent hot flashes. Heres what we suggest:
Maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight increases your likelihood of experiencing hot flashes and night sweats during perimenopause and menopause. Talk with your healthcare provider if you feel you carry excess weight.
Stay cool in bed. When you sleep, your body temperature drops. The heat you lose gets trapped inside your bedding. Switch to breathable bedding and lightweight pajamas. Also, keep your room temperature around 67-degrees.
Dump bad habits. Smoking, excess alcohol consumption and processed foods can cause an increase in hot flashes. Increase your produce intake, swap out alcohol for hot tea and water, and talk with your doctor about smoking cessation if you need to quit smoking.
Move daily. Staying active during the day helps you regulate your body temperature. Daily exercise looks different for everyone, so choose an activity that suits you best.
Joylux offers a variety of resources for maintaining menopausal wellness in women – check out our blog to find more educational articles & tips for easing into a new stage of life, or take our menopause quiz to find out what stage of menopause you may be in.
What Do Night Sweats Feel Like
You might wake up when youre about to have a night sweat caused by the menopause, also known as a menopause sweat this is actually a night-time hot flush. Or it might be the sensation of being sweaty that wakes you. Some people wake up drenched in sweat, on soaked sheets.
As for how long menopause sweats last, most people stop having them after a couple of years. However, for a small number of people they may continue for the long term.
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Ways To Manage Menopausal Night Sweats
Hot flashes and night sweats are some of the most common and intense symptoms of menopause. More than two-thirds of women get them during perimenopause and menopause.
If youve ever had a hot flash, you know what it feels like. Your face, neck, and chest suddenly flush. You feel overheated and sweaty, and your heart might start racing.
And if you get hot flashes during the day, chances are good that you get night sweats too. Night sweats are hot flashes that happen while youre trying to sleep. They can be so severe that they wake you up and keep you from getting restful sleep.
Hormonal changes are often to blame for hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. You cant change the process your body goes through during menopause, but theres a lot you can do to manage your symptoms.
Daniel McDonald, MD, , and our team at OB/GYN Specialists in Denton, Texas, provide comprehensive menopause care and hormonal optimization for women. If night sweats are keeping you awake, its time to find treatment options that work.
How You Might Be Making Your Hot Flashes Worse
Hot flashes and night sweats are an aggravating daily occurrence for some 75% of menopausal women, probably including you. There are a surprising number of things you might be doing in your daily life to bring on hot flashes more frequently or make them more intense. At the same time, looking into natural menopause treatments can help bring your body into a better balance and reduce the likelihood of hot flashes even more.
Basically, anything that raises your bodys core temperature can make hot flashes or night sweats more numerous or more intense. Heres some examples.
Overexercising: While daily exercise can help keep many menopausal symptoms at bay, for many women going through perimenopause or menopause, a light workout from a low-impact routine like swimming or walking is more than enough. Heavy exercise can raise your core temperature, bringing on more hot flashes.
Hot baths: As relaxing as they can be, hot showers or baths can be particularly troublesome right before bed.
Drinking alcohol: The recommendation is to keep your daily intake at one drink or less, as women who drink alcohol are more likely to suffer from hot flashes than those who limit themselves to one drink per day or none.
Eating spicy foods: Its no surprise that hot food can bring on hot flashes. Many people men and women alike experience a temporary rise in body temperature after eating a spicy meal. But it can actually trigger hot flashes and night sweats in menopausal women.
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What Is Good For Hot Flashes At Night
- Keep the room cool: Put a fan in your bedroom or leave windows open to keep your temperature down.
- Wear natural fibers: Make sure that you wear a cotton rather than synthetic nightie or pyjamas to bed.
- Natural fibers are more breathable than synthetic alternatives, helping to keep you cooler as you sleep.
- Know your triggers: Spicy foods, caffeinated drinks , and alcohol are all known to be triggers for hot sweats during the menopause. Try cutting these out before bed to see if it reduces the frequency or severity of your hot sweats.
- Opt for natural sheets: Just as cotton pyjamas are better than polyester when it comes to keeping you cool, 100% cotton sheets duvet covers are more effective than synthetic alternatives. From sheets to duvet covers and pillowcases, aim for an all-natural sleep environment.
- Avoid memory foam: Memory foam relies on your body heat to make it work a nightmare if you want to keep cool! Weve put together some advice on improving your sleep quality if youve already got a memory foam mattress.
