The first step in determining the cause of your night sweats is receiving an accurate diagnosis, and then taking steps towards effective treatment. Traditional treatments often cause significant side effects, leading many individuals to turn to natural remedies.
Frequency and Causes
There are actually several causes of night sweats. Menopausal and pre-menopausal women sometimes experience night sweats as part of the ‘hot flashes’ of menopause without giving the situation a second thought. That assumption, along with jokes often told between friends about ‘The Change,’ potentially comes at a cost of delayed diagnosis for some women.
Some conditions linked to night sweats include anxiety disorders, autoimmune disorders, hyperthyroidism, certain cancers, hypoglycemia, HIV, gastroesophageal disease, obstructive sleep apnea, and other sleep disorders.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reveals that some medications contribute to night sweats, including antihypertensive medications, corticosteroids, antipyretic medications, and drugs of abuse such as alcohol, cocaine, and heroin. This is likely a factor often overlooked when attempting to determine the cause of excessive sweating, particularly at night.
The NIH also addresses the frequency of night sweats in publishing information from researchers that concluded that 41 percent of 2,767 individuals seen by primary care physicians reported experiencing night sweats. Among those patients, only 23 percent were over the age of 64.
Men and Night Sweats
One surprising aspect of night sweats is that men sometimes experience the condition, further discounting the notion that it only affects older women. When men experience night sweats, the cause is often linked to low levels of testosterone, commonly referred to as ‘Low-T.’
If your testosterone levels drop faster than a rate of one percent a year after age 30, your physician may diagnose you with Low-T. Symptoms in men often mimic symptoms of menopausal women undergoing hot flashes. This is likely why some people refer to males experiencing night sweats as undergoing ‘Manopause,’ possibly to the dismay of men living with the uncomfortable condition.
Traditional treatment for night sweats includes prescription medications such as anticholinergic medications. Side effects of anticholinergic agents potentially include blurred vision, drowsiness, hallucinations, confusion, and dizziness, along with other symptoms.
Estrogen and other hormones are sometimes prescribed for the condition. Some people likely avoid prescription hormone therapies due to the possibility of developing headaches, mood changes, digestive system issues, and other side effects.
Treating night sweats naturally likely leads to significant reduction in occurrence and severity of frustrating and possibly embarrassing experiences. People taking herbal supplements known for relieving night sweats or relying on other natural remedies avoid the side effects of prescription drugs.
Black Cohosh is a natural treatment used for centuries. Native American women and Early American colonists used it for relief of menopause symptoms. It continues to garner attention in the scientific field regarding its positive effect on treating menopausal symptoms.
Valerian Root offers beneficial effects without the side effects of traditional treatments. Known to reduce hot flashes, it also reportedly enhances sleep, likely benefiting individuals experiencing night sweats and sleep disturbances.
Soy reportedly reduces hot flashes in both frequency and intensity.
Adding flax seeds to your diet also reduces hot flashes. Eating foods with higher Vitamin B and E content also helps reduce symptoms often related to hot flashes, including night sweats.
Multiple sources report that lifestyle changes such as reducing or eliminating alcohol, caffeine and spicy foods from your diet aids in reducing night sweats.
Stop smoking and watch the incidence and intensity of your night sweats resolve without taking traditional medications.
Drink cool water and carry it with you. Splash water on your face or hold a cool washcloth to the back of your neck and help lower your body temperature.
Engaging in relaxation exercises is another possible way of reducing or eliminating night sweats. Consider Tai Chi, Yoga or meditation.
Night sweats, affecting both men and women, likely causes concern about the effectiveness and side effects of treatment. Avoid side effects of traditional treatments by taking herbal supplements that help treat night sweats and by engaging in other natural remedies such as relaxation techniques.
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