Menopause has a variety of side effects, some of which can be very uncomfortable. Night sweats occur when a hot flash hits while you're sleeping, causing you to wake up clammy with sweat. Read on to learn more about night sweats.
What Are Night Sweats?
Night sweats are episodes of excessive sweating during sleep and can range from mild to the severe. A severe episode can disturb sleep patterns and leave you tired and irritated. Feverish night sweats can result in damp bedding and sleepwear, causing chills after the initial wave of heat subsides.
Common symptoms of night sweats include:
- Sudden and intense feelings of heat
- Sweating (mild to severe)
- Rapid heartbeat
- Damp or soaking clothes and bedding
- Frequent interruptions of sleep
- Lack of sleep or insomnia
Night sweats are a common symptom of perimenopause, the period during preceding menopause.
What Causes Fever and Night Sweats?
Night sweats are known in the medical world as “nocturnal hyperhydrosis”. It's believed that lower estrogen levels during menopause cause the hypothalamus (the heat regulating area in the brain) to malfunction, leading to fever and night sweats. Hormonal fluctuation causes the hypothalamus to falsely detect a high body temperature, sending signals for the body to rapidly cool. This causes blood vessels to dilate and the sufferer to sweat excessively, resulting in night sweats.
Night sweats and other symptoms can impact your physical and emotional well-being. It's important to understand and manage symptoms before they have an adverse impact on your life.
Treating Night Sweats during Menopause
Foods and drinks that can cause fever and night sweats:
- Hot pepper (capsaicin)
- Food additives
- Excess sugar
- Spicy foods
- Dairy products
- Red meat
- Processed food
A healthy body and mind are vital to alleviate fever and night sweats. Eating a balanced diet and doing regular exercise can help those suffering from stress, a trigger factor for night sweats. These essential nutrients can provide relief from the side effects of decreased estrogen levels, and are best if coming from fresh, whole foods:
Vitamin C. Found in broccoli, cabbage, asparagus and tomatoes.
Vitamin E. Found in asparagus, almonds, lamb, brown rice and mangoes.
Vitamin B. Found in wheat germ or can be taken in supplements.
Fatty acids. Such as Omega 3 and Omega 6.
For ultimate relief from night sweats and other troublesome symptoms, you may also wish to try alternative medicine. Herbal remedies are a popular option and both phytoestrogenic and non-estrogenic herbs are common forms of treatment. Click the following link to read 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.