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Night Sweats -Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

After 22 years as an RN, I now write about medical issues and new medical advances. Diet, exercise, treatment, and lifestyle are important.

night-sweats-causes-diagnosis-and-treatment

What are Night Sweats?

Night sweats are episodes of nighttime sweating, which can soak your hair, nightclothes and bedding even though the room is cool. This is a common problem for many people, at least occasionally, and while night sweats are uncomfortable, they aren’t typically a sign of a medical problem. Women have this problem more often then men due to menopause.

I experienced this problem for a period of time, waking up with my face, hair and pillow wet and sometimes my gown along with the sheets. It was really aggravating to me. It is not due to menopause in my case, and my doctor had no clue as to why this happeed to me.

The Hypothalamus Causes the Problem

For the more technically minded individual, the brain is ultimately responsible for night sweats (sleep hyperhidrosis). The hypothalamus should control the body temperature (thermoregulation). Its job is to send a message to the pituitary gland. When the hypothalamus doesn’t function properly due to some problem, it sends the wrong messages to the pituitary gland, which communicates with the rest of the body. Messages are then sent to the rest of the body causing sweat glands go into overtime and work to cool you down, even when you’re not hot.

There are some medications that cause night sweats, which includes antidepressents, hormone treatents and drugs to treat diabetes.

Night sweats are a common perspiration disorder that occurs during sleep and stops upon waking. Night sweats involve not simply sweating a lot at night, but it can literally drench the bed. A healthy person produces between 500 and 1,000 cc of sweat each day. A person with a perspiration disorder will produce much more.

night-sweats-causes-diagnosis-and-treatment

Night Sweat Triggers

There are some triggers that can cause this problem:

  • Caffeine
  • Exercise
  • Alcohol
  • Spicy foods
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Antidepressants
  • Antipyretics
  • Hypoglycemic agents that decrease blood sugar
  • Hormone therapy –medications that regulate the amount of hormones in your body
  • Menopause and hot flashes
  • Autonomic neuropathy
  • Sleep disorders
  • Various types of cances
  • HIV/AIDS

Peri-menopause can be the problem, as less progesterone is like losing your Valium as your estrogen and progesterone are being depleted. Weight loss along with night sweats can be a cause for concern. The worst-case scenario is cancer or diabetes. See a doctor if these sweats occur on a regular basis, interrupt your sleep or if you also have a fever and other symptoms.

For men, many doctors believe they will have night sweats due to the andropause phase, which is similar to the better known menopause experienced by women.

Diseases that can Cause Night Sweats

There are several diseases that can also cause night sweats, such being on chemotherapy as it depletes the estrogen, HIV, ADS, autonomic neuropathy, chronic sinusitis, brucellosis (bacterial infection), endocarditis, tuberculosis,

Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemia, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, sleep apnea, hypothalamic lesions, epilepsy, stroke, cerebral palsy, migraine, spinal cord infarction, head injury, familial dysautomia and several types of medications. Sometimes no cause can be determined.

Possible Helpful Natural Remedies

There is not a specific treatment for night sweats unless they are due to an underlying disease, but there a few things that might help alleviate the symptoms. Flaxseed powder and flaxseed oil are both helpful.

Flaxseed powder is thought to turn on the estrogen receptors just enough to keep them calm. Licorice root extract may help, and you just take just a couple of droplets, which can be put in tea. It can reduce hot flashes significantly.

Health Detective: What Causes Sleep Sweating?

Other Herbal Remedies

Herbal remedies for women with hot flashes include:

  • Plants that cool the system, such as chickweed, elder and violet
  • Plants that nourish or increase oxygen utilization in the liver, such as dong quai, dandelion, Ho Shou Wu (polygonum multiflorum) and yellow dock
  • Plants rich in phytosterols, such as black cohosh.

Product Features of Bed Linens

There is some sleepwear called NiteSweatz that is advertised as being more comfortable. There are several types of bedding that should also help, from sheets, pillows to blankets

Wicking Sheets come in all sizes and might be helpful.

