What Causes Nightsweats in Menopause is Mostly Unknown, But There is Relief

No one knows exactly what causes nightsweats in menopause. Many factors vary, including the average age of menopause, the age at which nightsweats begin and the age at which they end.

The menopausal transition is typically broken down into four categories. They are pre-menopause, peri-menopause, menopause and post-menopause. During pre-menopause, a woman may experience some symptoms associated with fluctuating hormonal levels, but her menstrual periods are regular. During peri-menopause, which literally means the time “around” menopause, a woman’s menstrual periods have become irregular, possibly heavier, possibly lighter and she may begin to have some symptoms that are typically associated with menopause.

During menopause, a woman begins to miss periods, sometimes for several months in a row. A woman can still become pregnant during this time. Once she has not had a menstrual period for a full year, she can no longer become pregnant and is considered to be post-menopausal.

The average age of menopause is 51. The average age of menopause in women who smoke is about two years younger or around 49. Peri-menopause may begin three or four years before actual menopause. Although experts are not sure about what causes nightsweats in menopause, they know that about 50% of all women experience them. About 10% experience them during pre-menopause and the percentage increases during peri-menopause. Without treatment, about 50% of all post-menopausal women experience hot flashes and night sweats for three or more years.

Researchers investigating what causes nightsweats in menopause have clues, but no clear answers. They know that women who must have their ovaries surgically removed due to illness or injury typically have severe hot flashes and night sweats. Men who must take hormone suppressing drugs have similar symptoms. These facts indicate that night sweats are either directly or indirectly related to decreased levels of circulating hormones. In other words, low levels of estrogen or other hormones typically produced by the ovaries may cause night sweats. This theory is further supported by the effectiveness of hormone replacement therapy in relieving these symptoms.

If a woman is among the 10% that begins to experience night sweats during pre-menopause, continues to have them during peri-menopause, menopause and post-menopause, then she could suffer from them for seven or more years. Although they are not life-threatening, they can greatly affect the quality of a woman’s sleep and her overall quality of life. However, researchers know that the health risks associated with hormone replacement therapy greatly outweigh the benefits. It is also known that long-term use of hormone replacement therapy increases the health risks, which include blood clots and stroke. Thus, experts recommend that if a woman chooses to use HRT, she should use the lowest possible dosage for the shortest period of time.

Women who have nightsweats for many years need other solutions. Changes in lifestyle and diet often help relieve hot flashes during the day, but nightsweats do not respond as well to these types of therapies. However, it is always wise to lead a healthy lifestyle, get regular exercise and eat a healthy diet. Improving one’s lifestyle typically improves one’s overall since of well-being.

Researchers investigating what relieves, rather than what causes nightsweats in menopause have come up with some alternatives. Certain anti-depressants relive symptoms in some women, but increase sweating in others and they have not been approved by the FDA for this purpose. Acupuncture may be helpful, but positive results have been inconsistent.

Black cohosh and a number of other herbs used in traditional medicine have been scientifically evaluated. Some manufacturers of dietary supplements have created their own proprietary blend for relieving numerous menopausal symptoms. There are a number of vitamins and plant components that may be helpful.

We may never know exactly menopause-and-pms-guide.com/ what causes nightsweats in menopause, but we can get relief. It may require a little trial and error to find the most effective product, but it is advisable to make the effort, before resorting to hormone replacement therapy. To learn more about natural products that relieve menopausal symptoms, please visit the menopause-and-pms-guide.com/ Menopause and PMS Guide.

Patsy Hamilton was a health care professional for over twenty years before becoming a freelance writer. Currently she is writing a series of articles about women’s health. Read more at menopause-and-pms-guide.com menopause-and-pms-guide.com

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