Sweating is the way your body cools itself. It happens to everyone during the day, but some people experience bouts of increased sweating at night. But if you sweat enough to regularly wake up in wet pajamas and bedding, there could be an underlying problem.
What are Night Sweats?
Night sweats are another term for excessive perspiration or sweating at night. They are an uncomfortable part of life for many people. Night sweats are a common symptom of menopause, they also can be caused by a few medical conditions, and some certain medications also the night sweats are not a serious symptom in most cases.
Palpitations can be caused by heart conditions including:
- Certain substances such as alcohol consumption or certain medications or drugs can cause night sweats.
- Infections such as tuberculosis, influenza, and other illnesses that involve fever can cause night sweats.
- Hypoglycemia is another name for low blood sugar.
- Hormonal imbalances can occur due to menopause, diabetes, thyroid problems, puberty, and pregnancy.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease usually causes heartburn, night sweats are a common feature.
- Obstructive sleep apnea restricts breathing during sleep, and a person with untreated sleep apnea is three times more likely to have night sweats than someone without the condition.
- Anxiety and Stress can reason for additional sweating during the day and at night, especially in people who experience night terrors or panic disorder.
- Autoimmune disease is one example that includes rheumatoid arthritis and giant cell arteritis.
- Surgery that affects the hormonal levels and normally causes night time sweats is the removal of the female reproductive organs.
- Cardiovascular diseases are examples that include aortic dissection and nocturnal angina.
- Neurological disorders, for example, strokes and autonomic neuropathy can cause night time sweats.
- Night sweats can also be an early indication of cancer, especially lymphoma or leukemia, although other early symptoms may be more prominent.
- Certain medications can cause night sweats as a side effect. If you've recently started a new medicine and have night sweats, talk to the healthcare provider who prescribed the medicine.
Palpitations can be caused by heart conditions including:
- steroids, including prednisone and cortisone
- both tricyclic antidepressants and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
- pain relievers such as aspirin and acetaminophen
- diabetes medications that help lower blood sugar
- hormone therapy drugs
- phenothiazine antipsychotics
Many people with hyperhidrosis avoid talking to doctors out of embarrassment, but treatments and management strategies can help.
What Causes Night Sweats in Women?
All of the causes listed in a previous section can lead to night sweats in women. The problem usually occurs during times when hormones are changing, such as:
- menopause, which often causes night sweats and hot flashes
- right after delivery, in which case the doctor may refer to "postpartum night sweats"
What Causes Night Sweats in Men?
The causes are common and can also affect men.
Excessive sweating is a feature of low testosterone or hypogonadism. About 39% of men 45 years and older can experience this drop in testosterone. They might also experience night time sweats as a result. However, there seems to be little evidence to support this idea.
A doctor may suggest hormonal treatment or perform tests to identify the cause of the sweating.
Night sweats are a symptom, not a clinical condition. By taking a complete medical history, your healthcare professional will usually be able to determine if you have night sweats. The patient will be asked to describe the situation, including how often and when they occur, and if there are other associated symptoms. A physical exam along with the medical history can help determine the cause of the night sweats and direct further tests.
Blood tests may be done if the diagnosis is unclear, either to measure hormone levels or to look for signs of other conditions (such as an infection) that could be responsible for night sweats.
To treat night sweats, your doctor will take steps to address its underlying cause. The treatment will depend on your specific diagnosis.
- If you experience night sweats because of menopause, your doctor may recommend hormone therapy. This treatment can help reduce the number of hot flashes you experience and relieve other signs, and may also prescribe other medications, such as gabapentin, clonidine, or venlafaxine, which are used off-label for night sweats.
- If an underlying infection is the cause of your night sweats, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics, antiviral medications, or other medications to help treat it.
- If your night sweats are caused by cancer, your doctor may recommend a combination of chemotherapy drugs, surgery, or other treatments.
- If your night sweats are related to the medications you are taking, your doctor may adjust your dose or recommend an alternative medication.
- If alcohol consumption, caffeine consumption, or drug use are the cause of your night sweats, your doctor may recommend that you limit or avoid these substances. In some cases, they may prescribe medication or recommend therapy to help you quit smoking.
- Your doctor may also recommend that you change your sleeping habits. Removing blankets from your bed, wearing lighter pajamas, or opening a window in your bedroom can help prevent and relieve night sweats. It can also help to use air conditioning or a fan, or find a cooler place to sleep.
When to visit a Doctor?
If you only have night sweats occasionally and they don't significantly affect the quality of your sleep because night sweats are usually not a cause for concern. But in some cases, they can be a sign of an underlying medical condition that requires treatment. But if you have trouble sleeping, wake up regularly drenched in sweat, or have other symptoms that worry you, it's best to see your healthcare provider.
Some potentially serious symptoms to look out for include:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Body aches and pains
- High fever and chills
- Chronic or bloody cough
- Diarrhea or stomach pain
- create a cool sleeping environment
- wear light, breathable pajamas and sheets made of natural fabrics
- sleep with air conditioning or fan on
- to prevent dehydration drink plenty of water
- practice relaxation techniques or breathing exercises before going to bed and after waking up with a night sweat
- use clinical strength antiperspirants on areas such as underarms, hands, feet, hairline, back, chest, or groin before bed
- limit the intake of alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods
- do not eat 2 to 3 hours before bedtime
- exercise regularly, but not too close to bedtime
- maintain a healthy weight
- have a healthy diet low in fat and sugar
- get treatment for any underlying health problems
- avoid eating spicy foods, smoking cigarettes, or drinking alcohol just before bedtime, as these are the triggers.
- use a cold washcloth on your face before bed and at night