Product Features:

  • Made from patented Dri-Release Fabric that is moisture Wicking and Quick Drying.
  • King Size comes with 2 king size pillow cases
  • King = 78" X 80" -- 112" X 102"
  • Stay Cool Sheets - Dri-Release Moisture Wicking Sheets made by Nidraa

There are also cool comforters that you might find helpful.

Product Features:

  • Outlast Cal-King Comforter: 110" x 100"
  • Made with Outlast technology: Not Too hot, Not Too Cool!
  • Temperature regulating comforter that will help you sleep cool
  • Outlast Gold Certified
  • Sleep Cooler - Sleep Better with CoolingMattress.com (Bedding)

Primary Hyperhydrosis Treatment

Obviously if you can eliminate the cause that is the best way to treat night sweats. Sometimes they must be eliminated one at a time. If there is no cause forthcoming, you may suffer from Primary Hyperhydrosis.

This disorder can become severe enough to interfere with your daily life and can eventually consist of day time sweating as well. If it becomes severe enough your doctor may suggest surgery to remove your sweat glands.

Coping with Hot Flashes and Night Sweats

Summary

As this disorder is not easy to diagnosis, it would be worth making some lifestyle changes, such as cutting out the coffee, alcohol or spicy foods to see if it helps. Trying flax seed or some of the herbal remedies is also an option.

There is some more comfortable night clothing that can be purchased, along with the bedding that helps to cool the body. Night sweats will wake you up because you are soaking wet. This is frustrating if it happens frequently. If it is connected with another disease, then you need to know.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Comments

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 02, 2018:

Hi Trim, I am so glad this information was useful for you. I very much apprecite your comments.

Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on September 01, 2018:

Thanks, Pamela. In this article, I learned many new things. I do remember when my wife changed her medications, her night sweats ceased. But I was unfamiliar with the male equivalent of menopause and its relationship to night sweats.

A well researched and interesting article with potential useful remedies for sufferers of night sweats.

Much respect and admiration,

Sincerely,

Tim

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 16, 2014:

DDE, Thank you so much for your comments.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 16, 2014:

Night Sweats -Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment is thoroughly researched and you always present such informative hubs.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 22, 2013:

Patricia, Thanks for your comments. I think most of us women have had a hot flash or two, but it was no big deal for me either. Love those angels and sending some to you also. I hope you have a good evening also. Thanks for the share.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on July 22, 2013:

This article is so very helpful. I am so thankful I do not have night sweats. I had a very mild menopause and had very few hot flashes either. I do have family members who are plagued by this so am passing this on to them.

Angels and hugs and all are on the way to you, Pamela. Have a lovely evening ps Pinned and Shared

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 26, 2012:

moonlake, Night sweats can occur for so many reasons that it is not always easy to figure out exactly why, as in the case of your husband. Cold sweats are not uncommon either. I appreciate your comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 26, 2012:

bdegiulo, I hope this hub gave you some possible clues. Thanks for your comments.

moonlake from America on September 25, 2012:

I never had the sweats where I soaked the sheets. During menopause I had cold sweats and still have them if I get nervous. I also had cold sweats when my heart was bad and I didn't know it. I would wake at night in a cold sweat.

When we were first married my husband would break out in a sweat every night and soak the sheets and everything he had on. I worried about him but it ended up being nothing.

Great hub. Voted uP!

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on September 25, 2012:

Pamela. Great Hub. Both my wife and I get this every now and then. When I get night sweats it's really bad, I am literally soaked. I have often wondered why this happens and it looks like it could be any number of reasons. Thank for sharing with us.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 25, 2012:

Peggy, Night sweats are no fun, as I've had that neat little experience also. Since they can happen for other reasons, it is good information to know. I appreciate your comments.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on September 25, 2012:

I well remember those days when I was going through menopause. Thankfully those days are past. I did not realize that so many other conditions could cause the night sweats. This hub is useful and interesting and I plan to share it so that others can learn from it. Thanks!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 17, 2012:

rajan jolly, I would imagine women might be more prone to night sweats due to menopause, but I do not have any statistics to prove this. I agree that preventative measures are very important. Thank you for your comments.

jainismus, Thank your so much for your comments.

