Sweating can be uncomfortable and embarrassing at any time and menopause sweating can happen during the day or night. Sweats have a habit of appearing at the most inconvenient times. Read on to find out more about the causes, treatments and when to seek help.
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A small part of your brain called the hypothalamus regulates your body temperature and your thermoneutral zone is a set temperature range. Hormonal changes can narrow your thermoneutral zone, making you more sensitive to temperature changes. Your body cools itself by sweating and opening up blood vessels to release heat.
Sweating may be accompanied by hot flushes and heart palpitations. You may find that sweat seeps through your clothes, makes your hair damp or causes your make-up to slide off. They can impact your sleep and make you feel anxious, which can impact your day-to-day, especially at work.
Sweating may also happen due to underlying medical conditions, so it is important to see your doctor if you are worried.
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MENOPAUSE NIGHT SWEATS DEFINITION
A night sweat is when you sweat so heavily your bedclothes and bedding are drenched even though your room is cool. You may need to get up and change clothes and sheets, as well as dry yourself off.
Sweats can be less severe but still cause your neck, hair or chest to be so wet it disturbs your sleep. Lack of sleep impacts your ability to function the next day and can lead to fatigue, depression and weight gain.
HOW COMMON IS MENOPAUSE SWEATING?
- Sweats are also known as vasomotor symptoms because they are associated with changes in the vascular system that affect blood flow in the body
- Hot flushes and night sweats affect around 75%
- These symptoms are the reason why most seek treatment
Read more about the stages of menopause.
WHEN MIGHT YOU SWEAT?
During a hot flush
At night due to having hot flushes in your sleep
Sweating can be associated with several medical conditions unrelated to menopause
HOW LONG DO MENOPAUSE SWEATS LAST?
In general, the earlier your vasomotor symptoms start, the longer they tend to last. Typically people experience them for one-five years, however, every woman is different and some may experience them for much longer than this.
One study found that vasomotor symptoms (including hot flushes and sweating) last for more than seven years for over 50% of people.
After the final menstrual period, these symptoms last for around 4.5 years on average.
TIPS TO HELP WITH SWEATING DURING MENOPAUSE
Have a towel, change of bedclothes (if you wear them) and a spare sheet or blanket near you in your bedroom. If you wake soaked through, you can limit disruption if the things you need to get ready for bed again are close to hand. A fan by your bed and cooling sprays can help cool you back down too. Make sure your bedclothes are natural fibres or buy some sweat-wicking pyjamas designed for menopause.
A spare change of clothes is handy in case the sweats strike at work. Keep a cooling spray and hand fan in your bag too.
Manage your feelings
You can feel frustrated, upset and angry about having your sleep disturbed once again by a sweat and end up in a negative cycle of thinking about the impact on the next day.
How you think about sweats can have a big impact on your experience. Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) can help you recognise, control and change negative thoughts and worries. NICE and the North American Menopause Society recommends CBT for managing hot flushes and night sweats.
Control your breathing
There is evidence that breathing and relaxation exercises can calm your mind when you are under stress, such as during a flush or sweat. It can help bring relax you during moments of heightened stress.
WOULD HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY (HRT) HELP?
HRT is the most effective treatment available for vasomotor symptoms, including night sweats.
You can usually expect to see an improvement within four weeks of starting. Most can expect a reduction in both severity and frequency of episodes.
However, HRT does come with risks and is not suitable for everyone. Speak to your doctor about your treatment options.
If you are unable to take HRT, other medications may also help. The most commonly used include gabapentin and certain antidepressants.
Read more about the HRT debate.