What Causes Night Sweats and What You Can Do About It

If you’ve ever experienced night sweats, you know that it can be uncomfortable and disrupt your sleep. There are several different reasons why you may have night sweats, and some of them require medical attention. So let’s go over the basics of night sweats so you know what is really going on.

What are night sweats?

Everyone has occasionally experienced sweating at night. Sweating is a normal reaction when the room is too hot or you’ve got too many blankets on your bed. Night sweats are something different altogether and not related to the temperature of the room. A night sweat is defined as a sudden hot flash that can cause you to sweat profusely, sometimes drenching clothing and bed sheets. What causes night sweats and chills? Sometimes a person can get so drenched from sweating, that they then experience a sudden chill.

What Causes Night SweatsWhat causes night sweats?

There are several different things that can cause night sweats, and some of them can be quite serious. It’s always best to work with your health care provider to ensure that nothing serious is going on. There are several common reasons, and what causes female night sweats can be very different from what causes male night sweats. So let’s break it down. Here are some of the causes that are not specific to either gender:

  • Certain medications. Some medications have side-effects that can cause night sweats. Antidepressants are a common medication associated with night sweats, affecting up to 20% of antidepressant users. Other known drugs that have been associated with this include drugs that lower the body temperature, such as acetaminophen and aspirin, drugs that lower the glucose in the blood, and medications that affect hormones in the body, such as cortisone, and prednisone.
  • Infections. Certain infections can cause night sweats, and this could include tuberculosis, the AIDS virus, and certain bacterial infections like endocarditis and osteomyelitis.
  • Cancer. Night sweats can be one of the early signs of cancer. This is one reason why seeing a doctor is a good idea if you are experiencing night sweats. Lymphoma is one of the most common cancer types to exhibit these symptoms.
  • Idiopathic hyperhidrosis. This serious-sounding condition is really just a situation where the body produces too much sweat for no identifiable medical reason. It isn’t dangerous, just annoying.

What causes men to have night sweats?

Men in particular may experience night sweats for a couple of different reasons. One is a hormonal imbalance. Low testosterone levels can send false signals that the body is overheating to the hypothalamus (which is the control center of the brain). This causes the body to react by sweating profusely. Another reason men may experience night sweats is poor fitness and diet and high stress levels.

What causes women to have night sweats?

One common reason for a woman to experience night sweats is the hormone changes brought about by menopause or perimenopause. Many women don’t realize that perimenopause and its accompanying symptoms can happen several years before actual menopause occurs.

What is the solution?

It would be nice if you could find an easy solution to night sweats just by reading something on the Internet, but it’s not that simple. Because there are a multitude of different causes, there is really no one solution that works for everyone. And in some cases, the solution will involve treatment by a medical professional.

Getting rid of night sweats may involve hormone treatments or treating a bacterial infection. It may be that you need to discontinue a medication and try something else. And in the case of idiopathic hyperhidrosis, there are medications you can take to help with the sweating. The bottom line is, your doctor is the place to start for getting help for this condition.

Nobody wants to have to deal with unpleasant sweating, especially during the night. It can wake you up and make sleeping very uncomfortable. But there are usually solutions. And don’t freak yourself out thinking you have cancer just because you are having night sweats. You can’t diagnose yourself by reading an article on the Internet! Work with a health care professional so that your mind can rest easy and you’ll hopefully be able to get some better sleep at night.

About Holli Ronquillo

I'm a freelance writer, mom, wife, and sleep connoisseur (not necessarily in that order). When I'm not sleeping or chasing a toddler around, I'm usually writing or reading.