Night sweats can cause sufferers to wake up suddenly at night in a cold sweat, often filled with a sense of anxiety. Night sweats are considered to be episodes of sweating that soak through nightclothes and into the bedsheets during the course of a night’s sleep. Episodes of sweating can be caused by excessive blankets, or by a room that is too warm, however these are not generally labeled as night sweats and are usually not indicative of any underlying medical condition. True night sweats happen with or without these external environmental causes; they are severe hot flashes that occur due to hormonal imbalances, or to an underlying illness. Night sweats tend to occur most frequently with menopause, but can actually occur in both women and men due to hormones, medications, or disease.
The majority of men will never experience hormonal night sweats or hot flashes, as these only result from lowered levels of testosterone. Since most men only experience a decline of 1 percentage point in their testosterone levels after age 40, it is usually only those men undergoing androgen deprivation therapy who experience significant reductions in testosterone levels.
On the other hand, approximately 70% of menopausal women will experience night sweats. Menopausal night sweats are the result of fluctuating levels of estrogen, which throw off the ability of the hypothalamus to regulate the body’s temperature. In the case of hormonally triggered night sweats, there are numerous herbs in the Chinese medicine pharmacopeia that can provide immense benefits to restoring the hormonal balance. Additionally, certain factors have been shown to increase the likelihood of suffering from night sweats, including preexisting anxiety, caffeine and alcohol consumption, and diet. Our reproductive health experts can help to determine what course of herbal treatment and acupuncture is best to treat your night sweats or hot flashes, and can assist with reducing other triggers like stress and anxiety.