More than three-quarters of all women will experience night sweats during their life. Largely, though, night sweats are considered to only affect those going through menopause. However, like many other menopause symptoms, night sweats can be felt by anybody - even those under 25. While the precise trigger for night sweats remains unclear, research has shown that they are related to hormonal imbalance. This explains why adolescents and men can also experience the phenomenon.
The menopause experience varies from woman to woman, and although rare, it is also not unheard of for ladies to undergo menopause during their mid to late 20s. As in the case of women experiencing menopause in later life, this earlier transition is just as likely to trigger night sweats.
Triggers of Night Sweats
Night sweats are the nocturnal equivalent of hot flashes and can cause women to wake drenched in sweat. These sweaty episodes will vary in severity but are likely to be worsened when a woman is exposed to various triggers. If you are experiencing night sweats under the age of 25, understanding the various triggers is essential to finding effective treatment. These are divided into:
In order to reduce the likelihood of night sweats, women are advised to sweat-proof their environment. Before going to bed, take a cool shower to reduce your body temperature, keep your room at an appropriate temperature, and leave a window open or a fan on to allow for ventilation. When in bed, opt for lightweight cotton pajamas and easily removable blankets instead of heavy duvets. In extreme cases, consider sleeping separately from your partner.
Women who commonly suffer from anxiety are likely to experience more severe night sweats. Stress, anxiety, and relationship strains might also intensify night sweat episodes.
What you consume directly affects the way your body functions. Therefore, certain food and lifestyle habits can actively intensify night sweat episodes. If you are experiencing night sweats, try to avoid spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol, diet pills, smoking, and other drugs.
Although most women will not experience menopause during their 20s, it is still possible. If you are under 25 and experiencing night sweats but still menstruating regularly, speaking to a doctor is advisable. While night sweats are most commonly associated with menopause, they might also be a symptom of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). In rare cases, night sweats could be due to another medical condition, including diabetes, neurological conditions, cancer, sleep apnea, and thyroid disease.
How to Manage Night Sweats
Three generalized approaches exist for managing night sweats. They are as follows: lifestyle changes, natural supplements, and prescription drugs. Follow the link to learn more about night sweats treatments.
- The National Institute of Health. "Signs of the Menopausal Transition" www.nih.gov
- Boston Women's Health Collective. "Hot Flashes, Night Sweats and Sleep Disturbances". Our Bodies, Ourselves, 2006.
- Von Muhlen, DG, et al. "A community-based study of menopause symptoms and estrogen replacement in older women". Maturitas. Sept 1995; 22(2):71-8.