There are many reasons for night sweats to include pregnancy, certain medications, thyroid conditions, diabetes, obesity, chemotherapy, sleep apnea and anxiety; however, the most common reason for women over the age of forty seems to be the onset of menopause. During menopause women experience hormonal changes which can cause hot flashes and night sweats.
Men can also experience night sweats due to hormonal changes called Andropuase. The good news is that certain lifestyle changes can reduce the severity of night sweats regardless of the reason.
- Be consistent with the time your retire each night
- Get at least eight hours of sleep
- Avoid alcohol at bedtime because it can cause hormone levels to spike and drop suddenly thus leading to hot flashes.
- If night sweats do strike, get up, go to the bathroom and drink a tall glass of water.
- Keep a glass of cool water on your night stand.
- Avoid spicy foods near bedtime
- Cut caffeine before bedtime because it is can trigger night sweats by raising heart rate and blood pressure
- Steer clear of sweets before bedtime because sugar increases your metabolism and in turn generates heat.
- Keep your bedroom at a cool temperature or sleep with an open window to increase air circulation.
- Use temperature regulating sheets, mattress pad and pillows to keep your bed cool.
- Take a cool shower or cool bath before bedtime.
- Avoid hot tubs and jacuzzis before bedtime.
- Review your prescriptiosn and over the counter medications with your doctor because some medications can cause nighttime sweating.
- Keep dry towels next to your bed to dry off if night sweats are severe.
- Try black cohash or vitamin E supplements. Some people tell us that these supplements lessen the severity of hot flashes and night sweats.
- Increase your consumption of soybean products. Researchers have found that women who eat 35-40 milligrams of plant estrogen a day in the form of tofu, soymilk and other soy products seem to experience fewer hot flashes and night sweat episodes.
- Wear micro-fiber pajamas or nightgowns with wicking and quick drying properties like Cool-jams.
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INTERESTING ARTICLES AND INFO FOR WOMEN
NEW FACTS ABOUT MENOPAUSE:
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF NIGHT SWEATS IN MEN AND WOMEN?
MENOPAUSE 101: WHAT IS IT, HOW TO SURVIVE
MANAGING MENOPAUSE SYMPTOMS THROUGH DIET AND EXERCISE
OSTEOPOROSIS AND MENOPAUSE
CAN EXERCISE HELP WITH HOT FLASHES?
NEW FACTS ABOUT MENOPAUSE:
- Two million women turn 50 each year. There are 75 million baby boomers and half are women.
- Over half of all women going through menopause report having night sweats and hot flashes.
- Hormonal fluctuations during perimenopause and menopause are the primary cause of night sweats and hot flashes.
- The average age of menopause is 51 years. The normal age range is 45 to 55.
- An "early menopause" is defined as the last period occurring between the age of 40 to 45. A "late" menopause is defined as a women's final period occurring between the ages of 55 to 60.
For more info about Menopause and other Women's Health Issues, visit our
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WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF NIGHT SWEATS IN MEN AND WOMEN?
There are many reasons for the occurrence of night sweats. Below we discuss ten of the most common reasons for this pesky problem. For whatever reason you, family members or friends suffer from night sweats, moisture wicking pajamas offer a natural solution to the problem.
Menopause starts as the ovaries fail to produce an egg every month. This in turn interrupts the regular pattern of the hormone cycles, and gradually leads to the somewhat chaotic and long-drawn out shutting down of the reproductive system.
The change in menstrual cycles not only causes the levels of
So you thought that women were the only ones to be effected by age related hormonal changes? Low levels of testosterone in men has been reported to cause a male form of menopause called Andropause. Some of the symptoms include loss of libido and potency, nervousness, depression, impaired memory, the inability to concentrate, fatigue, insomnia, hot flashes, and night sweats. Many men suffering from Andropause have found relief with some of the following therapies:
*Testosterone replacement therapy
*Exercise, dietary changes
*Stress reduction through meditation and yoga
*Treatment for depression
Night sweats can occur during pregnancy due to hormonal changes. Normally, the hypothalamus (heat regulatory area in the brain) regulates the body heat. If it's hot outside, it makes the body release heat. And if cold outside, it keeps the heat in the body. However, night sweats during pregnancy are produced because the hypothalamus (the heat regulator) starts overproducing heat.
