Menopause and sweating

 

During menopause, you may find that you sweat more than usual, especially at night. Sweating is one of the vasomotor symptoms which are common at this time of life and maybe accompanied by hot flushes and palpitations.

SWEATING

Sweating can be uncomfortable and embarrassing during menopause. It has a habit of appearing at the most inconvenient times!

Sweating may also happen due to underlying medical conditions, so it is important to see your doctor if you are worried. Read on to find out more about the causes, treatments and when to seek help.

If you are spending your days sweating it out… download Stella.

HOW LIKELY IS SWEATING DURING MENOPAUSE?

  • Increased sweating is one of the most common symptoms of menopause
  • The most frequent reason for increased sweating at menopause is a group of symptoms known as vasomotor symptoms
  • Hot flushes and night sweats affect around 80% of women
  • One study found that vasomotor symptoms (including hot flushes and sweating) last for more than seven years for over 50% of women
  • After the final menstrual period, these symptoms last for around 4.5 years on average
  • In general, the earlier your vasomotor symptoms start, the longer they tend to last

Read more about the stages of menopause.

When might you sweat?

Sweating associated with hot flushes

Night sweats, which can be due to having hot flushes in your sleep

Sweating can be associated with a number of medical conditions unrelated to menopause

HOW CAN YOU MINIMALISE SWEATING?

Did you know that changing your lifestyle and avoiding certain things that can cause blood vessels to dilate can really help keep your symptoms under control? Here are six things you can try.

1. Avoid triggers. This will make a big impact, especially spicy food, caffeine, alcohol and stress.

2. Take care of your diet. Try to reach and maintain a healthy weight.

3. Increase exercise. It has been shown to help reduce hot flushes by 60%. Aim for 500 minutes a week, including two and a half hours of cardio exercise, such as jogging or pedalling at a pace that causes sweating and increased heart rate.

4. Quit smoking. Smokers have more hot flushes than non-smokers.

5. Keep cool: Helpful tips include, wear lightweight layers you can remove quickly – you can buy menopause-friendly nightwear engineered to wick away sweat. Use sheets and blankets for bedding instead of a duvet, so you can adapt to your temperature easily. Invest in a cooling face spray and fan for when the heat hits.

If these simple measures do not help, or if your sweats are severe or persistent, see your doctor.

WOULD HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY 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 women 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 personal 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.

Sweating and menopause

At menopause, the hormones which regulate your menstrual cycle change. This includes a marked decrease in the amount of oestrogen released by the ovaries.

Vasomotor symptoms (including hot flushes and night sweats) are thought to occur because these hormonal changes affect part of the hypothalamus – the body’s ‘thermostat’.

This makes the body more sensitive to temperature changes, meaning that it is easier to trigger the body’s cooling mechanisms.

We see the body’s inappropriate and exaggerated attempts to cool itself in the form of sweating and flushing.

This is not the whole story, however. Other hormones in the brain including serotonin and noradrenaline are also thought to contribute to this process.

Read Jeneva’s advice on how to manage hot flushes at work.

See a doctor if you have night sweats regularly.

You are losing weight without trying.

Your sweating is affecting your daily activities or quality of life.

You have any other new or worrying symptoms.

My sweat-drenched, white Armani blouse stuck to my arms, back and belly while I ashamedly postponed that afternoon’s lecture on authentic leadership.”

Jeneva

DISCOVER MORE

When you’re facing hot flushes, what works? Read more

How mindfulness helps anxiety, memory loss and hot flushes. Read more

How to deal with embarrassing symptoms at work. Read more

WHAT SWEATING RELIEF IS AVAILABLE?

Download Stella for personalised cognitive behaviour therapy for hot flushes during menopause

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Avis NE, Crawford SL, Greendale G, Bromberger JT, Everson-Rose SA, Gold EB, Hess R, Joffe H, Kravitz HM, Tepper PG, Thurston RC; Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation. Duration of menopausal vasomotor symptoms over the menopause transition. JAMA Intern Med. 2015 Apr;175(4):531-9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25686030/

Willacy H, 2018, Hot Flushes, Patient, accessed 10th March 2021 https://patient.info/doctor/hot-flushes 

Rapkin AJ, Vasomotor symptoms in menopause: physiologic condition and central nervous system approaches to treatment, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Volume 196, Issue 2, 2007, Pages 97-106

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002937806024768

Willacy H, 2018, Hormone Replacement Therapy, Patient, accessed 11th March 2021 https://patient.info/doctor/hormone-replacement-therapy-including-benefits-and-risks 

NHS, 2021, Night Sweats, accessed on 11th March 2021 https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/night-sweats/