After menopause, many women think menopausal symptoms will end. While for some this is true, night sweats in elderly women are surprisingly common. Symptoms may last for up to ten years after menopause has ended. However, there are treatment options available.
What Are Night Sweats in Elderly Women?
Night sweats can cause postmenopausal women to wake in the middle of the night covered in a cold sweat, and a thundering heart. They are caused by hormonal deficiencies, the same as during menopause. Sometimes, it takes the body longer to stabilize and adjust to its new hormonal state. This causes symptoms from menopause to linger into postmenopause.
How Can Night Sweats in Elderly Women Be Treated?
Fortunately, there are many ways night sweats can be treated.
While many older women are worried about the effect hard exercises might have on their joints, there are many ways enjoy exercise without having to worry about damaging your body, such as:
- A gentle yoga or tai chi class
- Walking or power walking in the park or near the beach
- Water pilates or aquafit classes
Eating a healthy diet
Night sweats in elderly women may be partially due a lack of essential nutrients. When planning meals, consider using the following:
- Five portions of fruit and vegetables a day
- Plenty of whole grains and fiber to keep the body strong
- Dairy or other calcium containing products
- Omega-3 fatty acids, which can be found in foods like fish
Getting plenty of sleep
Many postmenopausal women suffering from night sweats may find it difficult to sleep without waking up during the night. However, being well rested can ease stress, one of the many causes of night sweats. It can become a vicious cycle, where your night sweats worsen due to stress, and the more they worsen, the more stressed you get.
If you are concerned about your night sweats, or they are causing significant harm to your health, talk to your doctor. There are many other ways to alleviate night sweats, such as alternative medications or sleep medications. Before taking any of these, always consult your doctor, and look into any potential side effects or interactions with other medications you're taking. Click here for more information on treating night sweats.
- 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.