This article will not only focus on what causes night sweats for peri menopausal and menopausal women but also potential treatments for this persistent problem. Some have called night sweats “the nocturnal cousin of hot flashes” and most women wish this cousin would leave their bedroom.
In researching this article I came across numerous comments that described the physical experience of night sweats. Here’s just a couple:
“I wake up usually after four hours of sleep completely drenched . . . ”
“It’s as if someone has tipped water over me. I’m soaked, and so are the sheets.”
I remember when my wife Sherry would experience her night sweats. Usually she would suddenly wake up around 1 or 2 am completely drenched in sweat. She would be hot and out of breath and need to change her night gown. She would then turn on the fan to try to help cool her. Sometimes the bed was soaking wet so she would take her fan and go to the couch. Returning to sleep was difficult and she was very tired in the mornings. This usually happened several times a week until we accidently found something that has completely eliminated both her hot flashes and night sweats. I’ll talk about this when we review the potential treatments for getting rid of this nocturnal cousin.
It’s estimated that 75% of American menopausal women experience night sweats. I say American because most Asian women don’t even come close to experiencing the same level of menopausal symptoms. Of the common symptoms of peri menopause and menopause, hot flashes and night sweats are usually the top two. Women who suffer from night sweats will often experience:
Finding an effective treatment program is important to a woman’s overall health and well being. But first we need to understand what causes night sweats.
What Causes Night Sweats!
Some experts in this area will say that the exact cause of night sweats is unknown. However, most experts will point to hormonal imbalance as the underlining cause because it can have a profound effect on the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is located at the base of your brain. One of its primary responsibilities is the regulation of body temperature. During peri menopause the levels of estrogen are erratic and begin a steady and permanent decline. This negatively affects your hormonal balance which in turn affects the hypothalamus and its ability to regulate body temperature. This causes the body to experience uncontrolled vasodilation and vasoconstriction leading to the physiological reactions of hot flashes and night sweats.
In researching what causes night sweats I couldn’t find any comparative information on the severity of night sweats versus hot flashes. My overall feeling in reviewing the literature is that hot flashes occur in greater frequency but the overall intensity of night sweats is greater. If this is true then it can have a greater negative impact on overall well being since sleep is affected. While this is conjecture on my part it’s what I noticed for my wife and it would make physiological sense. Sleep is needed to help the body rebalance and heal itself. The hypothalamus plays an important role in this process. If it’s affected by hormonal imbalances then it could have its greatest impact while you sleep.
In looking at what causes night sweats there may be other underlining medical conditions like infection, diabetes, anxiety, stress, neurological disorders, thyroid problems, cancer, sleep apnea, certain medications, obesity, heart disease and pregnancy. Because of these potential causes a trip to the doctor’s office would be recommended so that what causes night sweats can be accurately diagnosed for you.
Potential Treatments for Night Sweats!
In looking at what causes night sweats and potential treatments for this problem there are some clues that are important to remember:
With this in mind your potential treatments can be classified into three categories: triggers, hormonal replacement therapy, and alternative or natural remedies. Let’s look at each.
Triggers – There seems to be certain triggers that can affect both the intensity and frequency of night sweats. Avoiding them may help to lessen and alleviate night sweats. They are:
Let’s work backwards from this list. Anything that has the potential of raising your core temperature can make it more difficult for your hypothalamus to regulate your body temperature. This could even mean the proximity of your bed partner. Added stress and anxiety can throw off your hormonal balance compounding your hormonal imbalance and its affect on your hypothalamus. Smoking, caffeine, alcohol and spicy foods can affect your cardiovascular system as well as contribute to hormonal imbalances.
The above list is all about lifestyle choices so we need to add diet and exercise. Reducing your consumption of animal protein and replacing it with plant based protein sources can have a profound affect on menopausal symptoms. Plus, there are numerous studies showing that a minimum of 20 minutes of aerobic exercise done 3 times per week can have positive results in this area.
Hormonal Replacement Therapy – This used to be the number one option for women until 2002 and the Women’s Health Initiative study. The results of this study strongly suggested that conventional hormone replacement therapy increased the risk for heart disease, cancer, stroke, and blood clotting in women. In fact the connection was so strong that the study was canceled, the findings published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) and its data has not been disputed since its publication.
While this can be an effective treatment program for what causes night sweats it has some very serious potential health risks. Thus, seek professional healthcare guidance if you chose this option.