- Choose light bedding: Ditch heavy bedding in favour of a lighter, thinner duvet. Feeling the chill? Add a wool blanket on top which can be easily tossed aside when you get a little warmer.
- Sleep with wool bedding: There is surprisingly little said about this simple but effective solution wool is a highly effective natural fibre when it comes to keeping you cool and absorbing moisture.
Does This Mean Hormone Therapy Can Affect Your Headaches
Your doctor may prescribe some form of hormone replacement therapy to treat hot flashes or other symptoms related to menopause. How this treatment affects your headaches will be unique to you. It could help your migraines, or it could make them worse.
If youve noticed worsening headaches and are on HRT, you should tell your doctor. They may want you to try an estrogen skin patch instead. Estrogen patches may be less likely than other forms of HRT to trigger headaches. Your doctor may also suggest other treatment options.
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The Benefits Of Progesterone
It turns out that estrogen withdrawal leads to hot flashes and night sweats. In other words, the brain gets used to higher estrogen levels and reacts to the decrease by releasing the stress hormone norepinephrine, which causes altered temperature responses.
Although progesterone has not been tested in a large controlled trial, progesterone also doesnt seem to cause the blood clots, heart disease or breast cancer associated with estrogen or estrogen-progestin menopausal hormone therapy.
In our randomized trial of progesterone or placebo for the treatment of vasomotor symptoms we also measured changes in weight, blood pressure, waist size, fasting glucose, blood lipids, a marker of inflammation and one of blood-clot risks. The changes with progesterone did not differ from changes on placebo, meaning that it had neither positive or negative effects on these factors.
Tips For Sleeping Better With Menopause
If you are experiencing sleep issues related to menopause, consult your doctor. They know your personal medical history and can recommend appropriate treatment options, including medications and lifestyle changes that may improve your sleep. The following sleep tips may also help.
Sleep issues are a common experience of menopause, but there are many options for relieving them. If your sleep issues persist, seek out a therapist trained in CBT who has experience working with menopausal women.
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Dealing With Hot Flashes
Hot flashes can be a nuisance, but there are several lifestyle changes that may be helpful in dealing with or preventing them.
- Keep the house cool and avoid overly warm environments.
- Dress in light, loose, layered clothing.
- Stay hydrated by sipping cold water.
- Carry a portable fan.
- Avoid alcohol, spicy foods, and caffeine in excess.
- If you smoke, make a plan to quit.
Tips For Improving Sleep Long Term
- Go to bed and get up at a regular time. Routine is very important for establishing a good sleep pattern. Establishing and sticking to set times may take a few weeks so bear that in mind
- Ideally avoid having a nap in the day. If you do, make it no more than 30-40 minutes in the early afternoon
- Exercise regularly but dont overdo it within two hours of going to bed
- Get to know what sleep you need. The average is 6-8 hours but this does vary for individuals and reduces as you age
- Other factors can of course interfere with sleep including physical symptoms, other than those associated with the menopause. If you are taking medication for other reasons ensure you take them at the time of day they are prescribed for.
Before going to bed:
- Get yourself into a routine, perhaps have a warm bath or do some light reading
- Avoid going to bed when youre too hungry or too full. A light snack is OK
- Have your last caffeine drink in the late afternoon/evening, including any fizzy drinksor chocolate
- Alcohol does not help you to sleep so best avoided if you can.
- Ensure your bedroom has a restful feel. Ideally the room should be cool but not coldand screen out as much noise and light as is practical for you
- Get comfy! Good bedding and a good mattress are essentials
- Use your bedroom just for sleep and sex!
- Avoid watching TV in bed or using your laptop and/or phone.
If you wake up in the night:
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Treatments For Menopausal Symptoms
Your GP can offer treatments and suggest lifestyle changes if you have severe menopausal symptoms that interfere with your day-to-day life.
- hormone replacement therapy tablets, skin patches, gels and implants that relieve menopausal symptoms by replacing oestrogen
- vaginal oestrogen creams, lubricants or moisturisers for vaginal dryness
- cognitive behavioural therapy a type of talking therapy that can help with low mood and anxiety
- eating a healthy, balanced diet and exercising regularly maintaining a healthy weight and staying fit and strong can improve some menopausal symptoms
Your GP may refer you to a menopause specialist if your symptoms do not improve after trying treatment or if you’re unable to take HRT.
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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