You may have thought you were the only person to ask if you can get night sweats during the day, but you are not alone. Night sweats and hot flashes felt during menopause are very similar. Everyone's body works a little differently, so it may be normal that you are experiencing menopausal symptoms at different times.
What Is a Night Sweat?
Night sweats, medically termed sleep hyperhidrosis, are episodes of nighttime sweating that can range from mild to severe. Hot flashes affect menopausal women, but are symptoms of a wide range of medical conditions including sleep apnea, diabetes, hormones disorders, and some infections and cancers. Oftentimes, night sweats can be so intense that they interrupt a woman's sleep, and as a result, can cause her to become fatigued, which can affect many aspects of her daily life.
Common symptoms of night sweats include sudden and intense bursts of heat, an irregular heartbeat, nausea, flushing, chills, and headaches. The reason women experience these intense night sweats and other menopausal symptoms is because of the fluctuating levels of estrogen in their bodies.
What Is a Hot Flash?
Hot flashes are one of the most common symptoms experienced by menopausal women. In fact, approximately half of all perimenopausal women and approximately 75% of menopausal women experience hot flashes. The onset, duration, frequency, and severity of hot flashes varies greatly among women. However, hot flashes often begin one or two years before a woman's last period, and can last anywhere from six months to fifteen years. Hot flashes, like night sweats, are caused by a hormonal imbalance.
Hot flashes and night sweats are scientifically referred to as vasomotor symptoms. However, more research needs to be done to pinpoint exactly what causes these symptoms in menopausal women. Right now we know that hot flashes and night sweats are correlated to declining levels of estrogen. Declining levels of estrogen may impact the neurotransmitters that are sent to the hypothalamus. This is the part of the brain that regulates temperature.
Am I Having Night Sweats during the Day?
Usually if a person gets a night sweat during the day it is called a day sweat, so you may be experiencing hot flashes because excessive perspiration is also a symptom of hot flashes. However, regularly day sweats are not a common symptom of menopause, so if you feel like your symptoms are indicative of another condition it is important to consult a doctor.
These symptoms do not have to be tied to menopause, there are different lifestyle changes, medical supplements, and prescription medicines like estrogen therapy available to treat them. Keep reading to learn more about treatments for night sweats.
- National Health Service. (2014). Night Sweats. Retrieved from http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/night-sweats/Pages/Introduction.aspx
- American Osteopathic Society. (2015). Don't lose sleep over night sweats. Retrieved from http://www.osteopathic.org/osteopathic-health/about-your-health/health-conditions-library/general-health/Pages/night-sweats.aspx
- Bachmann G.A. (2005). Menopausal vasomotor symptoms: a review of causes, effects and evidence-based treatment options. [Abstract]. The Journal of Reproductive Medicines, 50(3), 155-165.