Remember when getting hot and sweaty was a GOOD thing?
Now, you may have irregular periods, mood swings, weight gain, or trouble sleeping.
You may also experience sudden waves of heat and sweating.
These are called hot flashes and night sweats, and they are common symptoms of perimenopause.
Perimenopause is the time when your body transitions from the reproductive years to menopause, the end of your menstrual cycles.
Perimenopause can last from a few months to several years, and it is different for every woman.
During perimenopause, your hormone levels fluctuate, causing various physical and emotional changes.
HOT FLASHES (OR HOT FLUSHES) AND NIGHT SWEATS
Hot flashes and night sweats are caused by the changes in your estrogen levels, which affect your brain’s ability to regulate your body temperature.
When your estrogen level drops, your brain thinks you are too hot and sends signals to your blood vessels to dilate and release heat.
This causes a sensation of warmth, flushing, and sweating, usually in your face, neck, and chest.
Hot flashes can last from a few seconds to several minutes, and they can occur at any time of the day or night.
Night sweats **are **hot flashes that happen while you are sleeping, and they can disrupt your sleep quality and make you feel tired and irritable.
Hot flashes and night sweats can be uncomfortable and bothersome, but they are not harmful or dangerous.
However, they can affect your quality of life and well-being, so it is important to find ways to manage them.
**MANAGING HOT FLASHES AND NIGHT SWEATS **
Here are some tips to help you cope with hot flashes and night sweats during perimenopause:
Identify and avoid triggers.
Some factors can trigger or worsen hot flashes and night sweats, such as
- spicy foods,
- anxiety, and
- tight clothing.
Track your symptoms and their frequency, severity, duration, and try to identify what triggers your symptoms and avoid or limit them as much as possible.
This can help you find patterns and adjust your lifestyle accordingly.
Dress in layers and use fans.
Wear light, breathable, and loose-fitting clothing, preferably made of natural fabrics such as cotton or linen.
Dress in layers that you can easily remove or add as needed.
Avoid synthetic fabrics, wool, or silk, which can trap heat and make you sweat more.
Keep your bedroom cool and well-ventilated, and use fans, air conditioners, or humidifiers to create a comfortable environment.
Use cotton sheets and blankets, and avoid heavy comforters or quilts.
You can also keep a cold pack or a bottle of water near your bed to cool yourself down if you have a hot flash or a night sweat.
Practice relaxation techniques and exercise regularly.
Stress and anxiety can trigger or worsen hot flashes and night sweats, so it is important to find healthy ways to relax and cope with your emotions.
You can try meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, massage, aromatherapy, or any other activity that helps you calm down and feel good.
Relaxation techniques can also help you fall asleep faster and sleep better, which can improve your mood and energy levels.
Exercise can also help you manage your symptoms, as it can
- improve your blood circulation,
- lower your blood pressure,
- balance your hormones, and
- reduce stress.
Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week, but avoid exercising right before bedtime, as it can raise your body temperature and make you more prone to hot flashes and night sweats.
Consider hormone therapy or other medications.
If your symptoms are severe and interfere with your daily life, you may want to talk to your health care provider about hormone therapy or other medications that can help you.
Hormone therapy involves taking estrogen or a combination of estrogen and progesterone to replace the hormones that your ovaries stop producing during perimenopause.
Hormone therapy can reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes and night sweats, as well as prevent osteoporosis and vaginal dryness.
However, hormone therapy also has some risks and side effects in some cases, such as increased risk of
- blood clots,
- breast cancer, and
- heart disease.
Hormone therapy is not suitable for everyone, so you should discuss the benefits and risks with your health care provider before starting it.
Other medications that can help with hot flashes and night sweats include antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and blood pressure drugs.
These medications can affect the brain chemicals that regulate your body temperature and mood, and they can also have some side effects, such as nausea, drowsiness, dry mouth, and weight gain.
You should consult your health care provider about the best option for you, and follow their instructions on how to use the medications safely and effectively.
Try some home remedies and alternative therapies.
Some home remedies and alternative therapies may also help you manage your symptoms, such as herbal teas, supplements, acupuncture, or hypnosis.
However, the evidence for their effectiveness and safety is limited or conflicting, and they may interact with other medications or conditions you have.
Therefore, you should always check with your health care provider before trying any home remedies or alternative therapies, and use them with caution and moderation.
Hot flashes and night sweats are common and normal symptoms of perimenopause, and they usually go away after you reach menopause.
However, they can also affect your quality of life and well-being, so it is important to find ways to manage them.
By identifying and avoiding triggers, dressing in layers and using fans, practicing relaxation techniques and exercising regularly, and considering hormone therapy or other medications, you can manage with hot flashes and night sweats during perimenopause and enjoy this stage of your life.
The information and other content provided in this blog, website or in any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.