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Understanding Night Sweats Causes

Many women who experience night sweats want to learn more about their symptoms and understand the causes of night sweats. Better understanding of why night sweats happen will enable women to avoid certain triggers and to deal with them effectively. Read on to discover information about night sweats causes and how best to deal with them.

Identifying the Causes of Night Sweats

Understanding Night Sweats Causes1

While the exact cause of night sweats is unknown, most experts identify hormonal imbalance as the main reason for these episodes. During menopause, the body begins to produce less estrogen which can prompt the hypothalamus - the part of the brain that regulates body temperature - to sense that the body is too hot. In response, it prompts a series of physiological reactions that women experience as hot flashes or night sweats.

There are various other causes of night sweats. While hormonal imbalance is by far the most common reason for night sweats during menopause, they can sometimes be linked to medical complaints such as diabetes, anxiety, neurological conditions, sleep apnea, cancer, and thyroid disorder. Therefore, it is important for women who are experiencing night sweats accompanied by other unexplained symptoms to talk to their doctors and seek further advice.

Triggers of Night Sweats

Certain factors can increase the intensity or regularity of night sweats. These triggers can be divided into three main categories; environmental, emotional, and behavioral. While it may not be possible to completely prevent night sweats, it is certainly possible to reduce their frequency by taking a few simple measures. Avoiding the following triggers of night sweats will help many menopausal women alleviate them.

Environmental Triggers

  • Excess bedding
  • Warm environments
  • Saunas

Emotional Triggers

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Disturbing dreams

Behavioral Triggers

  • Spicy foods
  • Alcohol or caffeine
  • Diet pills
  • Smoking
  • Drug abuse

Treatments for Night Sweats

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Night sweats can be managed by avoiding the common triggers listed in the table above. Additionally, making simple lifestyle changes can help to reduce the frequency and severity of night sweats. This approach typically involves taking steps to relieve stress, improving your diet, and exercising regularly.

However, while these lifestyle changes can help to relieve night sweats and improve sleep patterns, they will not treat the root cause of night sweats, which is hormonal imbalance. Fortunately, alternative medicinal treatments are available to safely and effectively correct hormonal imbalances with little or no risk. In fact, most experts recommend that women combine lifestyle changes with natural remedies to relieve night sweats.

In extreme cases, women may turn to more severe measures to treat night sweats such as pharmaceutical or surgical options. These medical options are usually only recommended if the initial combined approach does not help.

Most experts suggest that women who suffer from night sweats and wish to treat them make simple lifestyle changes first, then move onto alternative medicines. If these methods prove ineffective, medications or surgery may be considered as a final option.

Q&A: Does Alcohol Cause Night Sweats?

Alcohol consumption can stimulate the sweat glands and exacerbate night sweats. Learn more on how to treat and prevent night sweats by clicking here.

Night Sweats and Dry Mouth

Many women will suffer from night sweats and a dry mouth during menopause, they do not necessarily indicate any serious medical condition. Learn more.

Night Sweats during Early Pregnancy

Drowning in sweat? Night sweats during early pregnancy are normal. Find out what you can do to alleviate this unfortunate symptom.

Sources:
  • Boston Women's Health Collective. "Hot Flashes, Night Sweats and Sleep Disturbances". Our Bodies, Ourselves, 2006.
  • The National Institute of Health. "Signs of the Menopausal Transition" www.nih.gov
  • 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.