Come join others currently navigating treatment in our weekly Zoom Meetup! Register here: Tuesdays, 1pm ET.
Fill Out Your Profile to share more about you. Learn more...
Webinar: Corrective Breast Reconstruction: Getting the Results You Want Join us July 9, 2024 at 6pm ET. Register here.

Night sweats - any practical tips on how to manage?


Hi all,

I've just started the Taxol phase of AC-T chemo and am suffering night sweats, sometimes three times a night.

I went into menopause 20 years ago following my first episode of breast cancer, so I've been post-menopausal for a long time. No night sweats at all then. I'm not on any anti-hormone Rx - just the Taxol.

Does anyone have any really practical tips on how to help with sleeping? eg. sleep on towels; sleep wrapped in a towel; make nightdresses out of towels (😂); sleep on the floor (yes I am desperate), put towel over/under bedsheet; sleep on a whole heap of towels with others over the top, and chuck the wet ones off the bed each time; buy a mattress pad - (which one???? there seem to be millions of 'cooling' ones out there all with different 'technologies'). Moisture wicking sheets; or comforter; or both? Same as mattress pad - how do you choose - this is all too expensive. Lots say 'cooling', but don't reference night sweats and I don't wake feeling hot - I wake in a miserable panic, in a pool of cold sweat on cold wet sheets.

I have ordered some moisture-wicking sleepwear (Lusome), but not arrived yet.

I know all the advice to try to prevent them - cool bedroom, limit spicy food, alcohol etc. etc. But I just want to know how manage them as easily and quickly as possible when they do happen, so I can try and get back to sleep.

I'm getting scared at the thought of even going to bed.

In hope - all suggestions and products that have helped, gratefully received.

And hugs to everyone else who's suffering this icky mess. Researchers - find a cure please. This is not a trivial problem and it affects millions of women.



  • maggie15
    maggie15 Member Posts: 989

    Hi @londongirl99 ,There are meds that can be used (off label) to help with night sweats: gabapentin, paroxetine, venlafaxine. Ask your doctor if a temporary prescription for one of these might help. I hope you get some relief.

  • seeq
    seeq Member Posts: 1,104

    In haven't dealt with full-on night sweats since I had my kids. I slept in light long sleeve shirt and sweat pants, so I could keep my sheets dry and make a quick change into dry clothes when needed.

    Now, I deal with nightly hot flashes. It seems counter-intuitive, but in sleep better in a t shirt and cotton yoga pants than anything less.

    My old MO said he could prescribe Effexor for the hot flashes if I wanted it.

  • serendipity09
    serendipity09 Member Posts: 769
    edited October 2023

    @londongirl99 I ended up buying a cooling mattress (I needed a new mattress anyways). It helps a little. There are cooling mattress pads. A friend of mine, who has hot flashes from menopause bough onet and she loves it. I sleep with a fan on, but I'm constantly kicking the covers off and then covering myself back up after the hot flash is over. It's a no win situation. I sleep in cotton nightgowns, never pajama pants, or any type of pants, as it makes it seem that much worse (for me). I'm on Gabapentin for other reasons and it doesn't help me, but I know others that it's worked for. I've probably been on it too long 🤷🏼‍♀️ I've also used the cooling headache pads (no refrigeration needed) on the back of my neck, with some success. The hot flashes have eased since being off of taxol, but nonetheless, I still get them.

    I hope you find something that helps.

  • londongirl99
    londongirl99 Member Posts: 23

    Thank you all for suggestions.

    I think I will talk to my oncology team and see if they can suggest something. It's just about manageable and if it eases after I stop the Taxol then that's good.

    This is hard.

    Best to all of us.

  • kotchaj
    kotchaj Member Posts: 212


    I am on Venlafaxine, have a cooling mattress pad, can only sleep in a night shirt, not pants, or anything around my neck, etc. I've been done with chemo for almost two years now, and still will get them on occasion. Menopause is in the rear view mirror for me, but I'm also on Arimidex currently.

    I LOVE your idea of a nightgown made out of towels, lol. But, too hot. Keep an extra set of sheets and bedclothes nearby. It's very frustrating and annoying to wake up and be soaking wet. You could always get a moisture proof mattress pad and double sheet your bed in between it, if it's only one time a night you're waking up and have to change. I still struggle and my husband has been calling me the ice queen, lol. I need a window open, a ceiling fan, a floor fan, a top sheet and a blanket that I can throw on and off me. He has taken to sleeping in warm socks along with his pjs, and a divided heated blanket on his side of the bed, lol. Oh, and that's in the winter. Same thing with summer minus the open window, but putting the air down so low you might see your your breath.

    I'm not trying to scare you by saying I still have them, but they are NOTHING like they were with Taxol.

  • bighubs
    bighubs Member Posts: 32

    My wife was prescribed cymbalta for the joint pain associated with her hormone therapy. One apparent side effect is that it also stops hot flashes. Hers went away the first day she took it and have never come back! It has also done wonders for the joint pain with the only exception being in her fingers, but she uses OTC voltaren gel for that at night with pretty good results.

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,173

    Thanks for sharing that, @bighubs! We're glad the cymbalta is working for your wife!

    The Mods

  • londongirl99
    londongirl99 Member Posts: 23

    Thank you again - kotchaj - for saying you get them occasionally, but nothing like when you were on Taxol. That is tremendously comforting. And bighubs - thank you for responding and for taking care of your wife. I will look into the cymbalta as well.

    I know I keep saying it, but this group is so supportive. :)

  • londongirl99
    londongirl99 Member Posts: 23

    Update - Yay!! The sweats seem to have stopped. The nurses told me my metabolism might adjust and things settle down, and indeed it has. (Fingers crossed).

    In the meantime, I bought a set of cheap cooling sheets from Amazon, and some moisture-wicking nightwear, also inexpensive from Amazon, both of which helped tremendously because they dry almost instantly.

    So to anyone out there suffering the same problem - there is hope.


  • vlnrph
    vlnrph Member Posts: 493

    I had night sweats for 5 years while getting anti-estrogen Faslodex/fulvestrant injections and they continue now on Taxol. As a retired pharmacist, I’ve been happy to take both venlafaxine & gabapentin which have diminished the frequency. It’s down to 1-2 episodes in the predawn hours. Annoying but tolerable.

    Cotton takes to long to dry so I keep polyester fleece sheets on the bed all the time, summer and winter. A few extra nightgowns within reach means I just sit up, peel off the damp garment and pull on a dry one.