The declining level of estrogen hormones, associated with pregnancy, are responsible for the malfunction of the hypothalamus (heat regulatory area), which detects an increased body temperature and releases chemicals that cause the skin blood vessels to dilate so the heat can be released; therefore, starting the Night sweats during pregnancy. This process could be accompanied by cold shivering as well. This condition is not serious, just a bit of a nuisance for the pregnant women.
There are many medications that can cause night sweats.Below is a list of the most common medications with this side effect:
*Antidepressant and other psychiatric drugs can lead to night sweats.
*Medicines taken to lower fever such as aspirin and acetaminophen can sometimes lead to sweating.
*niacin (taken in the higher doses used for lipid disorders).
*Steroids such as prednisone and prednisolone, may also be associated with hot flash or night sweats.
- THYROID CONDITION
Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which an overactivethyroid gland produces excessive amounts of thyroid hormones that circulate in the blood.Thyroid hormones regulate
* Night Sweats and excessive sweating
* Heat intolerance
* Increased bowel movements
* Tremor (usually fine shaking)
* Nervousness; agitation
* Rapid heart rate
* Weight loss
* Decreased concentration
* Irregular and scant menstrual flow
If these symptoms are present, it is important to see you physician for further testing and treatment.
Many of the classic signs of low blood sugar - including shakiness, light-headedness, dizziness, confusion, rapid heartbeat, irritability, and extreme hunger - can occur during the day or at night. Nighttime hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) has also been known to cause night sweats, headache, restless sleep, and nightmares.
- EXCESS BODY FAT
Excess body fat can increase the occurrence of night sweats and hot flashes because the body has a more difficult time with it's natural heat thermal regulation. See the article. See the following link for an article on this subject.
Chemotherapy, a common treatment for cancer can leach the the body of estrogen, which brings on menopause in many women. One of the biggest complaints from women going through cancer treatments are the nasty night sweats that
- they must endure. Many of our customers purchase our moisture wicking pajamas for themselves, or as gifts for friends and relatives going through cancer treatments. Cool-jams are a natural and effective way to help combat pesky night sweats.
- SLEEP APNEA
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. These episodes each last long enough so one or more breaths are missed, and occur repeatedly throughout sleep. Sleep apnea is diagnosed with an overnight sleep test called a polysomnogram. Symptoms include, excessive daytime sleepiness, partner reports loud snoring, gasping during sleep and possible night sweats
Stress and anxiety can cause night sweats, resulting in interrupted sleep. The less one sleeps, the worse the anxiety becomes. By working on stress reduction through exercise, meditation and yoga, many people find relief from this sleep issue.[top]
MENOPAUSE 101: WHAT IS IT, HOW TO SURVIVE
DR. ROBERTA WATTLEWORTH, chairwoman of the family practice department at Des Moines University, writes a monthly column for Health.
Even though it is a normal part of life, menopause is a strange and daunting event for women. It is often misunderstood, feared or ignored. It is hoped the following information will help you understand what it is and how to deal with it.
What is menopause?
Every woman is born with a set number of eggs in her ovaries. These eggs remain immature and inactive until puberty. At this point, the pituitary gland stimulates the ovaries to cause some eggs to mature and be released from the ovaries. The egg(s) travel down the fallopian tubes, through the uterus, and out the vagina if fertilization does not take place. During this trip, the hormones estrogen and progesterone are produced in varying quantities by the ovaries. If the egg is not fertilized, the progesterone level drops off, which triggers the lining of the uterus to shed. This is called menstruation, or more commonly referred to as having a period.
The number of eggs in the ovaries diminishes with age, contributing to some fertility problems in women over 40. As the ovaries age, less estrogen may be produced, which can cause periods to become more irregular as menopause approaches.
By definition, menopause occurs when a woman has not had a period for 12 consecutive months, except when the lack of periods is caused by pregnancy followed by breast-feeding, or a medical disorder such as anorexia nervosa. Most women experience menopause between the ages of 45 to 55, with the average age being 51. Many women go through this phase at approximately the same age their mothers did.
About 1 percent of women stop having periods before age 40; this is called premature ovarian failure. The cause is unknown, but it appears to be genetically linked. It also has been associated with autoimmune disorders such as thyroiditis or rheumatoid arthritis.
