Q&A: I am only 40 and I get night sweats in the lead up to my period. Why???

Q: I am only 40 and I get night sweats in the lead up to my period. Why???

A: Another great question! This is one that I often get asked followed by… “does this mean I am starting menopause”?  Rest assured that there are other reasons you may have to strip down your clothing in the middle of the night (not for the reasons you’re thinking!).

Sweating and hot flashes that occur before your period are some of the many presentations of PMS or premenstrual syndrome. These symptoms are associated with fluctuations in the levels of progesterone and oestrogen during the cycle, meaning that any woman (at any age) can suffer from hot flashes or night sweats (and it’s more common than you think!).

Right after you ovulate (mid way through your cycle), your progesterone rises paired with a rise in your basal body temperature. At this time oestrogen levels begin to decline. Oestrogen is at its lowest point right before and at the very beginning of your period. This hormonal shift affects your hypothalamus (the temperature regulation part of your brain). The lowered levels of oestrogen causes a release of norepinephrine, making you a lot more sensitive to changes in temperature. PMS night sweats can occur due to this hormonal shift. 

Similarly, oestrogen has the ability to improve hot flashes by raising your core body temperature sweating threshold, which means that it takes more to make you sweat. If you have a pre-existing imbalance in your hormones, this natural shift can be a whole lot more pronounced, causing you to experience uncomfortable night sweats before each period.

Have a listen to my podcast on “heavy periods” to find some solutions for managing a healthy balance of oestrogen and progesterone. Scroll down to Episode 1