First off, who gets hot flashes and night sweats? There are medical conditions, medications that can cause hot flashes and night sweats. But commonly, hot flashes and night sweats are a “female thing.” I know… us ladies are so complicated. But so worth it!
Why do women get hot flashes and men do not? Why do you hit every red light when you’re late? Why do you always pick the slowest lane at the grocery store? Why does it rain after you wash your car? Because we are complicated! Because we have lots of hormones, A LOT of them.
I am a female, and basically, 80% of my patients are women. So I can tell you, we are a full philharmonic orchestra of hormones. And if one musician is out of tune, it makes the entire symphony sound “off.” Hot flashes and night sweats are one of the many symptoms that can occur with hormonal changes.
Fellas, on the other hand, have ONE instrument in their orchestra. I will let you envision what instrument that is. So back to hot flashes and night sweats.
What are hot flashes? Described as suddenly you get a premonition of “something.” Then there it goes, a heated flush that starts from within and emanates out. There can be sweating, or like us, ladies call it, “dewy” or just plain ole hot.
When you have a hot flash, the heat from your internal core radiates out. It is not entirely understood why the heat from the core expands to the periphery. Most women say they get heated in the torso, the face, and neck. They can get little sweat droplets on their face, and the hair at the nape of the neck can become damp from the sweat. Hot flashes can occur randomly, or a stressful situation can trigger them. When someone is having a hot flash, you can feel the heat emanating off of them.
What Are Hot Flashes vs. Night Sweats?
There are many kinds of night sweats. Ranging from waking during the night and fanning the sheets. To sleeping on towels and changing jammies.
Spouses/partners will complain that they are freezing. They sleep burrowed under a down comforter, while you are in thin PJs and have a fan pointed at you. The trouble with night sweats is they prevent good, rested sleep.
So here comes the domino-effect of night sweats:
- Exhausted in the day
- Waking up not-rested
- Irritable, because everyone knows a sleep-deprived person is a grumpy person
- Forgetful in the day
- Wanting to nap in the afternoon
- Weight gain: yes, not sleeping at night can and will contribute to weight gain in the belly
Night sweats are a hot flash occurring at night when you are sleeping. But most people describe night sweats as more intense than daytime hot flashes. Because at night our immune system will raise our core temperature. It does this to help destroy viruses and to detoxify. If our temperature is already rising a bit, that can instigate or exacerbate a hot flash at night. It is common for people to experience night sweats but not hot flashes during the day.
There are many treatments for hot flashes and night sweats. Commonly these involve medications such as antidepressants and sleeping pills. These medications are habit-forming and have side effects. Hormone treatment such as bio-identical hormone replacement can be helpful. But hormones are not indicated for everyone depending on their personal and family health history.
Simple recommendations for reducing hot flashes and night sweats:
- Try to reduce stress as much as possible, listen to episode 15
- Reduce caffeine and coffee as these can exacerbate hot flashes and night sweats
- Reduce alcohol intake. Especially wine, which can exacerbate night sweats.
- Increase your water intake. Hot flashes and night sweats can cause dehydration leading to cramping.
- Improve sleep quality, listen to episode 16
- Kavinase Flash-Ease by Neuroscience: this is a combination of neurotransmitter building blocks and non-hormonal herbal that can help night sweats.
- Herbal Menopause w/ EstroG-100 by Protocol for Life Balance
- Sleep Protocol 2
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