The approach and beginning of menopause is called perimenopause or the climacteric. Even though the ovaries are less active, and periods more irregular, egg production still takes place. Women who rely on natural family planning or nonhormonal forms of contraception need to be aware that pregnancy still can take place during the perimenopausal time. Once complete, a woman is considered "postmenopausal."
The process is different for each woman. Some stop having periods very abruptly, while some have irregular periods for several years.These periods may consist of light spotting or near hemorrhage conditions at irregular intervals anywhere from two weeks to several months apart.
One reason many women dread menopause is that 70 percent of women experience at least some of the more than 30 common symptoms associated with it. The following are some of the most frequently occurring symptoms:
- Hot flashes: Sudden surges of warmth that spread over the upper torso and face, often accompanied by a flushing of the skin and sweating. Flashes can last from 30 seconds to several minutes, and can wake up women from a sound sleep.
- Menstrual irregularities: As mentioned previously, some women abruptly stop menstruating and some have a four- to five-year phase with periods every two weeks to every four months. Although most cases of irregular menstrual bleeding in the late 40s or early 50s are due to menopause, you should consult a physician if it occurs. Irregular bleeding also could be a sign of endometrial (uterine) cancer.
- Vaginal dryness: Estrogen keeps the lining of the vagina moist. When estrogen drops during menopause, the vaginal tissues can become thin, dry and less elastic. Sexual intercourse can result in discomfort because of dryness, and at times the tissue will tear. Nonhormonal treatment for vaginal dryness includes lubricants such as KY jelly.
- Urinary incontinence: Sometimes urine will leak during coughing, sneezing or heavy lifting.
- Diminished sex drive (loss of libido): Both men and women can lose interest in sex with aging.
- Changes in hair: Hair follicles also are influenced by estrogen, so menopause may involve loss of scalp and pubic hair.
- Osteoporosis: The thickness, or density, of our bones starts to gradually diminish during the fourth decade of life. All women should have a bone density study performed before perimenopause to get a baseline level, followed by a repeat test in two years.
- Sleep disturbances: Studies have found that women have twice the rate of insomnia during menopause than before. Night sweats are a common cause of sleep disruption.
Menopause is a natural process women must go through.
A woman who has her uterus surgically removed will stop having periods, but the ovaries still will produce hormones. In her late 40s or early 50s, she still will experience typical menopause symptoms.
A woman who has both her uterus and ovaries surgically removed will undergo a "surgical menopause" and may experience symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, thinning of hair and mood fluctuations - at times quite severe because of the abrupt hormone change.The following are a few methods for treating the symptoms:
- Hormone replacement therapy involves replacing one or both of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. This is a common way of treating the symptoms of menopause.
- Nonhormonal prescriptions - low-dose antidepressants (especially in the class called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), gabapentin and clonidine (an anti-hypertension drug) can be used to treat hot flashes.
- The use of plant-derived therapies to reduce menopausal symptoms is being studied by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Plants being studied include black cohosh, dong quai, ginseng, kava, red clover and soy extracts.
Although use of these has not been supported with scientific research, they do give options for relief of symptoms for women who are unable or unwilling to take hormone replacement therapy.
- Acupuncture is being researched as a means to treat recurrent, severe hot flashes. No conclusions have been reached to date.[top]
MANAGING MENOPAUSE SYMPTOMS THROUGH DIET AND EXERCISE
As a woman enters perimenopause she begins to experience a variety of symptoms. She might have hot flashes or night sweats, feel irritable, anxious or have headaches. Other symptoms include low libido, depression and dry skin. Whatever the symptoms are, it usually has to do with fluctuations in a woman's hormone levels which cause all sorts of problems during the menopausal years. Some women seem to breeze through menopause with a few mild problems, while others are so debilitated with major symptoms, they have difficulty maneuvering through life. For many women, symptoms like night sweats and hot flashes can last well into their sixties.
Recently there's been much research done on foods that help to ease menopausal symptoms. Certain foods and lifestyle changes hold promise as natural remedies for combating the problems associated with menopause. By eating the right foods and increasing exercise, science has shown that women can keep their bodies healthy and their minds happy well into their golden years.
Let's examine some of these diet and lifestyle changes to understand what might help.
- Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
Naturally fruits and vegetables offer many health benefits that we are already familiar with...lots of fiber, vitamins, minerals, but there also seem to be menopausal reasons to eat more fruits and vegetables. In fact, the phytoestrogens in plants are chemicals that mimic estrogen, and may act as weak estrogen in our bodies. Phytoestrogens can potentially help ease some of the discomforts caused by lower estrogen levels during menopause.
The mineral boron is an especially helpful element found in many of fruits and vegetables. Boron seems to increase the body's ability to hold onto estrogen. It also helps keep our bones strong by decreasing the amount of calcium we excrete each day. The following foods contain both Boron and phytoestrogens. Try to include at least two of these foods in each meal. It's easy to add fruit to your cereal and a glass of juice to your breakfast. Have a big salad at lunch with all kinds of vegetables. Add a serving of baked sweet potato and steamed vegetables to your dinner. With these simple changes you are adding 6 servings per day of phytoestrogens. Below are some of the fruits and vegetables high in Boron and Phytoestrogens.
FRUITS: Plums , strawberries, raspberries, apples, pears, red grapes, grapefruit, peach, bananas, dates, prunes, raisins, avocado and oranges.
VEGETABLES: Beets, bell peppers, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, soybeans, sweet potatoes, white potatoes
Turnips, asparagus, tomatoes, garbanzo beans
NUTS AND GRAINS: brazil nuts, walnuts, almonds, cashews, peanuts, hazel nuts, wheat and wheat bran
- Consume More Cooked Dry Beans
There are many varieties of beans...lentils, kidney, navy, pinto, black to name a few. Beans are a nutritionally efficient food because they offer so many health benefits. They slow the absorption of glucose in the bloodstream, thus curbing your appetite for a longer period of time. They're full of fiber and contain phytoestrogens. Beans are a good source of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, folic acid and vitamin B-6 and are a low-fat source of protein. To increase your bean consumption, add them to burritos, wraps, soups, chili, salads and dips.
- Eat More Soy and Soy products
There are many benefits to consuming soy and soy protects. Some research indicates that it might help with hot flashes and night sweats, as well as protect our heart and arteries by lowering bad cholesterol. Try eating two servings a day to start. Consume soy by adding tofu to stir fried vegetables, smoothies with soy protein, soy milk, edaname beans, soy protein bars, soy butter.
- Eat More of the Right Fats
It is important to avoid eating a diet that is high in fat, especially saturated fat and trans fats. Saturated fats are found in meats and high fat dairy products. Trans fats are found in many types of junk foods. Due to all the negative publicity surrounding trans fats, many fast food companies are beginning to make changes in the type of oil they use in food preparation. High-fat foods are usually high in calories and low in nutrients, exactly the opposite of what a menopausal women needs. It's even more important to get the right fats in your diet -- fats that may protect against heart disease and cancer. The healthy fats are the fats high in omega 3 fatty acids like fish oil, olive oil and canola oil. Increase your healthy fat consumption by using olive and canola oil in cooking and salad dressings, eating more fish, eating less meat, reading labels and avoiding packaged products with trans fats or hydrogenated fats. If you consume margarine, use only those that list liquid canola or olive oil as the first ingredient.
- Eat More Whole Grains
The complex carbohydrates found in whole grains provide the body with the energy it needs to operate at peak levels. Whole grains fill you up with the fiber they contain. The Complex carbs found in whole grains help to boost serotonin levels which are the key components to a healthy mental state. Eat low sugar whole grain cereals, whole wheat pasta, brown rice and whole grain breads. Avoid white bread, regular pasta and white rice and pastries.
- Eat More Calcium-Rich Foods
Calcium is essential to every woman's health. Women require at least 1200 mg of calcium each day to keep their bones and joints healthy. Increase your calcium consumption by having cereal with skim milk for breakfast, calcium fortified orange juice, switch to lattes rather than regular coffee, eat lots of leafy greens which contain calcium, eat yogurt, cottage cheese or low fat hard cheeses. Try to include at least 3-4 servings of calcium rich foods each day.
- Eat fruit and nuts instead of high fat/high sugar desserts.
Weight gain is common during menopause, so it is important to watch the amount of desserts and sweets that you consume. Too much sugar in your diet can cause blood sugar to spike, which stimulates the pancreas to release more insulin. Excess insulin speeds the conversion of calories into fats in the blood. And it stimulates the uptake of fat from the bloodstream into fat in the body's cells.
