Night Sweats

Hot temperature at night normally causes sweat. Night sweats though become disturbing when you are in a well-ventilated room; you may wonder what might be wrong with you. Some people experience waking up drenched in perspiration at night and the sheets are wet even though the outside environment isn’t very warm. It can be nocturnal hyperhidrosis or night sweats, a condition where you sweat excessively during nighttime.

Sweating beyond the normal level is a medical condition that may be traced to underlying disorders or even hormonal imbalance. Most night sweats attack are really harmless although others may indicate some serious problems.

What causes night sweats? Listed below are the common identifiable factors why people suffer from night sweats.

Menopause and Andropause

Night sweating is usually associated with menopausal women, but men may also have it during their andropause. Both conditions are referred as hot flashes. Low hormonal production of estrogen and progesterone can cause hot flashes in women. In men, when they reach 40s, there is also a gradual decrease in the production of testosterone. By the age of 50, the testosterone level is lowered which causes night sweats. Hot flashes though are more prevalent in women than men because the former have more sweat glands in the body. For hormone imbalance, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is advised to cope with the deficiency problem and feel healthier.

Idiopathic Hyperhidrosis

This is another name for primary hyperhidrosis. People suffer from excessive sweating on specific areas in the body such as the face, palms or hands, feet, armpits and groins. Depending on the seriousness of the sweating problem, these condition can be treated topically (using deodorants and antiperspirants), by Botox injection or laser treatment, and sympathectomy surgery (ETS).

Bacterial Infections

Tuberculosis is commonly linked to night sweating. However there are also other infections where night sweating has been observed. Bacterial endocarditis or infective endocarditis happens when bacteria enter the blood stream and attack the heart valves usually resulting to chilling or night sweats. Fever due to bacteria can trigger night sweating in osteomyelitis (infection of the bone and marrow). Fungi affecting the pulmonary system can cause night sweats during feverish bout of histoplasmosis especially in children and coccidioidomycosis. Night sweating is one symptom of  human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).Collected pus or abscesses can also cause fever and night sweating. Taking antibacterial prescribed by your physician can reduce the fever and other symptoms of these diseases.


Cancers at their early stage can be detected by night sweating. Patients who developed malignant cancers have complained of excessive night sweating bouts. Teenagers diagnosed with lymphocytic leukemia and acute myelogenous leukemia can suffer from night sweats.  Fever accompanied by night sweats, weight loss, and swelling of lymph glands in the neck are symptoms of Hodgkin disease among males. Cancer specialists or oncologists can help you alleviate these symptoms.

Oral Medications.

Most antidepressant medicines can trigger night sweats. Certain types of medicines can have side effect in the form of night sweating or hot flashes. Some of these are niacin used for lipid disorders, tamoxifen, hydralazine, nitroglycerine, and Viagra’s sildenafil. Cortisones, prednisone and prednisolone also result in flashing or night sweats. Before taking any medications, always consult your doctor.


Diabetics experience fluctuating temperature at night due to changes in sugar levels. The body stabilizes the temperature by releasing sweat. Patients with diabetes often experience night sweats due to heavy meals and food that increases sugar level, high insulin intake or strenuous exercise. Other times, the anti-diabetes pills they take result to lower blood sugar level which also causes night sweats. This is called diabetes hypoglycemia. It is always best to see your doctor if you feel or notice anything unusual about your disorder.

Hormonal Disorders

Grave’s disease which is related to hyperthyroidism can bring about excessive night sweating. An increase in the blood pressure can be a sign of a rare benign adrenal gland tumor (pheochromocytoma).  Some symptoms related to cancerous tumors (carcinoid syndrome) cause excessive sweating at night. Necessary laboratory tests and biopsies can be advised by the doctor to confirm any illness that may be causing night sweats.

Neurologic Disorders

Night sweats have been observed in patients with life-threatening disorders such as autonomic dysreflexia (spinal cord injury), syringomyelia (cyst in the spinal cord) , autonomic neuropathy (damage to the autonomic nerves) and stroke. These are symptoms you need to discuss with your neurologist.

Sleep Apnea

Night sweats are common to obese suffering from sleep apnea. They experience disturbances in sleeping pattern at night due to less comfortable sleeping position. Sleep apnea causes a person to wake up gasping for breath and sweating profusely. Sleeping partners or parents can aid a person to alleviate sleep apnea by monitoring him during sleep and by reverting him to a comfortable position.

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