Night sweats are an incredibly common symptom of menopause and hormonal transition, but can nevertheless be distressing and frightening, especially for those who have never before experienced this condition and its often intense and unforgiving side effects. Night sweats can greatly affect your quality of sleep, often disrupting it and even inducing insomnia in extreme cases. Because sleep is such an integral aspect of normal bodily functioning, night sweats are a symptom of menopause that must be prevented, especially if you experience them regularly.
Night sweats affect nearly three out of four of menopausal women, making them among the most common symptoms of hormonal transition. Fortunately, its prevalence has prompted many to seek treatment methods, and thus there are many ways to alleviate this aggravating and burdening symptom of menopause. Garnering knowledge of this condition and its mechanics will better prepare you to prevent and alleviate it during menopause, allowing you more control over your life once again.
When do menopausal night sweats typically commence?Many women experience the onset of night sweats and the many side effects associated with this symptom while they are still menstruating. Women therefore commonly experience this condition during perimenopause, or pre-menopause, as hormonal levels begin to fluctuating during this time in preparation for menopause and hormonal transition. Although each woman will enter the perimenopausal stage at a different age, most women are in their early 40s when they begin to experience the onset of many menopausal symptoms like night sweats. Other symptoms can begin even earlier, commencing sometimes 15 years before the onset of perimenopause.
The symptoms of menopausal night sweatsAlthough each woman will experience menopausal night sweats differently, the following are common side effects and symptoms of this condition:
• Sudden and spontaneous sensations of intense warmth or heat
• Perspiration that ranges from mild to severe
• An accelerated heart rate or heart palpitations
• Occasional nausea, especially following intense episodes
• Occasional headaches, especially during intense episodes
• A flushing or reddening of the chest, neck and face
• Chills and coldness following the conclusion of an episode
• Damp or drenched pajamas and bedclothes
• Disrupted sleep, especially when you must change bed sheets and bed clothes
• A severe loss of sleep or bouts of insomnia What causes the many side effects and symptoms of night sweats during menopause?
Night sweats are known throughout the medical community as ‘nocturnal hyperhydrosis,’ and are characterized by episodic sweating during sleep, ranging in intensity from mild to severe depending upon the individual woman and other outside factors. The side effects that accompany night sweats often disrupt sleep, leaving a woman awakening to drenched sheets and heart palpitations. They are very annoying, and can result in daytime fatigue and bouts of insomnia.
Although the precise culprit of menopausal night sweats continues to elude scientists and medical experts, it is widely believed that the main cause of this condition is a lack of estrogen and fluctuating hormonal levels that cause a miscommunication to develop between the body and hypothalamus, the regulatory section of the brain that controls body temperature and the production of heat.
A lack of estrogen causes the hypothalamus to falsely detect an excessive amount of heat within the body, which it attempts to alleviate by commanding the release of certain chemicals that dilate the blood vessels within the skin and stimulate production of the sweat glands. It results in an acute and intense spike in body temperature and a profuse amount of perspiration, hence night sweats.
Treating the many symptoms and side effects of menopausal night sweatsTo effectively treat menopausal night sweats, you need only to implement several simple modifications to your daily routine and lifestyle, including:
• Keep your sleeping environment cool
• Take a cool shower or bath shortly before bed
• Drink at least two liters of water each day
• Support your body with natural remedies
• Avoid alcoholic drinks, caffeinated drinks, sugary foods, spicy foods and hot soups
• Stop smoking tobacco products
• Exercise regularly