Night sweats is the term used to describe excessive sweating experienced during the night. They can be caused by several medical conditions, but are most commonly experienced by menopausal women.
When you are going through the menopause transition, your hormone levels decrease and can trigger several unpleasant symptoms, including night sweats. Night sweats are not only uncomfortable, but they can lead to subsequent problems such as insomnia, irritability, and higher stress levels. The following is a list of questions that can help you determine whether or not your night sweats are the result of menopause.
Do You Wake up in the Middle of the Night Drenched in Sweat?
As the name indicates, night sweats mean you sweat profusely during the night, oftentimes while you are sleeping. The average age of a menopausal woman is 51. However, symptoms can manifest as early as ten years prior. Try wearing pajamas made from a breathable material like cotton or other natural fibers.
Do You Suffer from Any Other Medical Problem?
Menopause is not the only cause of night sweats. Night sweats can also be caused by HIV/AIDs, certain types of cancer, endocarditis, stroke, hypoglycemia, and tuberculosis. If you do not have any of these conditions, then you may be entering the menopausal transition. There are several treatments that can help improve the hormone imbalance that causes night sweats during menopause.
Are You Under a Lot of Stress or Suffer from Anxiety?
Menopause causes chemical imbalances which can lead to stress. Stress can trigger many other problems including sleepless nights, irritability, and even more night sweats. Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and balance hormones at the same time.
Do You Have a Night Sweat Episode Induced by Lifestyle?
Do you eat spicy food right before bed or wear thick, flannel pajamas, and crawl under a heavy down comforter? Do you smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, take diet pills, or drugs? All of these behaviors can explain why you experience night sweats during menopause. Remember, your lifestyle has an enormous impact on your health. Try making some adjustments to rule out any of the possible triggers.
What Kind of Medications Do You Take?
Antidepressants and hormone therapy have been known to trigger night sweats. Talk to your doctor about the side effects of your medications. If your medicine is the source of your night sweats, your doctor may be able to recommend an alternative treatment.
Recommendations for Night Sweat Relief
If you have determined that you are suffering from menopausal night sweats, it may be necessary to change your lifestyle and include more exercise and healthier foods. Alternative and herbal medicines might also help you cope with the symptoms. There are also more invasive and effective treatments, like hormone replacement therapy (HRT) that should be used with the approval of a doctor.
- The National Institute of Health.(n.d). "Signs of the Menopausal Transition".Retrieved from 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.