How are night sweats treated?
Treatment depends on the cause of the night sweats. For menopause-related night sweats, hormone therapy – estrogen alone or with progestin – is one option. Hormone therapy can also help with other symptoms of menopause including bone loss and vaginal dryness. Estrogen replacement therapy should not be used in women with a history of breast cancer. All hormone therapies carry some risks, including blood clots and gallbladder inflammation.
Non-estrogen medications used to treat hot flashes include:
- Megestrol (also used to treat breast and uterine cancers; increase appetite/reverse weight loss)
- Anticonvulsants (also used to control/prevent seizures)
- Clonidine (also used to treat high blood pressure, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, and other conditions)
Non-drug treatments for night sweats from any cause include:
- Wearing loose-fitting, lightweight, cotton pajamas
- Using layered bedding that can be removed as needed during the night
- Turning on a bedroom fan/opening windows
- Sipping cool water throughout the night
- Keeping a cold pack under a pillow, then turning your pillow over to rest your head on a cool surface
- Avoiding common night sweat triggers such as alcohol, spicy foods, caffeine, cigarettes
- De-stressing through deep breathing, relaxation, and exercise
- Undergoing hypnosis to help relax and focus on feeling cool
- Exercising daily. Walking, swimming, dancing, and bicycling are all good choices.
Do menopause-related night sweats ever end?
Night sweats go away after a few years in most women undergoing menopause. Unfortunately, other women may experience night sweats for the rest of their lives. However, the night sweats usually lessen in severity.