Dear Pharmacist,
I keep waking up in the middle of the night with sweat pouring off of me. What the heck is happening? I’m 44.

It sounds like you are in the perimenopausal time of your life. This is the 8 to 10 years before entering menopause in your early 50’s. Perimenopause is characterized by a number of symptoms, that vary from woman to woman. They include night sweats (as you are experiencing), erratic periods, ¬†vaginal dryness, hot flushes, and sleeping problems. These are all related to the decrease in estrogen that normally happens during this age in life for women.

There are many different ways to help battle the night sweats. You could wear cotton night clothes, use cotton sheets and have layers of blankets on your bed, rather than just one duvet. There are now pillows available that have a cooling action. Place Ice water and a cold pack on your bedside table. A fan may help. Alcohol, caffeine and certain foods may trigger the night sweats, so keep a journal with notes on what you consumed the evening before. Stopping smoking and starting to exercise moderately may help. If the night sweats are impacting your quality of life, see your doctor. She has various options for medications that may be useful including; estrogen, antidepressants and gabapentin. Remember that if you are taking any natural or non-prescription products, you should discuss it with your pharmacist and doctor.

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