Night sweats are not those usual excessive sweating nights; when you have night sweats you literally soak up the bed with sweat. In medical terms it is referred to as sleep hyperhidrosis, which happens as a result of rise in body temperature and has nothing to do with the surrounding environment. The person suffering from night sweats might wake up to see soppy clothes and bed sheets. On waking up the person might either feel extremely cold or feel too hot and the wetting may disrupt the sleep pattern as well.
There could be a myriad health conditions which lead to night sweats. Here’s an overview of what causes night sweats.
- Idiopathic hyperhidrosis:
Idiopathy means unknown cause and idiopathic hyperhidrosis occurs when the body chronically sweats profusely without any noticeable medical ailment.
- Indication of an infection:
Some of the infections which cause chronic night sweating include tuberculosis, fungal & bacterial infections, HIV AIDS, Cancers, infection of the spleen, liver, etc.
Night sweating could be an early indication of certain types of cancers, lymphoma being the most common of them. Symptoms of lymphoma include swelling in the lymphatic nodes in the neck region, night sweat, sever loss of weight and high fever etc.
Night sweats may occur on account of various other malignancies too.
Certain medications could give rise to night sweats as a possible side effect. Usually antidepressants including those prescribed and over the counter available ones result in night sweats. Simple antibiotics like aspirin and acetaminophen taken to bring down the temperature can sometimes cause night sweating.
- Neurologic disorders:
When suffering from neurological disorders like autonomic disreflexia, neuropathy etc night sweats are common, and the medications taken to treat the ailment could be the possible reason for such profuse sweating.
- Abscess formation:
Accumulation of pus from an infection of the liver or spleen could be another possible reason of night sweat. In such conditions night sweat persists without any other noticeable symptoms.
Hypoglycemia refers to low blood sugar levels. Diabetics who take in insulin externally or those on oral drugs to control their blood sugar levels are prone to night sweats.
- Hormonal disorders:
People suffering from hormonal imbalances like the case of hyperthyroidism, pheochromocytoma, carcinoid syndrome etc are prone to night sweats and hot flashes.
What is the difference between hot flashes and night sweats in women?
Women nearing menopause have low levels of estrogen and progesterone production.
Hormonal reduction causes the hypothalamus region to get confused if it’s hot or cold to act suitably. This leads to irregular expansion and contraction of the blood vessels.
When there is an increase in blood flow, women feel the wave of extreme heat, a flushing like sensation turning the face red in color. But hot flashes last for a lesser period of time they literally happen and flash away in moments. While night sweats leave women soaked up in their clothes and bed linen. At times they may not be able to sleep due to the itchiness and stickiness caused by night sweats. Hot flashes sometimes may be followed by night sweats.