Monday, April 5, 2010

Night Sweats and Toxicity

The last suggestion of the naturopath that I just visited is that the night sweats could be a way of my body trying to flush out toxins. I can see how this would make sense. It would make more sense if the night sweats didn't only coincide with when I had my period, but even so, I can still see the point. Sort of like a monthly cleansing.

She suggested I test for heavy metals. I haven't yet, because I can't see that I am in any risk category for heavy metal toxicity or exposure and because I don't have any of the other symptoms usually associated with it.
If the adrenal stress end supplements don't give any joy after a couple months, I may consider doing a heavy metals test. Just wanted to put it out there because I thought it was an interesting concept.

Night Sweats and the Cortisol Connection

I visited a naturopath a few months ago, for help with these night sweats and with diminished sex drive. She performed an eye test to check my adrenal function, said that I probably had adrenal fatigue syndrome and sent me home with a saliva test kit for to check cortisol levels (low cortisol is a measure of adrenal fatigue).

My cortisol production came out within normal levels, but the pattern of highs and lows is reversed. Cortisol levels should start out high in the morning and gradually drop to a low at night. Mine are opposite...low in the morning climbing to high at night. From what I can see, nothing really to worry about, its just a circadian rhythm thing that is a bit off.

However, this lead to a search for any connection between night sweats and cortisol. Turns out that night sweats are one of the (many) listed symptoms of adrenal depletion, although my naturopath said that it wasn't really a typical presentation. Also, apparently high cortisol and/or testosterone levels is the cause of MALE night sweats. And lastly, the drug 'Predisone', which is a corticosteroid, also causes night sweats as a side effect. I'm kind of reaching for straws on that last one...

So I'm taking the adrenal stress end, which should help the adrenals regulate cortisol. We'll see how it does.
I'm wondering though if there is anything that can be done to help the cortisol patterns...something that aids in cortisol production that can be taken in the morning and something that lowers it taken at night?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

What helps relieve night sweats and what makes them worse

This is a topic I would LOVE to get comments on. A lot of things that I have found have been mostly trial and error and much of it is a just the difference between 'yuk yuk' and just plain 'yuk'

1. Sleeping in long sleeved, close fitting shirts and long pants of some kind of absorbant material.
Sounds counterintuitive, but more I'm wearing, the less I sweat and the less icky it is. I'm not the only one either, it seems....I read this elsewhere also. Night clothes should be well-fitting, not loose or baggy. I have some pyjamas in a material that is supposed to be especially for night sweats. They are okay-ish. I also have a few shirts and long underwear that I got years ago at a hiking shop that are my favorite. The material should be 'wicking' should be somewhat absorbant to draw away the sweat and keep you confortable. Sleeping naked is the absolute worst. I find that if I sleep with no clothes, I'll get  night sweats even when I don't have my period.

2. Keep several change of clothes and towels right next to the bed. It's always a battle to drag myself awake enough to change the dripping clothes, but I think changing leads to better sleep and is healthier to be dry at least some of the night.

3. No exercise, hot showers or saunas in the night time. I find that if I raise my body temperature in the hours before bedtime, I have worse night sweats.

4. No lotions or body creams applied before bed. Gets slimy with the sweat, ewwwww.

5. The comforter rotation; Rotate the comforter or blankets 90 degrees each time you get up to change your clothes. Since I have my husband on the other side of the bed, I usually rotate first clockwise, and then anti-clockwise etc...

Please, if anyone has anything to share on making the night sweats more bearable, please please...

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Fish Oil - Not much success with the night sweats but great for everything else!

Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega, 60 Soft GelsIt seems like Fish Oil is the nutritional supplement of this decade. I haven't read a nutrition book in a while that didn't tout fish oil as the cure all for all. However, its really made a real difference for me. It was the first supplement that I dared to take and after about 2 wks I really noticed a difference.

My skin, usually tired, drab and prone to breakouts, hasn't looked this great since...well, forever! My energy levels really picked up, I feel more calm and collected (compared to my previously mostly frazzled state), more positive and more clear headed. Its also helped my libido pick up somewhat and also, after I was taking it for 3 wks I had the first period, ever, in my life, without a single cramp. It was so cramps at all?! I didn't know that was possible!

