Understanding Hot Flashes and Night Sweats

Woman Sweating Holding A Glass Of Water

Understanding Hot Flashes and Night Sweats

Woman Sweating Holding A Glass Of Water

Picture this: you’re peacefully asleep, wrapped in your cozy blankets, when suddenly, your body feels like it’s on fire. Or you’re about to give a presentation at work and you get a sudden wave of internal heat rising in your chest and neck while you pray no one notices you blushing.

Welcome to the world of hot flashes and night sweats, two of the most notorious companions of perimenopause and menopause! Let’s shed some light on these common symptoms and explore strategies to keep your cool when things get heated.

Woman Sweating Holding A Glass Of Water

Hot Flashes: What’s Cooking?

Hot flashes, often felt during waking hours, can also make an unwelcome appearance while you sleep. These sudden surges of heat stem from hormonal changes, particularly estrogen fluctuations. The hypothalamus, your body’s internal thermostat, gets a bit confused during menopause. It triggers blood vessels to dilate, causing heat and redness. You’re not alone – millions of women experience this, making it a common yet often under-discussed topic. [1]

Night Sweats: When Dreams Turn Steamy

Night sweats, like hot flashes’ nocturnal cousins, can disrupt your sleep. Imagine waking up drenched, sheets damp, feeling as if you’ve just survived a monsoon. These are often an extension of daytime hot flashes, making sleep quality a challenge for many women during menopause. [2]

Woman Sitting On Ground Near Fog Meditating

Coping Strategies:

Layer Up: Dressing in lightweight, breathable layers allows for easy adjustment when a hot flash strikes. Opt for lightweight, moisture-wicking sleepwear and breathable bedding to help regulate body temperature.

Stay Hydrated: Sipping cool water throughout the day can help regulate body temperature and prevent dehydration.
Mind-Body Techniques: Practices like deep breathing, meditation, and yoga have been shown to alleviate the frequency and intensity of hot flashes.[2]

Track Triggers: Get curious about when your hot flashes happen. Though seemingly random, often things like alcohol, caffeine, low blood sugar, and stress can ignite an episode.

Seeking Support

If hot flashes and night sweats are severely affecting your sleep or daily life, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional. They can provide insights and recommendations tailored to your situation. It has been shown that hormone replacement therapy and other medical management can be safe and effective. [3]

Hot flashes and night sweats might be unwelcome visitors, but they’re part of the menopausal journey. By understanding their causes and adopting strategies to manage them, you can navigate these heat waves with a touch more comfort and a lot less frustration.

If you’re looking for personalized support and a mind-body approach to managing your symptoms and creating a healthy lifestyle you can actually keep up with for now and decades to come, I’d love to chat!

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1. Freedman, R. R. (2005). “Pathophysiology and treatment of menopausal hot flashes.” Seminars in Reproductive Medicine, 23(2), 117-125. doi:10.1055/s-2005-864014 ↩
2. Gold, E. B., Sternfeld, B., Kelsey, J. L., Brown, C., Mouton, C., Reame, N., … & Salamone, L. (2000). “Relation of demographic and lifestyle factors to symptoms in a multi-racial/ethnic population of women 40–55 years of age.” American Journal of Epidemiology, 152(5), 463-473. doi:10.1093/aje/152.5.463 ↩
3. Bansal, R., & Aggarwal, N. (2019). Menopausal Hot Flashes: A Concise Review. Journal of Midlife Health, 10(1), 6–13. doi: 10.4103/jmh.JMH_7_19

Written by Allison Poole, PT, MPT, WHC

Allison takes a modern approach to women's hormone and pelvic health by taking the hard work and confusion out of caring for your body. She combines her 20 years of clinical expertise, compassion and personal experience to help women navigate perimenopause and menopause with ease.

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