With oestrogen levels dropping in the build-up to, and during, the menopause, there’s a high chance that many women will suffer from a series of uncomfortable and embarrassing symptoms as a result of this huge biological change.
Hot flushes, and their bedtime equivalent, night sweats, are one of the most commonly talked-about of these symptoms and can be deeply unpleasant for those who experience them.
What are hot flushes?
As sudden and draining episodes that can cause excessive sweating, heart palpitations, redness of the skin and extreme discomfort all over the body, hot flushes and night sweats can affect those going through the menopause at any time of the day. Hot flushes commonly occur without warning, these feelings of intense warmth are often overwhelming and may happen as frequently as once an hour. With symptoms that vary in severity from woman to woman, hot flushes and night sweats normally last for up to four minutes and are known to regularly disrupt sleeping patterns and a host of simple everyday tasks. Although some women may be able to deal with these unpleasant sensations, there are many who find them embarrassing and hard to live with and potentially debilitating.
Decreasing levels of oestrogen are generally thought to be responsible for many symptoms of the menopause, not least hot flushes and night sweats. And, although oestrogen is crucial to the effective management of the reproductive system, its gradual decline is also said to interfere with the body’s ability to properly regulate its temperature. Hot flushes are also believed to be triggered by the consumption of certain substances such as caffeine or alcohol, eating spicy foods and other lifestyle factors such as smoking. High-stress levels can also lead to flushing and sweating episodes, and it’s always important to consider that these episodes can be influenced by certain medicines or other underlying health conditions.
Treating these symptoms
With hot flushes and night sweats leaving many women feeling embarrassed, undermined and exhausted due to sleep disturbance. However, it’s comforting to know that these symptoms can be treated effectively. One of the best forms of treatment for this is hormone replacement therapy, a method of replacing the hormones that the body has lost as a result of the menopause. During your consultation with Mr Francis Gardner, he will work with you to find a suitable form of HRT and discuss all of these options with you in detail. Book your consultation or One Stop See and Treat today.
Hot flushes and night sweats are among the most common symptoms of the menopause, with around 80% of women are said to experience these to a greater or lesser extent.
As with anything, trying to identify what is causing your body to react in a certain way is crucial. Although hot flushes are largely unstoppable, their frequency and intensity may be reduced by avoiding certain foods such as spicy foods, drinks containing alcohol and caffeine and some medications. If you are more prone to night sweats, it may be a good idea to wear light, comfortable clothing to bed to better manage these.
There is some evidence that regular vigorous exercise may reduce these symptoms.
The most common cause of hot flushes and night sweats is the menopause in women aged 45 to 55 years.
If you are not passing through the menopause then hot flushes and night sweats could represent another underlying medical problem such as diabetes or thyroid problems or even a type of cancer. You should seek medical advice on this matter if you have any concerns.
In most cases, HRT can bring hot flushes and night sweats under control effectively. As always, treatment should tailored to your needs as an individual and the risks and benefits of this treatment will be discussed with you in depth at your consultation.