Night Sweats


Night sweats occur in a number of people.  Not only are they irritating, but they can also be caused by certain health problems.  There are various different health problems related to this condition, and so if a person experiences these annoying sweats, it is recommended to see a doctor.

Common Causes

Some of the common health problems that may cause these kind of sweats include menopause, HIV/AIDS, certain cancers, sleep apnea, the common cold, disorders of the thyroid, heart disease, the flu, hepatitis, fever, and stress.  Other common causes are sleeping with too much bedding, or too heavy of a material of bedding, sleeping with pajamas that are made of heavy material, eating spicy meals or foods before bedtime, nightmares, night terrors, too warm of a temperature in a persons home, and strenuous activities such as exercising before bedtime.

Less common causes include the side effects from certain medications.  Some of the medications that may cause night sweats are anti-depressants, certain diabetic medications, some hormone replacement medications, some forms of medications used to treat insomnia, certain pain relieving medications, and steroids.

Other causes include consuming alcohol, and/or taking illegal drugs such as heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, LSD, and methamphetamine.  A person who suffers from these frustrating sweats should speak with their doctor as soon as possible.  The causes can often be simple, but sometimes night sweats can indicate certain medical problems such as the ones that have been mentioned within this article.  If a person suspects the causes of their sweats to be from any of the medications listed, it is important to speak with the doctor before discontinuing the use of the medications.

If a person is addicted to alcohol or the illegal drugs that are suspected to be the cause too, and it is also important to seek treatment.  While illegal drugs are dangerous to use, the illegal drugs may be dangerous to stop taking without the supervision of a doctor.  If the causes listed are not the problem, then a doctor will likely run other tests on a person to rule out other possible causes.  Night sweats are not only irritating, but can also affect a persons quality of sleep and even their relationships.  Even though causes often take time to find, it is important to seek advice from the doctor to get to the root of their cause.

Night Sweats in Men

In men they can be caused by either health related problems or other problems. One of the main causes is from something called andropause, which is actually a male version of menopause.  Just as women lose estrogen, a male can lose testosterone as he ages, which can trigger andropause.  Andropause has not yet received much research, and is actually not well known by many doctors at this time.  Another cause in men is type I and type II diabetes.

Other causes are HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, anxiety, stress, certain cancers, pain, the flu virus, the common cold, and sleep apnea.  Night sweats in men do not exactly differ much from them in women, so the possible causes are relatively the same.  Seeking medical advice from a doctor is suggested for men who have got this problem.  Upon speaking with a doctor, the doctor may suggest that tests be done on a man to rule out any of these possible causes.

Medical conditions are not the only possible cause for these affected men.  Other possible causes may include consumption of alcohol, illegal drugs, certain medications that are either prescribed or bought over the counter, obesity, bedding that is too heavy of a fabric, or pajamas that are made of materials that hold in body heat.  The first step to treating and diagnosing is by seeking medical advice by a doctor.  The doctor can rule out medical issues that may be the cause of those suffered men, and if a medical condition is the cause, proper treatment will be given.

Night sweats are not only miserable for the man but also for their partner.  They can affect the mans quality of sleep, concentration during work, and can also result in mood swings due to the lack of sleep or disruption of sleep that is experienced.

If tobacco, alcohol, or illegal drug use is suspected to be the cause for those male patients, a man should seek treatment for their addictions.  Stopping alcohol and/or illegal drugs cold turkey can be dangerous due to the effects that withdrawals can have on a body, so medical supervision is needed when a man decides to give up these already unhealthy habits or addictions.

Night Sweats in Women

This is a common occurrence in Perimenipause and Menopausal women.  Aside from environmental factors such as a room or clothing that’s too warm, most for those women are caused by hormone fluctuations during perimenopause or menopause. Other health factors also can cause them in women, but additional symptoms typically point to the underlying condition.

A fairly common occurrence, they can be frustrating and embarrassing. Related to hot flashes, sweating at night is a physical response to mixed up messages from the brain. The temperature regulating hypothalmus, during hormone extremes, misinterprets certain messages as commands to increase core body temperature. Its response is to stimulate neurotransmitters to send messages to the body to release heat energy. The body reacts by increasing the heart rate and dilating blood vessels in an attempt to cool the body and dissipate the ‘imagined’ heat.

The reality of this ‘imagined’ heat can be very frustrating as along with the body’s attempts to cool down, some women may experience:

  • Anxiety
  • Increase in heart rate
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Feelings of being close in
  • Weakness
  • Headaches

It isn’t just menopause that can bring on night sweats though.  Anything that causes fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone levels can trigger the brain to misinterpret signals.  Stress is a big anything!

Treatment Due to Different Causes

There can be several causes.  In women going through menopause, they are rather common.  The treatment for menopausal night sweats by a doctor usually consists of hormone replacement therapy, which is commonly referred to as HRT.  HRT is not used in most cases with women who have a history of certain cancers.  Another way to treat this problem caused by menopause is through vitamins and/or a change in diet.

Certain cancers, most commonly Lymphoma can also be a cause.  If these annoying sweats are accompanied by other symptoms such as unexplainable weight loss, fever, or other unusual symptoms, a doctor should be seen as soon as possible.  If cancer is found, treatment of chemotherapy may be used which can help minimize or prevent night sweats.  Other causes could be AIDS, certain medications, tuberculosis, infection, or rarely, neurological disorders, such as a stroke.

The treatment are dependent upon the cause, so it is very important to see a doctor upon discovering that a person has night sweats.  Most often, they are not dangerous, but just annoying.  Since they may be caused by certain health problems, it is wise to make sure that your doctor rules out any health problems.  If no health conditions are found to be the cause, then taking certain measures to prevent them are needed.

If no health problems are found, a person can usually eliminate them by wearing cotton pajamas to bed, sleeping with a fan, avoiding caffeine, avoiding alcohol or tobacco, avoiding spicy foods, and also by sleeping with bedding made of a lighter fabric.  If these sweats continue and your doctor has not found any health problems, it is a good idea to get a second opinion.  Night sweats can affect a person’s sleep quality, mood, and even relationship, so seeking a possible cause and treatment from a doctor is of the utmost importance for a persons health and well being.

Share Button