An estimated 75 percent of menopausal women suffer from night sweats. If you’re one of them, rest assured that although this symptom is unpleasant, it will eventually pass. You’re probably already dealing with other menopausal symptoms, like bladder weakness, with the reassurance of ultra-thin, highly absorbent Always Discreet liners, so you’re used to being proactive. Take comfort from the fact that you can help ease the symptoms of night sweats, too.
What Causes Night Sweats?
Although night sweats are often considered a standalone symptom of menopause, they are actually related to hot flashes. “Levels of oestrogen fall during menopause, which confuses the area of the brain responsible for temperature control – the hypothalamus,” says Dr. Steve Illey, medical director of international healthcare group Bupa UK. This triggers the body’s usual cooling responses, which include flushing and sweating. Night sweats, like hot flashes, are unpredictable – you might not have one for weeks, followed by several a night over the course of a few nights.
What Triggers Them?
Hot drinks, caffeine and alcohol are all common culprits, as are spicy foods, chocolate and refined carbohydrates like cakes and cookies. Stress can also play a part, so it’s important to relax in a cool environment before bedtime, and make sure you stay well hydrated with water or herbal tea.
Unfortunately, night sweats can make your skin irritated and itchy, too: When you sweat, your body loses fluid, which can cause drier skin. In addition to staying hydrated, applying a moisturizing body lotion, like Olay Quench Body Lotion, can help. It’s infused with Olay moisturizers and quickly absorbs into your skin, leaving it feeling soft and smooth.
How long will night sweats last?
“Every woman experiences menopause differently,” says Dr. Illey. “Some women may never have a night sweat, while others have them for several years.”
What can I do to cope?
“The main medical treatment for night sweats and hot flashes in menopausal women is hormone replacement therapy (HRT),” says Dr. Illey. This involves taking oestrogen to replace the decline in your body. Although HRT is a proven way to alleviate the symptoms of menopause, there are a number of risks associated with it, such as breast tenderness, headaches, weak bones and an increased risk of breast cancer. Consult with your physician first to discuss treatment options.
If you prefer a more natural approach, sage extract has been known to help effectively regulate your temperature – some women report a reduction in night sweats and hot flashes within days of starting supplements. Valerian is an herb traditionally used to help promote restful sleep – while it won’t stop night sweats, it can help you feel less anxious about them, which reduces the chance of having one. “There is some evidence to suggest that yoga can help with hot flashes and improve your general wellbeing,” adds Dr. Illey. He also recommends keeping a fan by your bed – a simple but very effective solution.
Finally, make your bedding as inviting and soft as possible to help promote restful sleep. Downy Infusions Fabric Conditioner helps keep your sheets soft and beautifully fresh, so you’re as comfortable as possible.
How do you cope with menopausal night sweats? We’d love to hear your thoughts – please add your comments below!