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Night-time sweats and hot flushes

Menopause symptoms and treatments.

Night-time sweats and hot flushes

Many women go through the perimenopause and menopause with frequent symptoms including hot flushes and night sweats. They are frequently linked to hormonal changes, notably a drop in oestrogen levels. Night sweats can be a sign of more serious conditions and thus blood tests should be performed to exclude other such causes.

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What are hot flushes and night sweats?

Hot flushes and night sweats are frequent symptoms of menopause for many women.

Hot Flushes

Hot flushes are acute feelings of warmth that are often accompanied by sweating and skin reddening, notably on the face, neck, and chest.

These episodes might run from a few seconds to several minutes and can happen numerous times per day.

Hot flushes are thought to be caused by hormonal variations, namely a reduction in oestrogen levels, which affects the body’s internal temperature regulation.

Sweating at Night

Night sweats are episodes of excessive sweating while sleeping, which frequently results in moist or soggy sleepwear and bedding.

Night sweats, like hot flushes, are connected with hormonal changes during menopause, resulting in greater sensitivity to temperature fluctuations.

Night sweats can interfere with sleep and add to exhaustion and drowsiness during the day.

Hot flushes and night sweats are commonly related to the hormonal changes that occur during menopause, which affect the body’s thermoregulatory system. While these symptoms are considered a normal component of the menopausal experience, their influence on everyday living might vary greatly.


Possible contributory factors to hot flushes and night sweats in the menopause

Hormonal fluctuations: The fall in oestrogen levels that takes place during perimenopause cause withdrawal symptoms including night sweats and hot flushes, akin to an alcoholic who stops drinking. The body’s ability to regulate its temperature can be interfered with by fluctuating hormone levels, resulting in abrupt hot sensations and sweating.

Vasodilation: The enlargement of blood vessels frequently occurs together with hot flushes. The skin may become redder and warmer as a result of increased blood flow there.

Lifestyle factors: Some lifestyle choices might cause or exacerbate hot flushes and nocturnal sweats. These consist of:

  • Spicy food: Some people have hot flushes after eating spicy foods.
  • Caffeine and alcohol: Both substances have the potential to raise body temperature and exacerbate symptoms.
  • Stress and anxiety: Emotional tension and anxiety have the power to start or worsen hot flashes and night sweats. Although the precise mechanisms are not entirely known, it is thought that stress activates the sympathetic nervous system of the body, which can affect how the body regulates body temperature.

Medications and health issues: Some prescription drugs and health issues might cause night sweats and hot flashes. These consist of:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), one type of antidepressant, can trigger or exacerbate hot flushes.
  • Specific cancer therapies; night sweats and hot flushes are two menopause-like symptoms that may be transitory or permanent as a result of radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
  • Thyroid disorders: An overactive or underactive thyroid can interfere with hormonal balance and cause symptoms similar to hot flushes.
  • Certain infections: Several illnesses, including HIV and TB, can cause night sweats.

Treatment for hot flushes and night sweats

Treatment for hot flushes and night sweats during menopause can take a variety of forms, depending on the severity of the symptoms and individual preferences. Several strategies are commonly used to address these menopausal symptoms:

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): Women who experience severe symptoms that materially impair their quality of life may want to think about hormone replacement therapy. In order to help balance hormone levels and relieve symptoms, it entails the use of drugs combining oestrogen and progesterone (in women with uteruses) or oestrogen alone (in women who have undergone hysterectomy). HRT can be very successful, but not everyone should use it. It’s crucial to go over the potential advantages and hazards with a medical professional.

Non-hormonal medicines: If HRT is not an option or is not preferred, a number of non-hormonal drugs may be recommended to control hot flushes and night sweats. These include gabapentin, selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These drugs have demonstrated modest usefulness in lowering the frequency and severity of symptoms. The drug Fezolinetant was licensed in the US in May and could be approved for use in the UK by the end of 2023.

Lifestyle modifications: Certain lifestyle adjustments can relieve symptoms and enhance general wellbeing. Think about the following:

  • Wearing breathable, lightweight clothing in layers to make it simple to adapt to temperature changes.
  • The use fans or air conditioning to maintain a cool environment.
  • Avoiding stressors including smoking, coffee, alcohol, and spicy meals.
  • Regular exercise may assist in reducing the frequency and intensity of symptoms.
  • Practicing stress-reduction methods like yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises.
  • Choosing a balanced diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and maintaining a healthy weight
  • A Chillow®: or similar cooling pad or pillow