Hot Flushes & Night Sweats

 Young Woman Contemplating

Hot flushes (or flashes if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere) and night sweats can be something that suddenly arises for many women, mainly in the perimenopause or menopause stages.


You’re going about your business during the day, when all of a sudden you are overwhelmed with a spike in temperature, feel flustered, hot, sweaty and red especially around your face, neck and chest.  You walk around trying to fan your face with your hands and doing some quick breathing to calm things down.


Or they may occur in the night.  You’re woken all of a sudden with a surge of heat, feeling irritatingly hot and annoyed and may even be suffering from heart palpitations.

Quite often after hot flushes or night sweats you may experience a chilled feeling as the heat starts to reduce.


All in all, it is not a comfortable feeling.


How long these symptoms last can vary from women to women, but for some it can be up to ten years.

So what causes these hot flushes and night sweats?

Truth be told, it’s not exactly known.


However, yes they are linked to your hormones and most likely due to a drop in oestrogen.  Also, your body’s thermostat (hypothalamus – try saying that after a few glasses of wine) does become more sensitive to body temperature as you age.


Also, due to your ovaries no longer ovulating (even though you may still be getting your period) your pituitary gland increases the production of the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) which can cause hot flushes.  At the same time due to your adrenal glands, your stress response is heightened meaning you feel more irritated which can lead to an increase in hot flushes and night sweats.


Other reasons

Also, alcohol can be a factor as it increases oestrogen production and this surge leads to hot flushes and night sweats.  Alcohol will also increase your blood sugar to start with, but later on it will drop and you can then get hypoglycaemia symptoms (low blood sugar) which can feel like a night sweat.


There are also many other factors that can cause this spike in temperature:


  • Spicy foods

  • Caffeine

  • Pregnancy

  • Wearing tight clothing

  • Stress and anxiety

  • Smoking

  • Being in a warm environment

  • Hot drinks

  • Alcohol

  • Certain medications

  • Sugar

  • Processed foods

Daily Tips to Manage Hot Flushes and Night Sweats

  • Dress in layers so that you can take certain clothing off when you start to feel hot

  • Make sure you take time for yourself to relax so that you can bring calmness into your day

  • Use deep belly breathing to keep yourself calm when you are feeling stressed

  • Incorporate yoga, meditation and mindfulness

  • Lower the room temperature

  • Have a fan on when you are sleeping

  • Wear cotton clothing

  • Keep weight in check as obesity increases hot flushes and night sweats

  • Quit smoking (if you smoke) as those who smoke experience them more

Food and Drink Tips

Seasoning Salad
  • Sip ice water at the start of a hot flush

  • Limit hot drinks and spicy foods

  • Limit alcohol

  • Reduce processed foods

  • Reduce sugar

  • Eat cruciferous vegetables as the DIM in these lower oestrogen levels (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, bok-choy, water cress, red and green cabbage, radish, brussel sprouts)

  • Increase fibre as oestrogen is eliminated from the body in bowel movements and fibre helps with this

In Conclusion

Note, if hot flushes and night sweats do become a particular issue, make sure you see your doctor or health care provider to rule out any other issues.

However, much of the time hot flushes and night sweats can be managed with a healthy diet, natural treatments, stress reduction, mindset and gentle exercise.

If you're ready to get your hormone symptoms under control, have a look at my programme here

Image by Alexa Suter

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