Night Sweats and Hot Flashes Are Not the Same

Sweating at night is not the same thing as a hot flash. Night sweats are often caused by heat and humidity but can also be related to sleep apnea, anxiety, or other medical conditions. Hot flashes are more predictable and typically have to do with hormonal changes in the body. Learn how these two happen, how they feel, and how you can relieve them!

What are Night Sweats?

Night sweats are characterized by heavy sweating out of proportion to the heat source. While the sensation is less intense than a hot flash, night sweats feel suffocating and may cause you to awaken while experiencing them or even wake up soaked in sweat. These might be reoccurring, and more often than not, they are indications of some hidden illnesses in your body. Some episodes might be caused by uncomfortable bedding too. Make sure your bed is breathable. Take necessary steps so that the environment around you is not too warm and comfortable enough.

What are Hot Flashes?

Hot flashes differ from night sweats in that they hit during the day rather than at night. Hot flashes are known symptoms of menopause and typically strike with less warning. They may last for several minutes or hours; when you have one, you usually feel like your temperature is rising. In some cases, women experience chills or tremors simultaneously as hot flashes.

What Causes Them?

Night sweats for menopause generally occur as your body transitions into its new hormone cycle. This usually happens around your period, but it can begin when you are pregnant or have a hysterectomy.

Here are some examples of what could cause hot flashes

Perimenopause − If you have perimenopause, you may experience hot flashes for a few months before menopause officially begins. At this stage, women can experience depression, vaginal dryness, and fatigue because certain hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, decrease in response to these conditions.

Post-menopause − Hot flashes can also be caused by post-menopause if you have begun to enter menopause. The drop-in estrogen and progesterone levels can cause hot flashes in the weeks and months following menopause.

Menopause − If you have not yet had a hysterectomy, you may be experiencing symptoms of menopause, including night sweats and hot flashes. Once your periods end, your ovaries will begin producing less estrogen and less progesterone to aid in making these hormones. This is what causes the symptoms of menopause which often include hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, fatigue, low libido, insomnia, or depression. It can also cause skin elasticity changes, hair loss, or thinning hair on the scalp.

Hormone Therapy − Therapy medications such as hormone replacement therapy and testosterone might also cause hot flashes in women undergoing perimenopause.

What Triggers Them?

In menopause, it is normal to experience hot flashes that affect your body throughout the day, but they often arrive with a warning of some kind. If you have not recently had a period, you might notice that at first, you do not feel any symptoms of menopause but transition into menopause without much notice.

Because of this, women who do not have hormone therapy may experience something called climacteric symptoms. In climacteric symptoms, hot flashes cause sweating which is most often associated with night sweats. If a woman does not go through this transition the same way as other women, it can be more difficult for her to know when it is customary to begin menopause.

There are many causes of hot flashes in menopause, and they can even stem from something seemingly unrelated to certain medications or alcohol abuse. In these cases, various factors such as stressors or even certain foods could contribute to the onset of hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause. If you are experiencing a hot flash lasting more than ten minutes or two in a row, it is important to check with your healthcare provider.

Avoiding extremely flavored products like foods containing lots of spices, alcohol, and caffeine will help prevent hot flashes. Wearing loose clothes and stuff that allows you to get a lot of air, like breathable clothes, will help curb such episodes.

How can you get relief from Night Sweats and Hot Flashes?

Night Sweats

Changing your sleep pattern and stress management habits can be helpful if you are experiencing night sweats and they interfere with your daily routine. For example, if these symptoms occur when you should be asleep because of insomnia, try implementing other relaxation techniques to help you fall asleep quickly. Try practicing deep breathing techniques if you feel hot while sweating at night or have anxiety or panic attacks.

Hot Flashes

Staying in contact with your healthcare provider is vital for hot flashes in menopause because there can sometimes be side effects from certain medications produced by the body during menopause. Eating a balanced diet with phytonutrients and vitamins A and E is also essential, which can help with hot flashes. Additionally, carrying a bottle of cold water with you wherever you go can help cool your body if you begin to feel hot.

Managing the Effects

These symptoms are normal for perimenopause and menopause and are often only temporary. However, more serious symptoms may indicate other medical conditions, such as diabetes or depression. If the symptoms do not go away or worsen when you have one of them, it is crucial to speak to your physician about getting treatment for it as soon as possible.


Night sweats and hot flashes often occur before menopause in women who have not yet had a hysterectomy. They may also occur at irregular times. For example, if you suffer from diseases such as asthma or have a chronic medical condition, you may experience night sweats or hot flashes. You might also experience these symptoms if your hormones decline because of health issues such as cancer or an autoimmune disease. In most cases of hormone changes, the body balances after some time and in case of more complications, you may consult an expert.

Updated on: 15-Feb-2023


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