Menopause is an uncomfortable process that each woman must go through at some point in her life. In particularly bad cases doctors may prescribe hormone therapy, but they usually encourage women to treat each symptom individually as it comes.
Hot flashes and night sweats are the worst side effects of the hormonal changes a woman undertakes when moving past her age of fertility. The reason that hot flashes come about is that very drop in estrogen and progesterone. The hormones are what tell our brain whether it is hot or cold. When the hypothalamus gets mixed messages about how to react to temperature, the body oscillates between feeling “hot” and “cold.” The blood vessels expand and contract, increasing the blood flow and causing that first facial flush that triggers the hot flash. Believe it or not, body temperature can rise three or four degrees in just a few minutes!
The blood then moves to the chest and the remainder of the body, causing the woman to sweat profoundly for a few minutes and then stop. Many women have chills following their hot flashes. A hot flash that happens during the night is a night sweat. Many menopausal women wake up cold and covered in sweat, as they can do less to manage the hot flash in their sleep.
During the day, dealing with hot flashes is much easier. Wearing layers can help to some extent, and washing your face with cool water can also bring down your temperature. To deal with night sweats you should wear light pajamas and either use light, thin sheets or layer your blankets in the winder. Have a bottle of ice water and towel or cold compress at your bedside to help you cool down when you awake. And have a fresh pair of pajamas to change in to in the case that you sweat through yours.