Night Sweats Explained

You go to sleep comfortably and peacefully, only to wake up in the middle of the night with pajamas and a pillow cases that are drenched in sweat. While night sweats are not uncommon, they can be very alarming, and they can most definitely sabotage a good night’s sleep. If you are like most women, you can blame your hormones on this nightly disruption.

The Hormone and Night Sweat Connection

For women, hormones can play a critical role in your mood, your weight and even your body temperature control while you sleep. In fact, a leading cause of night sweats in women is fluctuating estrogen levels. This can occur during your monthly menstrual cycle, pregnancy, post-partum, perimenopause and menopause. Of these special stages in a woman’s life, menopause is known for the most persistent night sweats, as menopausal women often experience hot flashes during the day and night sweats while they sleep. Although they can certainly feel never-ending, these types of night sweats typically don’t last forever. A recent Cemcor article states that “almost two thirds of women have hot flushes/night sweats in the final year of perimenopause, these continue for two years on average, but have gone away for all except 10-20 percent in the five years following menopause.”

Why You Should Never Dismiss Night Sweats

While you can be fairly certain your night sweats are hormonally triggered if you experience them during a certain time each month, after you’ve had a baby or alongside other menopausal symptoms, it is important that you discuss your nightly sweating with your physician just to be sure. Not only can your gynecologist recommend ways to eliminate or reduce night sweats that are driven by estrogen imbalance, but a physician can also rule out other potential causes.

Night sweats aren’t always a result of hormones, as they can happen in both men and women at any age. Other causes include both harmless and serious conditions, such as excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis), an infection in your body, an antidepressants side effect or underlying lymphoma. Infrequent night sweats can also be due to something spicy that you ate for dinner or even your stressful week at work.

Night Sweat Relief

If your gynecologist confirms that your night sweats are caused by hormones, you may have the option of taking hormone-replacement therapy to ease your symptoms. Other women choose to turn down the house thermostat, sleep on a cooling pillow, apply progesterone cream before bed or try other remedies to promote a more comfortable night’s sleep.

For more information on treating night sweats and other menopause symptoms, please contact North Point OB/GYN. We welcome the opportunity to help women find a more comfortable and enjoyable lifestyle despite fluctuating hormones.

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