Hot Flashes & Night Sweats

If you get hot flashes and night sweats, you’re not alone. It’s estimated that up to 75 percent of women in the perimenopause or menopause stages of life in the United States report experiencing them.

Menopausal hot flashes are sudden feelings of intense body heat that can occur during the day or night. Night sweats are periods of heavy sweating, or hyperhidrosis, associated with hot flashes that occur at night. They can often wake women up from sleep.

While they’re naturally occurring, menopausal hot flashes and night sweats can be uncomfortable, even causing sleep disruption and discomfort.

They’re your body’s reactions to the hormonal changes associated with perimenopause and menopause. While it’s not guaranteed that following a specific lifestyle will prevent these symptoms, there are some easy things you can try.

Avoid triggers

Stay away from these triggers, which are known in some people to elicit hot flashes and night sweats:

  • smoking and inhaling secondhand smoke
  • wearing tight, restrictive clothing
  • using heavy blankets or sheets on your bed
  • drinking alcohol and caffeine
  • eating spicy foods
  • being in warm rooms
  • experiencing excess stress
Helpful habits to establish

There are other everyday habits that can help prevent hot flashes and night sweats. These include:

Find relief when you’re trying to sleep

If hot flashes and night sweats strike when you’re trying to sleep, knowing how to find relief quickly can spare you a night of discomfort. Some things to try include:

Add natural foods and supplements to your diet

Adding natural foods and supplements to your diet on a long-term basis may help reduce hot flashes and night sweats. Research has been mixed about how effective these supplements are for treating hot flashes and night sweats, but some women have found relief using them.

Because these products may have significant side effects or interact with other medications, you should consult your doctor before taking them.

Here are a few you might want to try:

You can also talk to your doctor about prescription therapies or over-the-counter (OTC) supplements that can help you find relief. They may suggest:

Bottom Line:

What works for one woman to relieve hot flashes and night sweats might not work for another. If you’re trying different treatments, it can be useful to keep a sleep diary so you can determine what helps you most. It may take time to find a treatment that works well for you. Make sure to talk to your doctor before trying any herbal medications or supplements.

References:
Black cohosh. (2016).
nccih.nih.gov/health/blackcohosh/ataglance.htm
Evening primrose oil. (2016).
nccih.nih.gov/health/eveningprimrose
Hot flashes. (n.d.).
menopause.org/for-women/sexual-health-menopause-online/causes-of-sexual-problems/hot-flashes
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2018). Night sweats.  
mayoclinic.org/symptoms/night-sweats/basics/definition/sym-20050768
Menopause: Non-hormonal treatment and relief for hot flashes. (2017).  
my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/15223-menopause-non-hormonal-treatment--relief-for-hot-flashes
Taku K, et al. (2012). Extracted or synthesized soybean isoflavones reduce menopausal hot flash frequency and severity: Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials [Abstract].   
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22433977
https://www.healthline.com/health/menopause/hot-flashes-at-night
https://www.healthline.com/about/medical-team
https://www.healthline.com/authors/erica-cirino

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