It is hard to give up the sweets completely, so if you can't resist stick to a small square of really good dark antioxidant filled chocolate when you have the craving. Otherwise, try to replace your sweet cravings with dried fruit, a handful of nuts, or a piece of fresh fruit which all have nutritional value to give the body the energy that it needs to function.
- Drink Water
Don't waste your precious calories on soda or other sweet drinks. There is no nutritional benefit gained by drinking either regular or diet sodas. Try to drink at least six to eight glasses of water a day. Water helps to keep our kidneys flushed and healthy, thus allowing your body to work at a peak level.
- Eat at Least 3-6 times a day
Your body needs energy throughout the day, so feed the body to avoid low energy slumps. Try to avoid consuming your biggest meal at the end of the day. Remember what grandma used to say, 'Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen and dinner like a pauper". If you are eating 6 times a day by adding snacks between meals, make sure that you eat healthy, low fat snacks which include the foods described above. Low fat yogurt, fresh fruit, sliced raw vegetables and whole grain toast or crackers are all excellent snack choices.
- Add Omega 3 fish oils or flax seed to Your Diet
Some research indicates that omega 3 fish oils or flax seed( rich in omega 3) can help ease depression as well as a host of other menopausal symptoms. By adding these supplements to your diet, you'll also realize the wonderful benefits of the antioxidants. Antioxidants help to keep your immune system strong if they are taken on a daily basis. Fish oils are available in tablet form at any health food store. You can add ground flax seed to your daily cereal, but remember to keep it in the refrigerator and grind just before you use to prevent spoilage.
- Exercise Every Day
Exercise should be an important part of each and every day. Not only does exercise keep your body healthy, but it does wonders for your mental state. By exercising every day for at least 1 hour you will decrease blood cholesterol levels, decrease bone loss, improve your ability to deal with stress, improves circulation , can help improve memory , improve heart function and improve your body's ability to use oxygen and nutrients and most importantly help to manage weight that is so easy to gain during menopause. Try walking/hiking, running, biking, rowing, yoga or Pilates . Remember there are no right or wrong types of exercise. If it is something you enjoy and it gets your body moving, it's a good thing.[top]
OSTEOPOROSIS AND MENOPAUSE:
About 10 million people currently suffer from osteoporosis...80% are women. Another 34 million have low bone mass, which can lead to the disease. Among women age 50 and older, 20 percent of Caucasian and Asian descent have osteoporosis. Only about 5 percent of black women and 10 percent of Hispanic women are affected. The disease seems to effect small boned women most often.
Other risk factors include:
- People who have had a fracture
- Those with vitamin D deficiencies
- Women in early menopause
- Women with a history of irregular or missed menstrual cycles
- Gastrointestinal disease
- Thyroid conditions
To keep bones strong and to help improve bone density, the National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends:
- Take 1200 milligrams of calcium a day for people older than 50; about 1,000 milligrams for those younger. Calcium is found in dairy foods and from some green vegetables and is added to a lot of foods and drinks, including orange juice.
- Take 800 to 1000 International Units of vitamin D3 daily (the form of the vitamin that best supports bone health)
- Do some form of weight bearing exercise every day. This includes strength yoga, walking, running or weight lifting.
- Do not smoke.
Osteoporosis, is caused by the loss of calcium from the matrix of bone cells. It is a natural process that is sped up in women by the onset of a menopause, when the body stops producing estrogen.
Women lose 4 percent to 5 percent of bone mass per year in the first five to seven years of menopause, so this is when it is extra important to follow the recommendations above. The disease is very silent, yet preventable. So ladies don't feel guilty about those daily lattes because they are doing your bones good.[top]
CAN EXERCISE HELP WITH HOT FLASHES?
A recent study from the Annals of Behavioral Medicine found that women who walked three times a week... working up to one hour of walking at moderate to high intensity or who praticed yoga for 90 minutes twice a week had fewer hot flashes than those who did not exercise. On days you don't exercise, controlled breathing, the kind of breathing taught in yoga classes might also help. Inhale through your nose for a count of three, then exhale through your mouth for a count of five.
With yoga and walking alternated each week your body and mind will stay fit and healthy with the added benefit of reduced menopausal symptoms. Sounds like a win-win solution! Namaste.[top]