Definition

What are Night sweats?

Night sweats are repeated episodes of extreme perspiration that may soak your nightclothes or bedding and are related to an underlying medical condition or illness.

You may occasionally awaken after having perspired excessively, particularly if you are sleeping under too many blankets or if your bedroom is too warm. Although uncomfortable, these episodes are usually not labeled as night sweats and typically aren’t a sign of a medical problem.

In general, night sweats are also associated with fever, weight loss, localized pain, cough, diarrhea, or other symptoms of concern.

How common are Night sweats?

Night sweats are common in both men and women, adults and children. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of Night sweats?

It’s normal to sweat during the night if the room or your bedding is making you too hot.

Night sweats are when you sweat so much that your night clothes and bedding are soaking wet, even though where you’re sleeping is cool.

Depending upon the underlying cause of the night sweats, other symptoms may occur in association with the sweating. For example:

  • Certain infections and cancers
  • Shaking and chills can sometimes occur if you have a fever.
  • Unexplained weight loss due to lymphoma.

Night sweats due to the menopausal transition are typically accompanied by other symptoms of menopause such as vaginal dryness, daytime hot flashes, and mood changes.

Night sweats that occur as a side effect of medications can be accompanied by other medication side effects, depending upon the specific drug.

Conditions that result in increased sweating in general (as opposed to only night sweats) will result in increased sweating at other hours of the day.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

You should contact your doctor if night sweats:

  • Occur on a regular basis
  • Interrupt your sleep
  • Are accompanied by a fever, weight loss, localized pain, cough, diarrhea, or other symptoms of concern
  • Come on after your menopause symptoms have been absent for months to years

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Causes

What causes Night sweats?

Medications that can cause night sweats:

  • Night sweats are a common side effect of many medications, such as:
  • Depression medications (antidepressants)
  • Drugs used to treat diabetes (if the level of sugar in your blood gets too low) (hypoglycemic agents)
  • Hormone-blocking drugs used to treat certain cancers (hormone therapy)

Medical conditions that can cause night sweats:

  • Anxiety
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Autonomic neuropathy (damage to your autonomic nerves)
  • Brucellosis (a bacterial infection)
  • Carcinoid syndrome (a certain type of cancerous tumor in your intestines)
  • Drug addiction (substance use disorder) or withdrawal (alcohol, opioids, cocaine, cannabis, benzodiazepines)
  • Endocarditis (an infection of the inner lining of the heart)
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Hodgkin’s lymphoma (Hodgkin’s disease)
  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
  • Leukemia
  • Myelofibrosis (a bone marrow disorder)
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Osteomyelitis (a bone infection)
  • Pheochromocytoma (a rare adrenal gland tumor)
  • Pyogenic abscess (a pus-filled cavity caused by an infection)
  • Sleep disorders (such as obstructive sleep apnea)
  • Stroke
  • Syringomyelia (a fluid-filled cyst in the spinal cord)
  • Thyroid disease
  • Tuberculosis

Night sweats and hot flashes are very common among women around the time of menopause. If you are around age 50 and are having irregular or absent menstrual periods, and have no other symptoms, this is likely the cause of your symptoms.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for Night sweats?

Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How are Night sweats diagnosed?

Night sweats should initially be evaluated with a thorough history and physical examination

If these don’t elicit possible causes, the appropriate next step in the work-up can vary. Some recommend multiple laboratory and imaging studies, while others advise against any routine tests.

One reasonable algorithm recommends an initial work-up including a complete blood count, thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) level, a purified protein derivative (PPD) and HIV test, and a chest x-ray.

If the results are unrevealing, a trial of antireflux medication is recommended. If the patient does not improve, consider a diary of nocturnal temperatures to help discern the presence or absence of febrile pulses and further evaluate for suspected endocarditis or lymphoma.

How are Night sweats treated?

The treatment for night sweats depends upon the underlying cause.

In summary, night sweats are usually a harmless annoyance; however, they are sometimes a sign of an underlying medical condition. Persons with unexplained night sweats should seek medical care.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage Night sweats?

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

 

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: May 4, 2018 | Last Modified: May 4, 2018

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