I've since read a bit about Fish Oil being good for the mood and for the skin. And there's that strange book that promises that ultra mega doses of fish oil will lead to a crazy female sex drive. (Here's the book for anyone who is curious; 
The Orgasmic Diet: A Revolutionary Plan to Lift Your Libido and Bring You to Orgasm)
So, for fish oil, nay for night sweats, but yay for everything else!

Study on Night Sweats in Younger Women

Details below!
Learn more about yourself and help us understand night sweats in women (35-50) who still have regular periods.

This UBC study is observational (no study medications), and takes 4 menstrual cycles.

Who can participate?
You may be eligible for this study if you are a woman who:
• Has night sweats (hot flushes during sleep time)
• Is between age 35 and 50
• Menstrual periods no more than 60 days apart in the past year
• Is not taking hormone therapy or hormonal birth control

What will I be asked to do?
• Visit our office (at VGH) for an hour-long interview session
• Keep a daily record (the Daily Perimenopause Diary) for 4 menstrual cycles
• Record first morning temperature
• Collect a small amount of urine each morning for the first full menstrual cycle

Who do I contact?
For more information or to participate, please contact Dr. Laura Liao at:
Or visit:

Principal investigator is Dr. Jerilynn Prior, UBC Endocrinologist and Professor.

This study is funded by a Women’s Health Research Institute Catalyst Grant 

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Night Sweats and Pregnancy

So when I'm googling Night Sweats, I always come across posts on forums like "I'm pregnant and in my first trimester and have been having crazy night sweats. Is there anything wrong?" or "I have night sweats just before and during my period. I want to have a baby soon....will this hurt my chances of trying to conceive?"

I always want to post back with my 2 cents, but with posts from way back in 2006, the original poster probably figured it out one way or another.

So I had night sweats for years before I first got pregnant. I had no difficulty in conceiving or problems during pregnancy. Both pregnancies were  uncomplicated. Both children are healthy. I have never had a miscarriage.

With both pregnancies, the night sweats started 2 days before I was supposed to get my period (which never happened, obviously!) and continued for most of the first trimester. I don't think I had them at all during 2nd and 3rd trimester. With my first baby, they started up again 2 or 3 days before I delivered. I thought they may do the same with the 2nd and predict when I would go into labor, but that didn't happen :)

Night sweats postpartum were really severe, and were also accompanied by some serious chills. I think that lasted at least a few weeks...not longer than 2 months. After that I didn't have any night sweats at all when I was breastfeeding. I also didn't get my period back until after I had completely weaned. Then, both times, the sweats started up again with the period. Pity :(

Medical History (or lack of it)!

I'm fortunate to be and feel pretty healthy. At 5 foot 2 and 105lbs, I'm on the low side of a healthy weight. Whatever lab tests I have ever taken have always come out normal. I'm not anemic, not diabetic, never get headaches, sleep well (when I'm not sweating) and I've never even broken a bone.

My only hospital stay (in the spirit of full disclosure) was for breast implants. I got these after the night sweats had already been present for a year or so and have never had problems with the implants, nor do I think they are related to the sweats. I've had 2 healthy, uncomplicated pregnancies with no difficulties conceiving and have 2 healthy sons.

I'm not on any medication except supplements that I have recently started taking in order to improve the night sweats. I think I probably had more than a few courses of antibiotics as a child to help with ear infections, but haven't had any in at least 10 yrs or more I think.

A recent visit to a naturopath led to a cortisol test that determined that my cortisol production is within normal levels, but the cycle is off; instead of cortisol highs in the morning and lows at night, I have the opposite...low cortisol in the morning and high cortisol at night, which may be linked to Adrenal Fatigue (more on this later...).

I don't drink, dont smoke (I used to in late teens, quit mid-twenties), eat a mostly organic, whole foods diet. I recently quit my one morning cup of coffee and stopped eating sugar. My main forms of exercise are being with my 2 pre-schoolers, a couple of 1/2 hr walks a week and sometimes a weekly yoga or kickboxing class. Covered pretty much everything?

Please share your medical history. Maybe we can find a common link?