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Everything You Need to Know About Night Sweats During Menopause

Everything You Need to Know About Night Sweats During Menopause

Night sweats are occurrences of drenching sweats, enough to soak clothes and bedding and disturb sleep. This is common for women around the age of 40 to 50 and is caused by a sudden increase of blood flow causing blood vessels to expand and contract.

What this feels like is a sudden wave of heat spreading throughout the body and causing perspiration along with the rapid heartbeat and the reddening of skin. After an extremely warm sensation is a cold chill due to the constriction of blood vessels.

Causes of Night Sweats During Menopause

This often happens to women in perimenopause which is a normal, natural phase of life wherein ovaries produce less hormones. These hormones are estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone which cause periods to become irregular. The changing of levels in hormones released causes night sweats. This is also the phase that acts as a transition step to menopause.

This also happens to menopausal women. Technically, menopause would mean not having a period for an entire year and the average age at which it happens is 51 years old.

Although these are the most common causes, these aren’t the only reasons why night sweating happens. Night sweats actually happens both in women and men.

Some reasons why would be the following:

  • bacterial infections that could manifest as endocarditis, osteomyelitis, and pyogenic abscess
  • cancer or treatments for it
  • common cold
  • flu
  • fever
  • hormonal diseases
  • infectious diseases like human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and tuberculosis
  • obstructive sleep apnea
  • panic disorder or anxiety
  • medications like acetaminophen, antidepressants, aspirin, diabetes medication, drugs for high blood pressure, and steroids.

Rest assured, though, that all of these causes are curable by the state of medicine as it is. So if you are experiencing frequent night sweats that disrupt your sleep cycle, it’s best to consult your doctor and have it treated.

Risk factors

There are a few risk factors that affect how likely you are to experience night sweats.

The first risk factor is age which signifies the stage in reproductive maturity you may be in. Like we mentioned earlier, night sweats are very common for women around the age of 40 and 50. This could occur alongside hot flashes and actually feel fairly similar.

The second risk factor is smoking. Smokers are more susceptible to blood vessels that easily dilate and contract dramatically, making them more likely to experience night sweats and hot flashes.

Obesity is the third risk factor. A high body mass index (BMI) makes for possible hormonal imbalances and dilated blood vessels that could make night sweats a greater possibility.

Studies have also found that race could be a risk factor because statistics show that hot flashes and night sweats are most frequent in women of African descent and least frequent in women of Asian descent.

When you should see a doctor

Since night sweats are fairly normal at a certain point in reproductive maturity, its occurrence then is oftentimes no reason for alarm.

Initially, research pointed towards half a year to two years being the normal duration of experiencing night sweats but newer studies show that it’s normal to have them last a lot longer.

Typically, they go away after a few years but if it’s been disruptive to your sleep cycle and doesn’t lessen in severity over time, it’s best to see a doctor. Like most diseases, disruption of daily activities, sleep cycle, or quality of rest would be enough to indicate that it may be time to come in for a check-up.

If it’s possible that there are other reasons you may be experiencing night sweats, it’s best to have the cause determined by seeking professional medical insight.

If you experience night sweats alongside other alarming symptoms like excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue that could mean a decline in sleep health or unexplained fever or weight loss, it may be best to seek medical help anyway.

Treatment

Since the most common reason is menopause-related, the most common treatment is hormone therapy.

Using estrogen with or without progesterone, hormone therapy aims to balance out the irregular level of hormones that cause night sweats. Hormone therapy also helps with other menopausal symptoms like vaginal dryness.

Estrogen replacement therapy works a similar way but isn’t an option for people with a history of breast cancer because the treatment poses risks to blood clots and gall bladder inflammation. Medication for night sweats could include antidepressants, anticonvulsants, clonidine, and megestrol.

Some non-drug ways of managing it is wearing loose-fitting and lightweight cotton pajamas that would make you sweat less.

Being better prepared in your bedroom setup like having layered bedding and good ventilation would also help. Preparing cold water in your nightstand and a cold pack under your pillow would also help.

Like normal sweating, you can avoid its triggers like alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes, and spicy food. Before sleeping, you may also use deep breathing exercises and relaxation methods to manage night sweats.

Key Takeaway

Night sweats are bound to happen at one point or another. What’s important to know is that we have our options in treating them and managing them. We hope this article better informs you about your options when dealing with night sweats related to menopause or other conditions.

Learn more about menopause here.

 

Ovulation Calculator

Ovulation Calculator

Tracking your period cycle, determines your most fertile days and increases your chance of conceiving or applying for birth control.

Ovulation Calculator

Tracking your period cycle, determines your most fertile days and increases your chance of conceiving or applying for birth control.

Ovulation Calculator

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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Night Sweats and Women’s Health

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/16562-night-sweats-and-womens-health

Accessed October 25, 2021

Menopause-Related Hot Flashes and Night Sweats Can Last For Years

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/menopause-related-hot-flashes-night-sweats-can-last-years-201502237745

Accessed October 25, 2021

How to Sleep Well During Menopause

https://www.abingtonhealth.org/healthy-living/health-news/library/articles-related-to-womens-health-/sleeping-hot-how-to-sleep-well-during-menopause/

Accessed October 25, 2021

Hot Flashes: Symptoms and Causes

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hot-flashes/symptoms-causes/syc-20352790

Accessed October 25, 2021

Night Sweats

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/night-sweats/

Accessed October 25, 2021

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Written by Tracey Romero Updated Oct 26
Fact Checked by Bianchi Mendoza, R.N.