Menopause night sweats can be frustrating. According to surveys conducted by medical researchers, some women experience them for several years before the onset of menopause and about 50% will experience them during or after menopause. Doctors can perform tests to determine if menopause is causing a woman’s symptoms, but often it is diagnosed according to a woman’s symptoms.
There are several terms that doctors and researchers use to describe the years leading up to and following menopause. A woman is considered to be pre-menopausal if her periods are still regular; peri-menopausal if some periods have been missed or are becoming irregular; and post-menopausal when she has not had a period for more than one full year. There is no way to predict beforehand when the onset of menopause will begin. The average age for menopause or the year when 12 sequential periods are missed, is 51. Women who smoke typically experience menopause two years earlier than the average. Certain medical conditions and treatments may lead to an even earlier menopause.
There are a variety of different symptoms that may be caused by changing hormonal levels. One such symptom is menopause night sweats. At the onset of menopause, or when women begin to notice lighter or missing periods, is when most women report menopause night sweats and research following women going through “natural menopause” indicates that about 50% continue to have them for two to three years following menopause. Natural menopause means to researchers that the women participating in the surveys are not using hormone replacement therapy.
Most women who experience menopause night sweats also experience hot flashes during the day. Both of these are called “vasomotor symptoms”, because blood vessels and circulation are involved. No one knows why these symptoms occur. Low levels of estrogen or other hormones may cause them. Increases in follicle stimulating hormones or other compounds may cause them. It is known that in women who must have their ovaries removed due to illness or injury, which is referred to as surgical menopause, night sweats and hot flashes are experienced. Men taking medication to suppress hormone production also experience them. So, they are either directly or indirectly related to hormones levels.
In women who experience them, the severity of menopause night sweats varies. Some women awaken to find the bed linens wet with sweat. Others say that they feel too hot and kick the blankets off, only to become chilled in a short time, waking up again to search for them. They sometimes lead to difficulty sleeping and insomnia, which can lead to fatigue, irritability and moodiness.
There are many effective treatment options. Hormone replacement therapy was often prescribed at the onset of menopause to relieve menopause night sweats and other symptoms. But, recent research indicates that the health risks outweigh the benefits. To learn about safe and natural treatment options, please visit the Menopause and PMS Guide.
Patsy Hamilton was a health care professional for over twenty years before becoming a freelance writer. Currently she writes informational articles for the Menopause and PMS Guide. Visit us at http://www.menopause-and-pms-guide.com.