Are you one of those unfortunate women who suffer both daytime hot flushes and night time sweats? It may seem like a different condition, but it is actually it is just a continuation of the same problem and unfortunately we are aware of it differently at night.
At menopause with the constantly changing hormone levels our own natural temperature regulator – the hypothalamus – gets confused and thinks the body is overheating. It starts to do its job to reduce that by sending blood to the surface (our red faces) and stimulates the sweat glands to cool us down.
Simple tips that can help
A lot of this is just common sense, but once menopause kicks in it is sometimes hard to follow through on acting or thinking logically. You probably already do all these, but just check to see if there are any you have missed.
- Wash or shower regularly but keep the water temperature down
- Use an antiperspirant daily
- Wear loose-fitting clothes and go for natural fibres that breathe, like cotton
- Avoid flush triggers such as alcohol, caffeine, spicy food and smoking
- Stay fit as exercise has been shown to reduce the impact of hot flushes
- Watch your weight as extra pounds can cause more hot flushes
- Don’t let your fluid intake drop and carry a bottle of water with you
- Regulate the temperature at night with light bedclothes and good ventilation
What can cause it or make it worse?
- Oestrogen dominance is linked to flushes, and weight gain, so try to get your hormone balance right
- Feeling hot and sweaty is upsetting, and stressful. Emotional upset and stress increases adrenaline levels, making your sweat glands work harder and so you sweat more
- Illness or fever
- Side effects of some medication or treatment such as for breast cancer for example
- Sleep apnoea
- Hypoglycaemia or low blood sugar
What can help?
Everyone experiences night sweats at some point in their lives but if they are constant check the following:
- oestrogen dominance is as major factor so check your hormone balance and for sweats not responding to progesterone alone, then a combination cream of both progesterone and oestrogen can be more effective
- even a few pounds overweight can increase the flushes and sweats so take a look at where in your diet you could make some changes
- if overweight and not getting much exercise find gentle ways to increase your daily activity as exercise reduces stress as well as helping with weight control
- stress affects your hormones in so many ways and unfortunately flushes and sweats make you anxious, and that increases your stress levels, so again do what you can to minimise any other stress factors
- if you’re experiencing excessive sweating − to the point where you regularly soak your bed sheets or have sweat patches on your clothes – it is advisable to speak to your doctor to see how they might help and to eliminate non hormonal causes