Why Am I So Sweaty Around My Period?

Blame it on the hormones, baby.

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Why Am I So Sweaty Around My Period?
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By now, you already know that your period can bring with it a host of unpleasant symptoms — the telltale headaches, mood swings, fatigue, cramps, and more that have you hitting the couch and grabbing your comfiest sweats and favorite snacks without fail every month. But if you notice that you're particularly sweaty and overheated in the days leading up to your period, it's not all in your head — getting night sweats during your period is a real thing, and it's way more common than you'd think.

What Causes Night Sweats During Your Period?

If you find yourself dealing with night sweats during your period, you can thank the roller coaster ride of hormonal changes that come with menstruation. (Related: 6 Weird Things You Didn't Know About Sweating)

In a typical 28-day cycle, there are two times when body temperature can rise as a result of certain hormonal changes, says Wendy Askew, M.D., a board-certified ob-gyn at Dr. Rogers Centers in San Antonio. "The first phase occurs around the time of ovulation, typically between days 10 and 14 of a 24- to 28-day-long cycle," when your body experiences a sudden drop in estrogen, she explains. The second time is "about a week after ovulation" when estrogen levels fall yet again, just before you actually get your period, says Dr. Askew.

The common hormonal denominator: estrogen. "Estrogen is important in the production of serotonin," what we commonly call the "mood" hormone, says Dr. Askew. An increase in estrogen can bump up serotonin levels — but that also means a drop in estrogen can translate to a decrease in serotonin levels, she explains. That drop not only results in the typical PMS symptoms of cramps, fatigue, etc., but it can also cause something called your 'thermoneutral zone' to get "narrower," says Dr. Askew. That's where your body temperature comes in. "The thermoneutral zone is the range of body temperature where you're comfortable — everyone's is slightly different," she explains. "When that zone becomes narrower, which happens during times of low estrogen (say, right before and during your period), you're less tolerant of temperatures outside your thermoneutral zone." Where does the sweating come in? Essentially, "estrogen hormones tend to promote lower body temperature, so if estrogen levels drop, body temperature increases," she says. And in response, your body sweats in an attempt to cool down, she says. (Related: Is Sweating Good for You?)

Granted, these hormonal changes aren't likely to lead to a "significant" rise in actual body temperature (think: less than half of a degree Fahrenheit), notes Dr. Askew. But even though the difference "isn't usually noticeable" to most people (or even a thermometer), it can be enough to affect the range of body temperature that you personally feel comfortable in, she explains.

While there aren't any stats on exactly how many people deal with this phenomenon, Dr. Askew says that in her experience, people "commonly report night sweats and feeling hotter during their periods" — so you're definitely not alone if you can't seem to cool down in the days leading up to and during that time of the month.

Could Night Sweats During Your Period Be a Sign of Something Else?

While overheating during your period is rarely more than a feeling of discomfort a few days out of each month, waking up with sweat-covered sheets or needing cold showers can sometimes signal other health concerns.

"It can be a sign of a thyroid disorder, such as hyperthyroidism, which increases metabolic rate, heart rate, and many other processes in the body and can cause people to be both slightly warmer body temp-wise and less tolerant to warm temperatures," explains Dr. Askew.

Overheating could also be a sign of adrenal gland changes, infections, or possibly early menopause (another time when estrogen levels fall rapidly), adds Dr. Askew. But if you're having regular periods, whether with birth control or without, then "menopause isn't likely," she says. Of course, though, as with any health or body-related issues that concern you, if you're dealing with severe overheating to the point where you find it hard to function, or if you think your hot flashes might be related to something besides your period, check in with your doctor.

How to Deal with Night Sweats During Your Period

Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to help ease your discomfort and feel cool as a cucumber no matter where you are in your cycle. Dr. Askew is a big fan of — you guessed it — using a fan to help keep things comfy and sweat-free. She's also a proponent of cooling pillows for sweat-free sleep, no matter the season. The Coop Home Goods Eden Adjustable Pillow (Buy It, $80, amazon.com) is a top-rated choice, with nearly 3,000 five-star ratings on Amazon alone. For an additional boost, the CoolRevolution Bamboo Headband (Buy It, $12, coolrevolutionpjs.com) will help wick away moisture while you sleep, work out, or go about your day, as it's designed to help keep sweat from dripping down your head and neck. (You'll also want to check out these cooling weighted blankets for hot sleepers.)

Another way to stay cool is to find the right antiperspirant to stave off night sweats during your period. Certain Dri Extra Strength Clinical Antiperspirant Deodorant (Buy It, $9, amazon.com) is gentle enough for sensitive skin but still effectively keeps body odor at bay, and it can be applied at night or in the morning. If you're on-the-go and a hot flash comes out of nowhere, the Bliss Lemon & Sage Refreshing Body Wipes (Buy It, $7, amazon.com) can be used all over to help keep you cool and dry, cleansing away dirt, oil, and sweat without water.

Want to treat yourself to a bit of self-care while staying cool? State Of Menopause, a line of beauty and wellness products designed for perimenopausal and menopausal women, makes a Cool Down Kit (Buy It, $65, stateofmenopause.com) that'll feel like a breath of fresh air regardless of what hormonal changes are making you feel sweaty. The kit includes a lightweight gel moisturizer, a hydrating face oil, a cooling spray with peppermint and menthol oils for an instant refresh, and an arnica hand and joint cream to ease achy muscles and joints. (Need more ideas? Here are the best products for night sweats, according to experts.)

If you've tried *all* the home remedies and products and still find that excessive sweating is putting a damper on your days, checking in with your doctor is always a good idea. Sweating is your body's totally normal way of helping you cool down when you're overheated, but if it's causing you more than minor discomfort, your doctor can help you find a cool-down strategy that works for you.

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