Night Sweats Explained


Physical activity and hot weather are not the only reasons that cause sweating. There are other conditions that can trigger the need to cool us down. One such cause is night sweat or excess sweating during sleep that occurs in both men and women. You may occasionally awaken at night from sweating if you are using too many blankets or your bedroom is too warm. But these conditions cannot be labeled as night sweats and are not a result of any medical condition. Nights sweats are repeated conditions of extreme perspiration that may soak your bedding or nightclothes and are closely associated with an underlying illness or medical condition. In general, these conditions are also associated with symptoms like weight loss, fever, cough, localized pain, diarrhea, or other associated medical concerns.

Causes of Night Sweats

While most of the reasons for night sweats are not too serious, regular occurrences of such symptoms could indicate a potentially severe medical condition.

Less Concerning Causes

In most cases, it is not possible to determine the actual cause of night sweats. However, certain symptoms can help you narrow down the underlying cause of such occurrence.


There are some common drugs that are known to cause night sweats like –

  • Antidepressants like tricyclic and some serotonin reuptake inhibitors.
  • Pain relief medicines like acetaminophen and aspirin.
  • Steroids like cortisone and prednisone.
  • Hormone therapy medication
  • Diabetes medications
  • Phenothiazine Antipsychotics

If you have started taking any new medicine and experiencing night sweats, consult your healthcare practitioner. If such occurrences have a negative impact on your sleep, the physician may prescribe an alternative medicine.

Anxiety and Stress

These mental health issues are often associated with increased sweating. If night sweats are due to such reasons, you might also experience stomach or digestive issues, frequent mood swings, unpleasant dreams, and feelings of worry and dread that recurs.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Such a problem can both during the day and at night. Along with night sweats, it can also cause heartburn, chest pain, respiratory problems, and issues with swallowing. If such conditions occur twice a week, you are advised to seek medical attention.

Hormonal Issues

Hormonal imbalance or other hormonal issues can have a direct link with nighttime sweating. This includes –

  • Low testosterone
  • Menopause
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Carcinoid syndrome

Such night sweats associated with hormonal conditions can also induce symptoms like headaches, fluctuations in energy levels, menstrual changes, sexual dysfunction, etc.

More Concerning Causes

Some of the more serious causes of night sweats are –

Serious Infections

This may include conditions such as tuberculosis, osteomyelitis, endocarditis, brucellosis, etc. But like cancer, infections tend to show other noticeable symptoms like body pain, aching of the muscles and joints, fatigue or general weakness, etc.

Sleep Apnea

This is a condition that causes breathing problems while asleep multiple times at night. Depending on whether you have central sleep apnea or obstructive sleep apnea would dictate your future course of treatment.


In the rarest of cases, night sweats can be a symptom of cancer. However, there will be other associated symptoms that would indicate the presence of cancer. It would be a wise decision to see the doctor if you are experiencing night sweats and feeling fatigued for a continuous period of two weeks.

Neurological Disorders

In rare instances, night sweats can be a symptom of some underlying neurological issues such as stroke, autonomic neuropathy, autonomic dysrefelexia, and syringomyelia. The indicators for such occurrences include loss of consciousness, muscular weakness, appetite loss, trembling, etc.


Your healthcare provider will help you uncover the underlying cause of night sweats and, if possible, come up with an appropriate treatment plan.

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Created on Jun 30th 2020 12:41. Viewed 313 times.


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