Dean Traylor is a freelance writer and teacher who writes about various subjects, including education and creative writing.
It's a sticky and uncomfortable feeling. Your cloths is drenched as well as your blankets and sheets. Worst yet, the clamminess gives you a chill that seemingly last throughout the time you're awake in the morning hours.
Night sweat is uncomfortable and embarrassing to have. Common belief is that this is a female problem. But men are regularly affected by them, too. So much so, that men may try to cover up the problem or not talk about it with their significant others.
It’s not uncommon for a wife to complain her husband feels like a “furnace” at night. . Night sweats for men are normal, especially when they sleep in an extremely warm room, under multitude of blankets, or with excessive clothing. This also includes the type of fabric or thickness of the blankets and clothing.
There are other environmental factors to consider: consumption of alcohols and spicy foods have been identified as major causes for this condition.
However, not all night sweats are caused by the environment. They may arise from medical conditions, reaction to medications or for unknown reasons. For women, the cause is often associated with menopause and is commonly known as hot flashes. However, for men there are other causes.
Here are samples of conditions that can cause night sweats. They range from normal functions of the body to ailments that can have serious impacts on a persons health. Or they can be a harbinger for a critical disease. Either way, these factors must be considered when that dreaded clamminess awakes you from a good sleep.
It is suspected that hyperhidrosis are caused be neurologic, metabolic and other systemic diseases
First on the list is Idiopathic Hyperhidrosis. This condition is often associated with night sweating. Hyperhidrosis occurs when people produce excessive sweat from the armpits or palm of the hand.
The "Idiopathic" part of the name indicates that there are no known medical causes for it. They happen in completely normal, healthy people. There’s some speculation that it might be caused by overactive glands. Also, it is suspected that hyperhidrosis are caused be neurologic, metabolic and other systemic diseases. Other causes can be heat or emotions. It’s estimated that it affects 2 to 3% of the population.
Infections, such as tuberculosis and inflammations may cause night sweats. The action of the body trying to fight off these invaders can create a lot of heat, and sweat. Other infections include:
- endocarditis (inflammation of the heart valves),
- osteomyelitis (inflammation of the bone due to infection),
- abscesses (boils, appendix, tonsillitis, perianal, peritonsillar, and diverticulitis), and
- HIV infection.
Night sweats may be a sign of cancer. Lymphoma is the most common type of cancer associated with night sweats. However, according to the Medicine Net’s Dr. Melissa Conrad Stoppler, MD, people who have a misdiagnosed (or not diagnosed) cancer frequently have symptoms of night sweating as well as other things such as unexplained weight loss and fever.
Other medications may cause what is known as flushing (redness of the skin, typically over the cheeks and neck) which is often confused with night sweats
Medication can cause night sweats. Often it’s a side effect. Antidepressants of all kinds are usually the most common form of medication that causes this condition. The side effects from antidepressant have a range of incidence from 8% to 22% among users.
Sometimes, medication to lower fevers such as aspirin and acetaminophen may cause it; however, it is not as prevalent as antidepressants. Other medications may cause what is known as flushing (redness of the skin, typically over the cheeks and neck) which is often confused with night sweats.
These drugs are:
- nitroglycerine and
- sildenafil (commonly known as Viagra).
Hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) may cause sweating in those who are taking insulin or oral anti-diabetic medications.
This condition may occur at night for some men. In many respects, it is a combination of averse drug reaction or a natural response to lowered glucose levels.
Hormone disorders such as pheochromocytoma (tumors on the adrenal glands) and hyperthyroidism (overproduction of thyroid hormones) may be associated with excessive sweating as well as nigh sweats.
Conditions affecting testosterone levels have been identified, as well.
Finally, night sweats may be caused by neurological conditions. It is not the most common reason for the night sweats; however, it is capable of creating it. Certain neurologic conditions that cause this are autonomic dysreflexia, post-traumatic syringomyelia, stroke, and autonomic neuropathy (Disease of the nerves affecting mostly the internal organs such as the bladder muscles, the cardiovascular system, the digestive tract, and the genital organs).
Men who suffer with night sweats may or may not have something serious. In many cases, a man who wants to stop the condition may change their sleeping environment (turn on the AC), the blankets or clothing and go for something light. Or they may want to consult a physician. Either solution may keep the “furnace” down and the wife from complaining.
Have You Experienced Night Sweat?
1. Stoppler, Melissa: “Night Sweats”; MedicineNet.com
2. Rockoff, Alan: “ Hyperhidrosis” ; MedicineNet.com
© 2016 Dean Traylor
MG Singh emge from Singapore on May 29, 2016:
Interesting hub. Thank you