Menopause and Sweating


Hot flushes are a common symptom associated with the menopause.

Intense heat starts in your chest and rises to your neck and head. Skin may redden and sweating, which can be excessive, can also occur.

If you are one of the unlucky ones this can happen 20 or 30 times a day.

Doctors believe that hot flushes and night sweats happen as a result of changing estrogen levels. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to beat the heat and excessive sweating of menopause.

Will I have hot flushes as I approach menopause?

Hot flushes are one of the most common signs of perimenopause, the years leading up to menopause. Menopause, when your period stops for good, typically happens between age 45 and 55.

Some women experience the heat and flushing without sweating, while others sweat so much they need a change of clothes. When hot flushes happen at night, leaving you and your sheets drenched, they’re called night sweats.

Dr Heather Currie is a gynaecologist and expert on menopause.

She says 85% of women will have hot flushes or night sweats. She says symptoms can be mild, moderate or severe. Some women will only experience them for a few months. For others hot flushes may happen many times a day for several years.

“Hot flushes can have a big impact on the lives of some women,” according to Dr Currie, “It can be embarrassing and psychologically difficult. Night sweats can lead to tiredness and irritability the next day through lack of sleep.”

What causes hot flushes and sweating during menopause?

Hot flushes are triggered by a decrease in levels of the hormone estrogen which is produced by the ovaries, says Dr Currie. When menstrual cycles finally stop, estrogen levels drop fairly dramatically.

Changing levels of estrogen affect the part of the brain that regulates temperature – the body’s thermostat which may explain the sweating. She says there are other factors that can influence the severity of flushes.

Your body is programmed to keep your core temperature the same, so when the air temperature rises, blood pours into blood vessels in your skin. You’ll become flushed and start to sweat.

Sweating is your body’s way of cooling off and keeping your core temperature stable.

There are a couple of other theories about why menopause and excessive sweating tend to go hand in hand. Some doctors believe that a proportion of women have very sensitive skin cells which make them prone to hot flushes. Other researchers have suggested that differences in levels of the hormone leptin, which is produced by fat cells, and a drop in blood sugar may play a role in hot flushes.

Menopause and excessive sweating: What you can do

Some changes to your regular routine may help cool hot flushes.

Work on your weight

Women who are overweight or obese are more likely to have frequent hot flushes. Dr Currie says if you are overweight your symptoms will often be worse. She says it’s good to lose excess weight as it will be better for your health in the long term.


Although studies haven’t been conclusive, it’s thought that regular physical exercise reduces hot flush frequency.

Stop smoking

Several studies have linked smoking to hot flushes. One study found that heavy smokers were four times more likely to have hot flushes than women who never smoked.

Cut alcohol

Cutting down on alcohol may improve symptoms and will cut your breast cancer risk post menopause according to Dr Currie.

Stock up on jumpers and cardigans

Wear lightweight clothes and dress in layers so you can shed heavier clothing when a hot flush strikes. Wearing a material at night that wicks away moisture may help you sleep.

Control the air temperature

Lower the heat, open a window, or use an electric fan during the day or while you sleep.

Keep a cool drink by your side

Sipping a tall glass of iced water may help you keep your body temperature down.

Pay attention to potential triggers

Alcohol, caffeine, and spicy food may trigger hot flushes in some women.

Article source: WebMd


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