Have you ever heard the expression “men sweat, but women glow?”
Obviously, whoever coined that phrase wasn’t a woman dealing with menopause and night sweats.
Looking back, my night sweats were clearly part of my going through perimenopause in my early 40s. But at the time, neither my physician nor I were making that connection. He believed that it was a side effect of the medications I was taking for irritable bowel syndrome, also known as IBS.
That sounded reasonable to me, so I didn’t push it. Frankly, I was too tired from all of that bed linen and pajama changing all night long to challenge his diagnosis.
Seriously—I was waking up at least 3 times a night, every single night, drenched in sweat. My pajamas were soaked, as was my pillow case and my sheets. I was sweating so much, the moisture was going all the way through the pad to the mattress.
This happened so often, I actually got pretty good at dealing with it. I began keeping a stack of fresh linens next to my bed, and some spare changes of nightgowns. When I woke up, sweaty and freezing, I could change both myself and the bed without disturbing my husband or leaving the room.
That’s the other part about night sweats that’s really miserable—the chills that accompany them.
Speaking of my husband, in case you are wondering, we have the type of bed that has two separate top mattresses, so he was able to sleep through my nighttime maneuvers. Of course, he could sleep through a train coming through our bedroom. Do I sound upset? Well, yes, but that’s another blog.
No one really had any advice for me on how to make things better. I figured night sweats were just something I had to live with.
When I was 42, I underwent my hysterectomy. That’s when the hot flashes began to kick in.
Actually, I called them “power surges,” the way the waves of heat would come at me at about 100 miles per hour. By this time, I was taking other medicines—hormones and other things—that were supposed to help my body regulate itself after the surgery.
After months of suffering, I finally saw a wonderful Tucson physician who helped me get on the correct hormone medications.