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What Causes Excessive Night Sweats Around the Head and Shoulders

Night sweats also known as hot flashes or nocturnal hyperhidrosis is the intense sweating that occurs at night during sleep. Night sweats can occur in any parts of the body especially, hands, face, neck and feet. But what causes excessive night sweats around the head and shoulders. Well, there are various reasons that can cause night sweats around the head and shoulders area.

Causes of night sweats –

Idiopathic hyperhidrosis-

One of the causes of excessive night sweats is a condition known as idiopathic hyperhidrosis. Idiopathic hyperhidrosis is a condition in which the body produces excess or too much sweat than the body needs. The cause of idiopathic hyperhidrosis is unknown and hence, the name idiopathic. No environmental or medical condition has been associated to this type of hyperhidrosis. This condition usually results in excessive night sweats around the head (on the scalp).

Hormonal changes-

Changes in the hormone levels are one of the reasons on what causes excessive night sweats around the head and shoulders. Women in their menopause or in their pre menopause periods go through changes in the hormone estrogen levels. Estrogen fluctuations are often perceived as hot flashes and night sweats in women. Men also suffer from male andropause and this can lead to night sweats in men. However, male andropause occurs gradually unlike female menopause which is drastic.

Hormone disorders-

An individual with type 2 diabetes usually suffers from excessive night sweats. Another cause of night sweats is hypoglycemia or low sugar levels in the blood. Hypoglycemia usually occurs in individuals who are on oral anti-diabetic insulin. A rare condition called as pheochromocytomas (tumors of the adrenal glands) may also cause excessive night sweats in individuals.

Autonomic neuropathy-

Autonomic neuropathy or nerve damage also what causes excessive night sweats around the head and shoulders in few individuals. However, this condition is rare. Autonomic neuropathy affects the nerves of the cardiovascular system, genitals, digestive tract and bladder muscles. It can affect a single or more organs of the body.


Night sweats may develop side-effects of taking certain medications or drugs. Anti-depressants (aspirin, acetaminophen), niacin, sildenafil (Viagra), nitroglycerine, hydralazine and tamoxifen are some medicines that can cause night sweats.


Excessive night sweats in any part of the body can be a sign of cancer. Certain cancers such as Hodgkin’s lymphoma and leukemia can cause intense sweating. Hodgkin’s lymphoma causes swelling of the lymph nodes in the shoulders and neck area.

Endocrine disorders-

Endocrine disorders also what causes excessive night sweats around the head and shoulders and one such common disorder is Hypothyroidism or overactive thyroid.


Bacterial infections such as tuberculosis and endocarditis can be the cause of night sweating. Night sweats are common in individual suffering from HIV infections. Other infections which may cause excessive night sweats include osteomyelitis, tonsillitis, appendicitis and diverticulitis.

Other medical conditions-

Several medical issues can lead to excessive night sweats. These conditions include carcinoid syndrome (type of cancerous tumor), myelfibrosis (bone marrow disorder), brucellosis (bacterial infection), pyogenic abscess (severe pus- filled teeth cavity), syringomyelia (cyst infection in the spinal cord) and stroke.

All these conditions frequently cause excessive night sweats or hot flashes in both the genders.

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