Mahaveer Sanglikar from Pune, India on September 17, 2012:

Great Hub. Thank you for sharing this information of night sweating.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on September 17, 2012:

Very useful info and well presented Pamela. Just wanna know, are women more prone to night sweats?

It's better to take preventive measure as well as natural remedies to treat it.

voting it up, useful and shared.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 22, 2011:

Bryan, I'm glad the hub was helpful to you and I appreciate your comments.

Bryan - I Sweat Too Much! on March 22, 2011:

I love the wicking sheets idea! Sometimes I find myself beneath a feather blanket, and man can that make someone sweat! Thanks for sharing the technical side of excessive night sweating as well!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 11, 2011:

Support Med, I very much appreciate your comments.

Support Med. from Michigan on February 11, 2011:

Very informative. Excellent guideline on what to use if one suffers from it. v/r

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on January 14, 2011:

Granny's House, I'm glad this hub was helpful and than your for your comments.

Granny's House from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time on January 14, 2011:

I have night sweats too. Thank you for this info. Well done.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on January 14, 2011:

fastfreda, I'm glad you stopped by my hub and I appreciate your comments.

Alfreta Sailor from Southern California on January 13, 2011:

I never had night sweats, but I can sympathize with you and others that do. However this hub helps explain the condition very well. Very good Pamela.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on January 01, 2011:

Jennifer, I hope the flax seeds help because the night sweat are most annoying. Thanks for your comments.

Jennifer Lynch from Stowmarket, Suffolk. on January 01, 2011:

Brilliant hub this. I need to sort out my night sweats so very useful information here - will try the flax seeds.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 23, 2010:

KK Gals, I'm glad to hear yours went away. Thanks for your comment.

Susan Hazelton from Sunny Florida on December 23, 2010:

Pamela, what great information. Night sweats used to drive me crazy, they still do on occasion. Great hub. Voted up and useful.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 23, 2010:

Mickey Dee, It is quite likely the surgery has something to do with it although I don't know what type of surgery you had, but if it continues it might be worth a doctor's visit. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Micky Dee on December 23, 2010:

Pamela- I was going to run right by this hub. I immediately thought, "this is a woman's thing". Then my "half-himers" took a vacation and I remembered that last night as for a few nights I've woke to "sweats". Last night I actually had to change sides of the bed because of the sweat. I turn my thermostat down from 68 to 62. I go to bed cold. I curl to stay warm. I wake to sweats. Maybe mine is more temporary because of my surgery, which is getting so much better. God bless!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 17, 2010:

rpalulis, Certainly fevers and illness can cause this to happen. Thanks for your comments.

Audry, I was surprised at the amount of bedding available and yes I would think it is a good seller. Thanks for your comment.

Hello, I appreciate your comment and I'm glad you haven't had the experience.

Hello, hello, from London, UK on December 17, 2010:

It must be really horrid. I never experienced it. This well written hub with good solid advise must be of great help to sufferers.

Audrey Kirchner from Washington on December 17, 2010:

Interesting article, Pamela and I had no idea that they had bedding and garments to make it better! Definitely a problem for a lot of women 'of a certain age'....the companies could stand to make a fortune!

rpalulis from NY on December 17, 2010:

I see how this could be extremely annoying if happening on a regular basis. The last time I had the flu i had woken up in the middle of the night soaking wet from sweat, probably the fever breaking, and maybe unwanted toxins leaving my body? Anyhow it was for sure really uncomfortable and would hate to have to deal with something like this on a regular basis.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 17, 2010:

Nellieanna, I know many women go through exactly what you described, but thankfully it does eventually go away. Thank you for sharing your experience and your comment.

