Other reasons you could be having night sweats beyond peri/menopause
Have you started having night sweats and think it's just part of what happens in peri/menopause? Not so fast! There might be other reasons you are having night sweats, and we are here to make sure you get to the bottom of it.
What causes night sweats?
It’s always essential for you to understand your body. So we want to provide you with a breakdown of what is happening in your body when you are having 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 around 40 or older.
We all know our bodies should remain at around 98 degrees. 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. Yes, our friend estrogen is back at it again. 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
If you aren’t having other symptoms from peri/menopause (like vaginal dryness, irregular periods, or weight gain to name a few) it might be something else you should discuss with your doctor. Here is a list of other reasons for your 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 an area involved in your body temperature? It regulates heat production. Producing too much thyroid hormone can cause excessive sweating.
- What you are consuming: The food you eat can make you sweat! If you eat carbs, sugar, or alcohol it makes your glucose spike which can lead to your body producing excess adrenaline, causing you to sweat.
- A side effect of your meds: Medicines you might be taking for pain, osteoporosis, depression, anxiety, or thyroid issues can cause night sweats. You should 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 give you night sweats.
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?
MenoLabs believes in tracking your symptoms so much that we created a tool to make sure you were ready for your next doctor’s visit with our app, MenoLife! 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
Bloodwork can confirm if it’s a thyroid issue or if you have entered into peri/menopause.
Something to add to your workout regimen:
A study found that 45 minutes strength workouts once a week reduced hot flashes and night sweats by 50%!
It keeps coming back to what you eat:
Replace junk food with healthy fruits and vegetables and get ready to see a difference!
Try something new with your bed:
Try a cooling mattress or sheet to see if it helps. These days, there are a lot of companies offering this type of technology. Do the research online and in person to see what the best option for you might be. Also, ask friends and family if they have tried any brands that you are interested in. A few we found through our research;
The most popular: Helix Midnight LUXE
The best price: Cocoon by Sealy Chill Hybrid
The best for back pain: Casper Wave with Snow Technology
Washable silk sheets: Lunya
Tip: 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.
What it comes down to
Your sleep experience is very important and affects many aspects of your daily life. Since you might experience this symptom for up to 7 years, it’s best to find a way to make it a little easier. Make sure, no matter what you think might be causing your night sweats, to meet with your doctor to ensure you aren’t overlooking any underlying cause.