Hot Flashes & Night Sweats
Each of us may experience hot flashes and night sweats differently during menopause. The symptoms we experience and their intensity may vary widely - depending on age, time of day, season, & other factors.
As unwelcome intruders, night sweats and hot flashes demand our attention in different ways. The most common symptoms include:
* A rush of heat to our face and upper body, sometimes followed by chills
* An increased heart rate and/or palpitations
* Dizziness, headache, and nausea * Perspiration
* General weakness
Because hot flashes and night sweats can bring discomfort of varying intensity at any time, they are highly disruptive to our daily routine and our sleep.
Causes Hot flashes and night sweats are an inadvertent physiological response to hormonal fluctuations. This imbalance
tricks the temperature-regulating mechanism in our brain into reacting as if our core body needs warming. The brain
directs our body to send heat to the core by raising heart rate, dilating blood vessels, and opening sweat glands. We
experience this rush as a hot flash with all its attendant sensations, including night sweats if we happen to be lying in bed.
Duration How long will they last? This could be interpreted as two different questions, but the answer is the same: It depends. Each time we are hit with the surge of a hot flash or night sweats, it may last up to several minutes before subsiding , or it could stretch out the discomfort to a half hour or more in less frequent cases.
As for how many years hot flashes and night sweats are a part of our lives, 80-85% of U.S. women experience these symptoms in some form during peri-menopause and after the onset of menopause. About 50% of all women have to endure hot flashes and night sweats for years after menopause.
There are many reasons for night sweats to include pregnancy, certain
medications, thyroid conditions, diabetes, obesity, chemotherapy,
sleep apnea and anxiety; however, the most common reason for women
over the age of forty seems to be the onset of menopause. During
menopause women experience hormonal changes which can cause hot
flashes and night sweats.
Men can also experience night sweats due to hormonal changes called
Andropause. The good news is that certain lifestyle changes can reduce
the severity of night sweats regardless of the reason.
Be consistent with the time your retire each night
Get at least eight hours of sleep
Avoid alcohol at bedtime because it can cause hormone levels to spike and drop suddenly thus leading to hot flashes.
If night sweats do strike, get up, go to the bathroom and drink a tall glass of water.
Keep a glass of cool water on your night stand.
Avoid spicy foods near bedtime
Cut caffeine before bedtime because it is can trigger night sweats by raising heart rate and blood pressure
Steer clear of sweets before bedtime because sugar increases your metabolism and in turn generates heat.
Keep your bedroom at a cool temperature or sleep with an open window to increase air circulation.
Change your sheets often so that you feel fresh and clean when you get into bed.
Take a cool shower or cool bath before bedtime.
Avoid hot tubs or the Jacuzzi before bedtime.
Review your prescription and over the counter medications with your
doctor -some medications can cause nighttime sweating.
Keep dry towels next to your bed to absorb severe night sweats.
Try Black Cohash and vitamin E supplements. We have been told that
these supplements could lessen the severity of hot flashes and night
Increase your consumption of soybean products. Researchers have
found that women who eat 35-40 milligrams of plant estrogen a day in
the form of Edamame (soy beans make a healthy, yummy snack!), tofu, soymilk seem to experience
fewer hot flashes and night sweat episodes. Most soy products can now be found in your local grocery stores in the freezer or cooler sections.
Use bedding, pajamas or nightgowns with wicking, quick drying properties from Sleep Dry-Stay Cool.