Nellieanna Hay from TEXAS on December 17, 2010:

It's been many years since menopause hot flashes & those horrid sweats for me. Only experience I've ever had with that most uncomfortable experience. Glad it is over and done with. I'm most fortunate to be quite healthy - for anyone of any age, but especially of mine! My heart goes out to those who suffer so many maladies. And meds for one seems to lead to other maladies.

Your article is certainly valuable and should be most helpful for those plagued with this discomfort chronically,

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 16, 2010:

JY Thanks so much for your comment.

Dallas,

I appreciate your comment.

Dallas W Thompson from Bakersfield, CA on December 16, 2010:

Thanks for sharing. Great information.

John Young from Florence, South Carolina on December 16, 2010:

Very good article Pam.Brought back memories of my days as a surgical tech.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 16, 2010:

peacefulparadox, I had no idea so I looked it up on Google and and I think it is about 1 cup to 2 cups in 24 hours roughly. I hope that answers your question.

peacefulparadox on December 16, 2010:

That's interesting: "A healthy person produces between 500 and 1,000 cc of sweat each day"

About how many gallons is that? I curious to picture how many milk gallon jugs that would be about. I'm not familiar with "cc".

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 16, 2010:

Katie, I hope it helps him, and he may need to see a doctor to rule out a thyroid problem or whatever might be causing the problem. Thanks for your comment.

Katie McMurray from Westerville on December 16, 2010:

This is good to know, I have a male friend that has been experiencing night sweats and it's helpful to learn all the reasons so I can pass this along to help out. Thanks Pamela :)

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 16, 2010:

FloBe, I appreciate you comment.

Martie, Thanks so much for all your kind words. I appreciate your comments. Yes, I did read that hub and thank you so much for including me.

Katrinasui, Thank you so much for your comment.

katrinasui on December 15, 2010:

A nice hub with lots of good information. Thankfully it doesn't happen too often with me.

Martie Coetser from South Africa on December 15, 2010:

You do this so well, Pamela – your research is deep and thorough, and your presentation is perfect – focused – short and sweat.... :))) .... sweet. Hot flushes during the night make me throw off the blanket, but fortunately no excessive sweating. It can’t be nice to wake up in a pool of sweat. But my turn may come, that is why I’ve bookmarked this. My best wishes to you.

PS.: Did you see you are a member of HubPages Symphony Orchestra. Go c 4 yourself.

Flo Belanger from British Columbia, Canada on December 15, 2010:

Good and helpful information. Thankfully it doesn't happen too often. But I will try the flax seed and the licorice (I like licorice anyway!)

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 15, 2010:

Docmo, You must have some medical background and thanks for the correction. I appreciate your comments.

Mohan Kumar from UK on December 15, 2010:

Useful hub. Great info and good list of differential diagnosis. Just a small correction: the increased sweating disease with no underlying cause is called ' Primary HYPER-HYDROSIS' which literally means increased- water production and not HYPE -THYDROSIS. Hope this helps.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 15, 2010:

Darski, You are do funny and I thank you for the award. Love and Peach to you girlfiend

Darlene Sabella from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ... on December 15, 2010:

Oh how I remember the change of life sweats, yet that never ends, over the years it comes and goes. Also I do take many different meds, and the summer and I have a heard time, that is why I live in a colder area of the country. You are so awesome, a great writer, a fantastic friend and I give you the writer award...lalalalallala love & peace darski rate up

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 15, 2010:

mwatkins, I am so glad my hub was helpful to you. I have been doing a lot of relaxation breathing and some meditation over the past few months plus eating flaxseed in cereal and on salad. Those things seem to have helped me. Thanks so much for your comment.

mwatkins from Portland, Oregon & Vancouver BC on December 15, 2010:

Love it - I have been having night sweats for about a year - they are really awful. One thing I noticed that seems to help too are relaxation exercises if I wake up and seem to feel anxious, I practice relaxation breathing techniques and talk to myself - literally talking myself out of having them. And that works great. Thanks for your other tips! They are hugely helpful! I had no idea that night sweats coupled with weight loss could mean a warning sign of cancer. Wise advice to have and pass on! Thank you!