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Night sweats and hot flashes in menopause

Night sweats and hot flashes in menopause

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Hot flashes (or flushes) and night sweats are two of the most common symptoms of menopause – in fact, according to a 2019 study, 80% of women experience them at some stage. In this article, we’ll have a look at the difference between hot flashes and night sweats, what causes them, and what you can do to get back to feeling yourself again – both in the short term and the long term.

Let’s begin!

What is Menopause

Menopause is the term used to describe when a woman’s periods stop permanently, marking the end of her reproductive years. This is brought on by falling levels of estrogen and progesterone. It generally happens between 50 and 55, but sometimes happens earlier or later. The build-up to menopause is called perimenopause, the ovaries hormone production starts to falter and some early symptoms start to appear – including night sweats and hot flashes. Menopause can last anywhere between a few months and up to ten years.

What are hot flashes

Many women describe hot flashes as a feeling of sudden, intense heat in the upper body that typically lasts a few minutes. A hot flash is often accompanied by sweating and a red face. Hot flashes can happen at any time of day and can be embarrassing, especially if they happen while you’re out and about or at work.

Night sweats are simply hot flashes that happen at night. They can sometimes be more severe than a typical hot flash, causing you to sweat through your nightwear and onto your bed sheets.

What causes hot flashes and night sweats?

Like all menopause symptoms, fluctuations in hormone levels are to blame for night sweats and hot flashes. Let’s take a closer look at the chain of events that leads to these pesky symptoms.

It starts with your hypothalamus – the part of your brain that keeps your body in a stable state called homeostasis. Much like a thermostat in your home, your hypothalamus controls your body temperature. It responds to external and internal stimuli, constantly making adjustments to keep the body within one or two degrees of 98.6 degrees – the optimal internal body temperature.

Just like other parts of the body, your brain needs estrogen to function. This hormone protects your brain cells and neurotransmitters by producing protective antioxidants and blocking harmful proteins from attacking certain parts of the brain. So, it’s thought that fluctuations in estrogen levels affect the hypothalamus’ ability to work properly, causing it to try to cool you down, even when it’s not necessary. Because of this, your blood vessels can quickly and repeatedly expand and constrict – this is called a vasomotor spasm, or vasospasm. These spasms kick off a chain of events that lead to temperature changes, hot flashes, flushing, and night sweats.

What should I do during a hot flash?

It may sound obvious, but the best thing you can do during a hot flash is to try to cool yourself down. If you can, remove one or two layers of clothing and switch a fan on. If you suffer from hot flashes often, it’s a good idea to wear layers and carry a portable fan with you when you go out. Sipping cold water can help, too. And, sleeping with a thinner duvet and a window open or a fan on might help prevent menopause night sweats.



How to prevent hot flashes and night sweats

Hot flashes and night sweats are two of the most recognised symptoms of menopause. Defined by unexpected, hard-to-hide intense heat on the upper body and accompanied by profuse sweating and redness. They can be uncomfortable and embarrassing but there are things you can do to make them bearable or get rid of them altogether.

Hormone Replacement Therapy

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a common treatment for menopause symptoms, and it can be really effective in preventing night sweats and hot flashes. HRT works by replacing the lost estrogen in the body, which in turn helps your brain to function normally. HRT isn’t for everyone, so we recommend speaking to your doctor to find out whether it could be of benefit to you.

Lifestyle Changes

Manage anxiety

Hot flashes and anxiety often go hand-in-hand. When your hormones are declining - specifically progesterone which is our calming hormone - your bodies response is to release more of your stress hormones to activate more progesterone. Adrenaline and cortisol can cause anxiety and irritability. By learning to how to recognise menopause anxiety you can address it with a tactic that works for you. Some women find meditation, yoga, or pilates beneficial, while others prefer to just take some time to themselves with a cup of tea and a good book.

Ashwagandha

In an 8 week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 100 women with hot flash symptoms showed a statistically significant reduction in symptoms by supplementing with Ashwagandha twice a day.

We use Ashwagandha KSM66, prebiotic fibre and key vitamins in Eve Biology Meal Replacement Shakes for Menopause to help diminish stress, anxiety and to reduce hot flashes experienced as hormone levels decline.

Key Takeouts

Sudden increases in temperature, like hot flashes and night sweats, are common yet frustrating symptoms of menopause. They’re caused by hormonal fluctuations, so HRT is a popular treatment. However, many women are able to manage their symptoms by making simple lifestyle changes, including losing weight, quitting smoking, and drinking less alcohol.

FAQS

What causes night sweats in menopause?

Menopausal night sweats are triggered by fluctuating estrogen levels affecting the part of the brain that regulates our body temperature. When this part of the brain doesn’t function properly, it mistakenly tries to cool us down, leading to intense sweating and flushing.

Can anxiety cause hot flushes?

Anxiety can cause symptoms similar to a hot flush, including sweating, flushed skin, and heart palpitations. This is most likely due to the increase in cortisol levels that occurs when we’re stressed or anxious.

What causes hot flashes and palpitations?

Heart palpitations can sometimes happen during a hot flash, and they’re usually nothing to worry about. This can happen due to the expanding and contracting of blood vessels that occurs as your body tries to cool you down. Or, it could be a result of anxiety.

Hot flashes (or flushes) and night sweats are two of the most common symptoms of menopause – in fact, according to a 2019 study, 80% of women experience them at some stage. In this article, we’ll have a look at the difference between hot flashes and night sweats, what causes them, and what you can do to get back to feeling yourself again – both in the short term and the long term.

More Reading

What are the symptoms of low oestrogen?

Guide To Hormones and Menopause Symptoms

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