Alternative or Natural Remedies – Since 2002, there has been a flood of alternative or natural remedies. Some have always existed and others have been created. Common to this area is confusion about what works and an overwhelming amount of products that can compound this confusion. To help sort this out we need to remember the important clues to what causes night sweats:
With this in mind your alternative remedies for night sweats need to focus on how they affect these three clues. Specifically for night sweats the focus has been on two specific areas and I would like to suggest a third. They are: Herbal Remedies, Soy Protein and Isoflavones, and an L-arginine / L-citrulline Combination.
Herbal Remedies – There are two classifications of herbs that are typically used for night sweats: phytoestrogenic and non-estrogenic herbs. Phytoestrogenic herbs like Black Cohosh contain plant-based estrogenic components. As you consume them their plant-based estrogens enter into your body to help rebalance your hormonal levels. This lessens and/or eliminates menopausal symptoms. The trade off for this approach of adding outside hormones is that it may cause a woman’s body to become less capable of producing its own estrogen. This can lead to a continued decrease in hormonal levels.
Non-estrogenic herbs do not contain any estrogen. Instead they work by helping to nourish a woman’s pituitary and endocrine glands to more efficiently produce natural hormones. The benefit of this approach is that it not only helps balance estrogen but also progesterone and testosterone. Many experts consider this the safest way to treat menopausal symptoms since it aids the body in creating its own hormones.
The one non-estrogenic herb that seems to provide the greatest help for night sweats is Macafem. Macafem is a small Andean root belonging to the radish family. It is a non-toxic herb (unlike Black Cohosh) with no known side effects or interactions with drugs. To learn more about this inexpensive herb please click on www.macafem.com for more information. This website has some very good information and offers this herb with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Soy Protein – As mentioned early in this article Asian women don’t typically experience night sweats. Most experts attribute this to their diet which includes large amount of soy protein. Researchers have found that women who consume 40 milligrams of plant estrogen per day in the form of tofu, soymilk, and other types of soy products experience fewer hot flashes and night sweats.
Because of this, as well as other studies showing the effectiveness of soy protein and soy isoflavones, there has been a flood of soy products sold as natural remedies for hot flashes and night sweats. The choices are overwhelming and unfortunately the results underwhelming. To help correct this problem Dr. Aaron Tabor and his medical research team developed Revival Soy Protein. Because of its effectiveness in helping with menopausal symptoms, it’s now the #1 soy product for help in this area. If you’re interested they provide a special trail offer which allows you to test their great product.
L-arginine / L-citrulline Combination – Herbs and soy protein fundamentally work on bringing plant-based estrogen into a woman’s body to help augment her decreasing levels of this hormone. A properly designed L-arginine and L-citrulline combination will help repair the endothelial cells that line all of your cardiovascular system. This combination helps the endothelial cells properly produce nitric oxide which is the master signaling molecule for the cardiovascular system. This is especially important for proper dilation and constriction of blood vessels to normalize blood pressure.
Not only does this help to bring the cardiovascular system back in balance but there is enough good research to show that when properly brought into your body it can cross the blood-brain barrier. Like non-estrogenic herbs this stimulates the pituitary gland to naturally produce growth hormone which helps to rebalance hormonal levels.
My wife Sherry successfully used an L-arginine / L-citrulline product called ProArgi-9 Plus for her high blood pressure. The side benefit was that her hot flashes and night sweats also disappeared. To listen to her story and the potential of this product then please click on ProArgi-9 Plus.
To help you navigate this challenging world of what causes night sweats I would recommend the following resources:
www.34-menopause-symptoms.com – This site is extremely helpful and had the best information on what causes night sweats. I highly recommend spending some time on this site.
www.Power-Surge.com – This site is considered by many (HEALTH and Forbes magazines to name two) to be the #1 site for women in menopause.
www.minniepauz.com – This site by Dee Adams provides both great information and a tremendous amount of humor (check out The Seven Menopausal Dwarfs) to help women through a very challenging time in their life.
I hope you have found this information helpful. Hopefully, your understanding of what causes night sweats has improved and it will lead you to a natural treatment program that can permanently kick the nocturnal cousin of hot flashes out of your bedroom.
Until next time, may we both age youthfully!
P.S. If you found this article helpful then I would also recommend the following articles:
7 Natural Remedies for Menopause!
Do Menopause Vitamins Really Work?
Sex After Menopause!?
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