Is Menopause The Only Reason For Night Sweats?
Have you started having night sweats and think it's just part of what happens in peri/menopause? Though they are a common part of peri/menopause for many women, it's also important to know the other reasons you might be sweating at night.
What causes night sweats?
The Journal of Mid-Life Health found in their research that more than 80% of women will experience hot flashes or night sweats at or after age 40.
According to Mayo Clinic, “A hot flash is the sudden feeling of warmth in the upper body, which is usually most intense over the face, neck, and chest.” They can last for a minute to 5 minutes! No wonder we start to feel those beads of sweat on our brow when a hot flash begins. You can also think of the experience like how your body reacts when you start to workout. You can expect sweat, your skin might turn a bit red or flushed, and you might experience chills after your hot flash goes away.
Most hot flashes are due to hormone changes related to peri/menopause. Mayo Clinic explains, “most research suggests that hot flashes occur when decreased estrogen levels cause your body’s thermostat (hypothalamus) to become more sensitive to slight changes in body temperature. When the hypothalamus thinks your body is too warm, it starts a chain of events (a.k.a. a hot flash) to cool you down.”
Night sweats aren’t just a peri/menopause symptom
But if you aren’t having other symptoms from peri/menopause (like vaginal dryness, irregular periods, or weight gain to name a few), something else might be causing your night sweats — something you should discuss with your doctor.
Here is a list of other causes of night sweats:
- Fever: If you have a fever, your body is fighting infection, so you might be experiencing sweating and chills. Sweating while you have a fever is a sign that your body is trying to bring your temperature back down.
- Stress/Anxiety: Our stress hormones can affect our body temperature. When you are anxious or scared, your heart starts to beat faster, which leads to sweating. If you are experiencing stress/anxiety try stress-relieving activities like yoga or meet with a psychologist to talk things through.
- Thyroid issues: Did you know that your thyroid gland is involved in your body temperature? It regulates heat production. Producing too much thyroid hormone can cause excessive sweating.
- Specific foods: Eating carbs, sugar, or alcohol can make your glucose spike which can lead to your body producing excess adrenaline, causing you to sweat.
- Your meds: Medicines you might be taking for pain, osteoporosis, depression, anxiety, or thyroid issues can cause night sweats. Consult your doctor before you take the meds to know what side effects you might experience.
- Certain cancers: An early symptom of cancers like leukemia, lymphoma, bone cancer, and liver cancer can be night sweats. Though night sweats on their own are not typically a sign of cancer, if you are experiencing other symptoms, talk to your doctor.
Tips for helping with hot flashes/night sweats
Having night sweats mean your sleep gets disturbed. That can lead to grogginess, brain fog, and even irritability the next day. How do you control it?
Here are a few things we recommend tracking when it comes to your hot flashes and night sweats:
- Track all of your medicines and supplements
- Track your menstrual cycle
- Track your stress levels
- Track the things that might be triggering this symptom: the culprit is usually the foods and beverages you are consuming like spicy foods, alcohol, caffeine, and sugary foods
Check your bloodwork:
Bloodwork can confirm whether you have a thyroid issue or if you have entered into peri/menopause.
Add strength training to your workout regimen:
A study found that 45 minutes strength workouts once a week reduced hot flashes and night sweats by 50%!
Stay cooler in bed:
*Try a cooling mattress or sheet, a cooling gel pad, or a bed jet fan. You can opt for just the fitted sheet and not use a top sheet to get rid of the added layer when sleeping. Brands also offer pillows and pillowcases with this cooling technology.
*Wear light pajamas to bed or sleep nude if you feel comfortable.
*Keep the temperature between 60 degrees to 67 degrees.