Menopausal night sweats affect well over half of all women between the ages of 45 and 55, and can cause anxiety, embarrassment, and loss of sleep. Women who are experiencing this discomfort often feel understandably tired and frustrated.
It is important to remember, however, that night sweats during menopause are just part of the biological transition that every woman experiences. As with many other conditions, diet and other lifestyle factors can play a big part in easing the unpleasant effects of menopausal night sweats.
What Are Menopausal Night Sweats?
Menopause describes the transition between fertility and infertility, during which time hormone levels in the body fluctuate greatly, often producing a number of uncomfortable symptoms. Night sweats are one of the more common side effects that occur during this process. They are caused by abrupt estrogen fluctuations that confuse the hypothalamus, which incorrectly detects that body temperature is unusually high. The hypothalamus then signals the nervous system to attempt to cool the body down through excessive sweating.
Menopausal night sweats can be very unpleasant. Women who experience them may feel the need to change pajamas and bed sheets nightly, waking up multiple times in the night feeling anxious, damp, and uncomfortable. The stress that can result might make many women feel frustrated or helpless, but there are ways to improve night sweats and other symptoms.
How Can Menopausal Night Sweats Be Treated?
The good news about night sweats is that there are many treatment options that don't require a doctor's appointment. In fact, many treatment strategies are simple lifestyle adjustments, such as having water with dinner instead of wine or soda.
The following are all simple ways to help relieve night sweat episodes:
- Avoiding alcohol
- Avoiding hot drinks, spicy foods, saturated fats, and tobacco
- Drinking plenty of water
- Exercising three to five times per week
- Taking cool showers before bedtime
- Wearing moisture-wicking clothes
Many women have reported success in reducing night sweat symptoms using these simple tactics.
However, women who don't experience relief using the above methods may want to try some alternative remedies. Some alternative options include phytoestrogenic and hormone-regulating herbal supplements, as well as relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation.
Herbal remedies work with the body to stimulate production of estrogen and restore hormonal balance. Yoga and meditation can reduce stress, which is known to exacerbate symptoms like night sweats. In extreme cases, women may turn to hormone replacement therapy (HRT), but this should only be considered as a last resort and under a doctor's supervision.