Sweating is a completely natural physiological process responsible for your body’s thermoregulation. Disorders that occur in this process lead to excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis). The term hyperhidrosis is used when excessive sweating is abnormal and interferes with one’s daily life. It can cause anxiety, discomfort, and compromised focus at work. It can affect all aspects of your life: from career development, and relationships, to emotional state and self-esteem.
Excessive sweating during menopause is often the result of a hormonal disbalance. It usually begins to develop in women around the age of 45, when they enter the first phase of menopause. Oestrogen synthesis decreases, and this hormone directly affects the maintenance of normal body temperature levels which also leads to hot flushes.
There are instances when excessive sweating is not caused by menopause such as viral and bacterial infections (usually accompanied by fever), thyroid disease, neoplastic diseases, tuberculosis, diabetes, hypoglycaemia, use of drugs and alcohol and autoimmune diseases. Excessive sweating, which occurs for no apparent reason, is accompanied by weight loss and fever, and mainly happens at night, needs to be discussed with your GP. When your doctor performs the necessary checks and tests such as complete blood count, urine and biochemistry, they will be able to determine the underline cause of the excess sweating.
How do you keep excessive sweating under control?
It’s important to listen to your body and to pay attention to what reduces your physical and emotional discomfort.
Here are several things you can do to limit the amount of excessive sweating and hot flushes during menopause
1. Maintain a healthy weight
Eat a balanced diet, avoid overeating and drinking too much alcohol and exercise regularly.
2. Avoid food that is too spicy, sweet or salty
These trigger sweating! So do coffee and cigarettes. Instead, drink plenty of water every day.
3. Adopt mindfulness techniques
Meditation, breathwork, journaling – anything that makes you feel relaxed and calm and able to cope with mood swings and bursts of anger.
4. Get comfortable at night
Wear loose-fitting PJs or a nightgown made from natural breathable materials. Wipe your face and neck with a wet wipe or a cloth soaked to cool you down and help you fall asleep.
5. Stock up on lightweight clothes and dress in layers
Tanks and cardigans are your friends. Layers allow you to shed heavier clothing when a hot flush comes out of the blue.
6. Always have a bottle of water next to you
When you sweat excessively you dehydrate so it’s important to keep drinking more liquids.
7. Maintain a comfortable room temperature
Keep your windows, run the air conditioning or a fan to feel as comfortable as you can be. You can also try spraying yourself with Rosey Rain – Cooling Spray formulated to instantly cool, hydrate and refresh your skin.
Menopause and Excessive Sweating: a word about HRT
Hormone replacement therapy is often found to be an effective way to treat hot flushes and night sweats for many women going through menopause and perimenopause.
HRT involves using oestrogen to replace your body’s own levels around the time of the menopause. There are a number of different options including oestrogen in the form of skin patches, implants, a gel or spray to put on the skin or tablets. You also need to take progesterone to protect your womb lining from the effects of oestrogen.
The main benefit of HRT is that it can help relieve most menopause and perimenopause symptoms, including hot flushes, brain fog, joint pains, mood swings and vaginal dryness.
With excess sweating and hot flushes, you might expect improvements within a few weeks.
There are different types and doses of HRT. Using the right dose and type usually means your symptoms improve. Your GP will be able to discuss the options and any potential risks with you.
Same as with the other menopause symptoms, it’s important to keep remembering that things do get better over time! Going through excess sweating is uncomfortable and often embarrassing, however, with the proper adjustments, things can get significantly better.