Have you ever woken up at night and you are soaked in sweat? These occurrences are called night sweats. It makes your clothes and bedding wet. This might result because of too many clothes and bedding or sleeping in a warm room. Hot flashes are sudden periods of sweating excessively and feeling uncomfortable intensifying heat. In this post, you will understand exactly the difference between hot flashes and night sweats in women, and what causes these experiences.
Hot flashes and night sweats occur before and during menopause in women due to changing hormone levels, including progesterone and estrogen which affects the body’s temperature level. Changes in these mentioned hormone levels affect the action of other hormones that are responsible for regulating the body’s temperature.
What is Night Sweat?
Night sweats are repeated episodes of very heavy sweating during sleep, heavy enough to soak your nightclothes or bedding. They’re often caused by an underlying condition or illness.
Sometimes you may wake up after sweating heavily, particularly if you’re sleeping under too many blankets or your bedroom is too warm. Although uncomfortable, these episodes aren’t usually considered night sweats and aren’t sign of an underlying condition or illness.
Night sweats usually happen with other concerning symptoms, such as fever, weight loss, pain in a specific area, cough or diarrhea.
What Is a Hot Flash?
When hot flashes happen, there’s a sudden feeling of heat and sometimes a red, flushed face and sweating. We don’t know exactly what causes them, but they may be related a drop in estrogen levels and changes in an area of the brain that controls body temperature.
When hot flashes happen, blood vessels near the skin’s surface widen to cool you off, making you break out in a sweat. Some women have a rapid heart rate or chills, too.
When they happen while you sleep, they’re called night sweats. They can wake you up and may make it hard to get enough rest.
A hot flush is the redness in your face and neck that occurs during a hot flash.
Do Night Sweats Trigger Stress?
Another interesting finding from the study: Women who experienced night sweats had a higher level of stress compared with women who endured hot flashes alone, whether during the day or night.
“We know that sleep disturbances are one of the biggest detriments for women going through menopause, but these results are unique because they show that women experiencing night sweats, rather than just hot flashes, may be at an even bigger disadvantage,” said Shreyer in a press release.
In an interview, she added, “We are not sure yet of the relationship between night sweats and stress. Do the night sweats cause stress, or do women who have more stressful lifestyles end up having more night sweats? That needs further study.”
Taking foods with a lot of spices, taking coffee, stress and putting on clothes which are tight cause these. Hot flashes occur during the day while night sweats at night. Hot flashes and night sweats are menopause symptoms. Symptoms of both are managed differently. Here are the differences between hot flashes and night sweats:
Do You Experience Night Sweats?
This is sweating excessively during the night. Different women perspire at different frequencies and rates. Night sweat does not allow you to have a peaceful sleep. Some women tend to blame the sweating on warm clothing and too warm rooms. But when you sweat during winter raises the question. This might be early menopause sign.
Our bodies have different reactions; some women may experience reddening of the upper part of the body, nausea and long headaches. When menopause is approaching, there tend to be hormonal imbalances in the body which is the cause of the excessive sweating.
Hot Flashes at Night Is Linked to Increased Depression Risk
The University of Massachusetts study surveyed 200 women experiencing menopause. The Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) (PDF) — as a measure of depression — and The Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10) (PDF) were self-administered by participants.
After adjusting for menopause status, financial stability, and marriage, the research team found that women who experienced both or either vasomotor symptoms were at higher risk for depression. Women who experienced more hot flashes at night rather than the day had higher depression scores.
“I think that makes total sense. If you are waking up more frequently at night, you are bound to have mood disruptions, and it’s going to affect your daily life,” said Shreyer.
What Causes Night Sweats?
With the early hits of menopause symptoms estrogen rates fluctuates hypothalamus functioning. Hypothalamus is in the brain and has the function of regulating normal body temperature. With fluctuations hypothalamus causes the body to sweat excessively to cool down.
Hot Flashes Again?
This makes you feel uncomfortable. This is the sudden reddening of the skin, upper body sweating, having your skin unusually warm and a sudden rise in heart beat rate. Hot flashes occur during the day. Hot flashes are very disturbing pre-menopause signs. They occur differently in women and have different effects.
Knowing Factors Responsible For Hot Flashes
Lifestyles and unhealthy habits can trigger hot flashes in women. The variables act differently on women. Staying in hot rooms and putting on tight clothes trigger them. If taking alcoholic drinks and coffee make you experience it you should consult your doctor. You will agree with me that dealing with menopausal night sweats and hot flashes for some women has become a major challenge for them.
Stress can make you experience hot flashes if you are approaching menopause. Foods with a lot of spices should be avoided if they make you have a hot flash. Smoking cause many health implications, consider dropping smoking if it makes you suddenly experience it.
Managing Hot flashes
Putting on clothes that fit you well, this helps avoid tight clothing. Using cotton products, this involves using night clothing and bedding that are made of cotton. Taking ice water on the onset of hot flash, this will make you feel better by cooling your body. This works differently on women. Consider it if it works well for you. It can get intense and difficult to manage. Consulting with your doctor will be a good choice.
Hot Flashes and Night Sweats: Menopause Treatment
Treating both symptoms is the same thing as menopause treatment. Menopause symptoms should not get you stressed up as they can be treated and managed. Menopause treatment for both is not the same and is administered differently. Here are various treatments both.
Hot Flashes and Night Sweats: Using Hormones
Night sweats are caused by hormonal imbalances. Hormone replacement therapy is done to treat hot flashes and is commonly known as HRT. This uses synthetic hormones. The hormones act as estrogen supplement reducing severity and occurrence of night sweating and skin flashes.
Using Non-Hormonal Treatment For Hot Flashes
Some women might consider undergoing non-hormonal treatment. This can alter your appearance when face and neck gets red. This needs consulting with your doctor. The treatment only works for some women. Paroxetine and fluoxetine are optional products that have worked in some women. However, it is advisable to contact your doctor before trying any nonprescription drug or supplement.
Consulting Mother Nature
Women tend to try all possible ways for menopause treatment. Some products work for some women and fail to work in other women. Red clover and soy are optional natural treatments for menopausal symptoms. Use these products only after consulting with your doctor.
Considering Your Lifestyle Choices
Lifestyle choice can a times cost us. Embracing a healthy lifestyle by taking healthy and balanced diet help reduces effects of night sweats.
As we age, it is normal to experience menopause symptoms. This should not get us discouraged consulting with your doctor will help. Living healthy lifestyle lessens severity of these symptoms. Learning to accept the onset of menopause will help in avoiding complications caused by stress.
Women experiencing menopause symptoms should avoid unhealthy lifestyles. Women should learn more on both these symptoms. Choose what is good for your body!