Night Sweats: Why do you get it?

  • Night sweats can be uncomfortable and interrupt your sleep.
  • Although most of them aren’t serious, in some cases however, frequent night sweating can be a sign of a serious underlying condition.
  • Menopause, infections, certain cancers and medications are among the many things that can trigger excessive sweating at night.

For many people, night sweats or excessive sweating during the night, are a common complaint and an uncomfortable part of their life.

In most cases, night sweats are pretty normal and not a cause for concern. But if you sweat enough that you often wake up with your pajamas or beddings drenched in sweat, it could be a sign of an underlying condition that needs to be treated.

Read on and learn more about the things that cause you to perspire so much at night and the steps you can take to prevent you from experiencing it.

What triggers night sweats?

Excessive sweating at night can happen for a number of reasons. They include:

  • Menopause: The hot flashes that come with menopause cause night sweats in women.
  • Infections: Night sweats are commonly linked with Tuberculosis and also a symptom of an HIV infection.
  • Cancer: Night sweats are typically one of the early signs of some cancers such as lymphoma or leukemia.
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Side effect of certain medications including antidepressants, hormone treatments, and diabetes medications
  • Excessive intake of caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, or certain illegal drugs

When to seek medical help?

Night sweats can sometimes be a symptom of more serious conditions. It’s best to check in with your GP if you’re having trouble sleeping, your night sweats occur on a regular basis, sweats accompanied by other symptoms like high fever, cough or unexplained weight loss. For people with lymphoma or HIV, night sweats may indicate that the condition is worsening.

What are the suggested treatments and lifestyle changes to reduce night sweats?

Depending on the underlying cause, your doctor may suggest lifestyle changes, medications and other treatments such as:

  • Hormone therapy for night sweats that occur as a result of menopause; this lessens episodes of hot flashes and improve other symptoms
  • Off-label medications for night sweats such as gabapentin, clonidine, or venlafaxine
  • Antibiotics are also prescribed if your night sweats are caused by an underlying infection.
  • Combination of chemotherapy drugs or surgery for night sweats caused by cancer
  • Alternative drugs or dosage adjustment if your night sweats are due to the medications you are taking
  • Cutting back or totally avoid alcohol and caffeine consumption as well as drug use may be advised if these are what’s causing you to sweat at night
  • Altering your sleeping habits can also ease night sweats

Tips to prevent night sweats

If you don’t have other symptoms that might indicate something more concerning, do the following to relieve night sweats:

  • Restrict alcohol and caffeine consumption and drug use
  • Adjust your sleep time
  • Keep your room cooler at night with a fan or air conditioning or open a window.
  • Remove extra beddings and wear lighter sleep clothes.
  • Avoid eating spicy foods, drinking warm beverages, smoking cigarettes, and exercise, too close to bedtime.

If you suspect you have an infection or other illness, seek immediate medical care. Also, ask your doctor about your condition, treatment options and other techniques to alleviate night sweats.

Source: Healthline