Hot flashes and night sweats are two of the most frequent and disruptive menopausal symptoms. They are closely related and can greatly impact a woman's daily life. If a woman is not expecting hot flashes and night sweats, and doesn't know how to deal with them, then a sudden episode of either or both can be very frightening. It is important to read the following information and learn about hot flash and night sweat episodes, so that you will know how to manage them.
What Are Hot Flashes and Night Sweats?
The main difference between them is that hot flashes occur during the day and night sweats happen while a woman is sleeping. Both are sensations of intense heat in the upper part of the body that are accompanied by an increased heart rate and flushing of the chest, neck, and face. This is followed by excessive sweating –a night sweat will typically leave a woman's sleepwear and bedding drenched in sweat. They can last be anywhere between thirty seconds and five minutes. The intensity and frequency also varies. In the three years leading up to menopause, half of women will experience hot flashes and night sweats, and about 75% of women will suffer from hot flashes during menopause.
Common symptoms of hot flashes
• A feeling of intense heat in the upper body
• Flushing of the skin
• Sudden, increased heart rate
• Excessive sweating
• Chills and shivering
Common symptoms of night sweats
• Damp bedding
• Chills and shivering
• Sleep problems
What Causes Hot Flashes and Night Sweats?
The root cause is uncertain, but it is widely believed that the main trigger for them is the hypothalamus (the part of the brain that regulates body temperature) abruptly going into overdrive. Decreased estrogen levels during menopause are responsible for causing the hypothalamus to malfunction, leading to a release of chemicals that increase the heart rate and dilate blood vessels near the skin, so the heat can be emitted and cool the body down. As a result, a woman experiences either a hot flash or night sweat.
Hot flashes and night sweats, along with other vasomotor symptoms (the term vasomotor describes bodily changes related to the constriction and dilation of blood vessels) such as dizziness and heart palpitations decrease in severity and frequency after menopause. However, some women may still experience hot flashes and night sweats during postmenopause.
To learn more about the treatments for hot flashes and night sweats, follow the link below.
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