Hot flashes and sweating are the most common bothersome symptoms of menopause. They may occur during the day or at night (also known as night sweats). They may be mild and tolerable, moderate and troublesome, or severe and debilitating. Hot flashes get better with time. Although most women have hot flashes for a few years, some women have them for decades.

If your sweating and hot flashes are mild or moderate, you may find relief by changing your lifestyle. If you have severe hot flashes, you may still benefit from lifestyle changes, but also may choose to take a nonprescription remedy or a prescription medication, including hormones to help you manage your symptoms.

Make Lifestyle Changes

Researchers find that women with sweating and hot flashes have more sensitive thermostats in their brain, so are comfortable only in a small range of temperatures. Staying cool and reducing stress are the principal lifestyle changes to treat your hot flashes.

You can try to the following options to reduce sweating:

  • Avoid staying in warm rooms, having hot drinks, hot foods, alcohol, caffeine, excess stress, and cigarette smoking.
  • Avoid wearing layers of clothing that are made from light, breathable fabrics. Cooling products, such as sprays and gels, may be helpful.
  • Women who are overweight have more hot flashes, so maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly to decrease bothersome sweat and improve your overall health.
  • To reduce stress and promote more restful sleep, exercise regularly, but not too close to bedtime.
  • Meditation, yoga, qigong, tai chi, biofeedback, acupuncture, or massage also will lower your stress levels.
  • When a hot flash is starting, try “paced respiration”—slow, deep, abdominal breathing, in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  • Keep a frozen cold pack or bag of frozen peas under your pillow, and turn the pillow often so that your head is always resting on a cool surface.
  • If you wake at night, sip cool water. Try different techniques for getting back to sleep, such as meditation, paced respiration, or getting out of bed and reading until you become sleepy.

Learning to stay cool is the best way to minimize sweat and hot flashes. You can always consult your doctor for medication, but it’s best to use a non-prescription remedy.