An individual should be concerned about night sweats when they have been ongoing for two weeks or longer along with the below conditions:
What are night sweats?
Night sweats or sleep hyperhidrosis are episodes of excessive sweating or perspiration that happen during sleep. They are often described as soaking or drenching and may require a change of sheets or even clothes. Night sweats can occur during sleep and without physical exertion. They aren’t caused by a heavy blanket or warm bedroom. Instead, other underlying health issues may be responsible for these episodes of considerable sweating in the sleep. Night sweats can reduce sleep quality, concern a bed partner, and provoke serious discomfort.
What are the causes of night sweats?
There are many different causes of night sweats. Most common include:
- Idiopathic hyperhidrosis: Idiopathic hyperhidrosis is a condition in which the body severely produces too much sweat without any identifiable medical cause.
- Hormone disorders: Sweating or flushing can be seen with several hormone disorders such as hyperthyroidism.
- Neurologic conditions: Neurologic conditions including stroke and autonomic neuropathy may cause increased sweating and may lead to night sweats.
- Infections: Tuberculosis is the infection most commonly associated with night sweats. However, bacterial infections, such as endocarditis (inflammation of the heart valves), osteomyelitis (inflammation in the bones), and abscesses can also cause night sweats. Night sweats are also a symptom of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.
- Lifestyle: Excessive intake of drugs, alcohol, and caffeine intake can also increase the risk of night sweats. Late-night eating, excess stress, or workload may also increase night sweats.
- Medications: Certain medications are known to be associated with night sweats. These include some antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), steroids, and medicines taken to lower fevers such as aspirin or acetaminophen that may paradoxically cause sweating.
- Low blood sugars
- Other medical conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), heart failure, anxiety, and panic attacks have been correlated with night sweats.
How can night sweats be treated?
The most effective treatment for night sweats will vary for any individual patient and should always be overseen by a health professional. Some potential treatment methods include modifications in environment and behavior, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and medications.
- Lifestyle modifications: Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods; drinking sufficient cold water; maintaining a healthy weight; utilizing relaxation techniques, and wearing breathable clothing before sleeping are few modifications that may relieve night sweats.
- CBT: It is a type of talk therapy that is commonly used for health problems such as depression, anxiety, and insomnia. It is normally conducted in-person by a psychiatrist or counselor, but several self-directed programs have been developed. Studies have found that CBT for hot flashes and night sweats can reduce their frequency and improve mood and quality of life in menopausal women. CBT is compatible with other approaches, such as behavior modifications, and likely has the greatest effect on night sweats when combined with other approaches.
- Medications: Sometimes, existing medications may cause night sweats; changing the prescription, dosage, or when the drug is taken may resolve night sweats. If the night sweats are caused by an underlying infection or hormone problem, medication to treat the underlying condition may help in relieving the symptoms. Several types of drugs, notably hormone therapies, can reduce night sweats, but these drugs can have significant side effects. A doctor may be in the best position to discuss the benefits and downsides of any specific medication.
What is the outcome of patients with night sweats?
Night sweats affect many people. They are sometimes not a cause for concern, but they can interrupt sleep and reduce the quality of life. In some cases, night sweats are a sign of a health issue that requires attention. Sleeping in a cool room with bedding and pajamas made from light natural fabrics may help. If not, a doctor can recommend other approaches, which may include medications and therapies. Therapy along with lifestyle changes helps most people have a good quality of life.