While night sweats can be uncomfortable and disruptive, they don't usually signal a more serious underlying condition. In fact, night sweats are one of the most common menopause symptoms, with up to75% of women experiencing them at some point during menopause.
When a woman approaches menopause, she may have many questions about the potential symptoms, including night sweats. Understanding what to expect, why these symptoms occur, and how to manage them can help a woman better prepare for this transitional period. Keep reading to learn more about night sweats.
Night sweats, medically termed "sleep hyperhidrosis," are episodes of nighttime sweating, ranging from mild to profuse perspiration. Night sweats are similar to the hot flashes that can affect menopausal women during the waking hours.
Oftentimes, night sweats can be so intense that they interrupt a woman's sleep, which can affect many aspects of her daily life. Common symptoms of night sweats include sudden and intense heat, irregular heartbeat, nausea, flushing, chills, and headaches.
Women with menopause-related night sweats may experience anywhere from mild to severe symptoms, varying in duration, during their usual sleeping hours.
Who is affected?
Night Sweats and Sleep
The symptoms of night sweats can drastically disturb sleep patterns, making it difficult to get a good night's rest. Because of this, women who suffer from night sweats often experience:
Heightened levels of stress
Many women in their 40s and 50s develop night sweats, often beginning before the cessation of the menstrual cycle. One study found that approximately 19% of women aged 40 - 55 who still had regular periods experienced night sweats. Most women begin to develop symptoms two to ten years before menopause occurs, during the span of time called perimenopause.
Many different factors contribute to how women experience menopause symptoms. Age, race, and other factors can influence how likely a woman is to develop night sweats during menopause.
Age can affect a woman's experience of night sweats. One large study found that younger women are far more likely to experience night sweats. Another found that only 10% of patients older than 64 experienced night sweats.
Studies have found that the prevalence of night sweats varies by race. One study found that three in four Caucasian women experience night sweats. Another found that African-American women were more likely to have night sweats than Caucasian or Hispanic women. Asian women were the least likely to report night sweats.
Click here to learn more about night sweats, or continue reading below to learn what causes night sweats.
Fevers and night sweats both involve increased internal body temperature, excessive sweating, and flushing - so it can be hard to tell them apart. Keep reading to learn how to differentiate between the common menopause symptom and feverish infection to know how to solve the problem or when to seek medical attention.
Night sweats and hot flashes are frustrating, but they can be even worse if you believe the many myths associated with them. The rumors will make it feel like the heat will never go away and can lead you on an unhealthy track to recovery. Learn the facts about your symptoms and how to respond.
Causes of Night Sweats
Many women who experience night sweats want to know the reason behind their symptoms. While the exact cause of night sweats is unknown, hormonal fluctuations are one of the primary factors in most menopause symptoms.
During menopause, estrogen production levels drastically decrease. This change affects the hypothalamus, the part of the brain responsible for the regulating body temperature. As a result, the hypothalamus often prompts a series of physiological reactions resulting in hot flashes or night sweats.
While hormonal imbalance is the most common cause of menopausal night sweats, there are also rare medical causes, such as diabetes, anxiety, neurological conditions, sleep apnea, cancer, and thyroid disorder.
Night sweat triggers
Certain factors can increase the duration and severity of night sweats. Avoiding these triggers can help to alleviate both hot flashes and night sweats.
Close proximity to partner
Saunas, tubs, hot showers
Hot or spicy foods
Alcohol or caffeine
Click here to find out more about the causes of night sweats, or continue reading below to learn more about treatments.
Stress is a factor that can not only cause night sweats; it can also be significantly detrimental to your health and well-being. Click onto discover how stress causes night sweats, why it's important to take stress seriously, and how to prevent it from impacting your life.
Because night sweats are triggered by hormonal fluctuations, it is not only women going through menopause that can experience the symptom. If you're pregnant and waking throughout the night drenched in sweat this could be why. For more information check out our article.
Night Sweats Treatments
Treating of night sweats often begins with lifestyle changes. This approach typically involves avoiding night sweats triggers and taking steps to relieve stress and improve diet and exercise. Tryptophan, for example, is an amino acid that helps aid in sleep and can be found in dairy products, nuts, and eggs. By incorporating more tryptophan in your diet, you can improve your overall quality of sleep.
While these lifestyle changes can help to relieve night sweats and improve sleep patterns, they do not treat the root cause of night sweats, which is hormonal imbalance.
Fortunately, alternative medicine treatments can safely and effectively correct hormonal imbalances with little or no risk. In fact, many experts recommend combining lifestyle changes and alternative medicine for symptom management.
For some women, however, these changes are not enough to alleviate their symptoms. In such cases, they may want to consider prescription drugs or other clinical methods. Before beginning these treatments, however, it is recommended that women consult a trusted medical professional to better understand the potential benefits and risks of these prescription medications.
Most experts recommend that women begin with lifestyle changes and alternative medicines before trying prescription medications in order to alleviate their night sweats. The best treatment options, however, vary from woman to woman. Click on the following link to learn specific treatments for night sweats during menopause in these three categories.
Night sweats are an obstacle that prevent many women approaching menopause from enjoying peaceful, uninterrupted sleep. Although the cause of sweating episodes is primarily hormonal, a few small tweaks to habits and environment over just five days could significantly minimize the occurrence of night sweats.
Night sweating episodes are sleep-disruptive, sticky, and unpleasant. The symptom occurs during menopause primarily due to hormonal changes, but making alterations to diet is often key to reducing troubling menopause symptoms. Increasing intake of certain fruits, such as tomatoes and lemon, could help keep sweating episodes away.
Boston Women's Health Collective. (2006). Hot Flashes, Night Sweats and Sleep Disturbances. Our Bodies, Ourselves.
National Health Service UK. (2014). Menopause: five self-help tips. Retrieved April 7, 2016, from http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/menopause/Pages/Menopauseselfhelp.aspx
National Institute on Aging. (2015). Signs of the Menopausal Transition. Retrieved April 7, 2016, from https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/menopause-time-change/signs-menopausal-transition
Updated on Oct 21, 2015 I'm in My Thirties: Are Night Sweats Normal? Night sweats are commonly associated with menopause, but they can afflict people of any age. Triggered by environmental, dietary, and medical causes, sweating episodes often interrupt sleep, and may ultimately result in fatigue, which makes it all the more important to understand what's causing them and how this can be.
Updated on Sep 28, 2015 Can I Get Night Sweats during the Day? Hot flashes and night sweats are two of the most common symptoms of menopause, affecting over half of women going through menopause. However, night sweats are not always limited to nighttime. Click here to learn more about hot flashes, night sweats, and day sweats and what causes them.
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Updated on May 28, 2015 Night Sweats and Low Body Temperature Hormonal imbalance affects women differently as they reach menopause. Most going through the transition however, will experience night sweats. In our article night sweats and low body temperature the phenomenon is explored and treatment ideas provided. For more information follow the link.