Five Causes of Night Sweats to Take into Account - Step To Health

Five Causes of Night Sweats to Take into Account

Night sweats may not be a symptom of a serious illnesses. But if you experience them frequently, for no apparent reason, we recommend seeing a specialist.
Five Causes of Night Sweats to Take into Account

Last update: 02 September, 2020

The causes of night sweats are many. They come in the form of continuous episodes of excessive perspiration that may even dampen your sleepwear or bedding. Experiencing this symptom is completely normal when the room temperature is too high. However, there are other times in which it may be a sign of an underlying medical problem.

Sometimes, it’s only the incubation period of a cold or a small infection. It can even be a recurring symptom during menopause. Whatever the case may be, you need to obtain an adequate diagnosis for this problem.

In fact, this is such a recurring issue that there’s even an International Hyperhidrosis Society who carries out studies and publicizes this problem. Even though not all people who sweat at night suffer from hyperhidrosis, it’s definitely a matter brought up in many primary care consultations. But, why does it happen?

Common causes of night sweats

The Mayo Clinic highlights that night sweats and hot flashes are very common among women who are in the menopause stage. Therefore, if this symptom occurs around 45 or 50 years and is accompanied by irregular or absent periods, that might be the reason. Otherwise, it could be associated with the following:

1. Medication side effects are one of the causes of night sweats

Excessive sweating at night could very well be a side effect of a certain type of medication. Studies made at The Department of Psychiatry of the University of Pennsylvania showed that many treatments for anxiety and depression are accompanied by an increase in night sweats.

However, this side effect doesn’t appear in all patients. In fact, only 14-20% of patients show an increase in excessive sweating during the night. By excessive, we mean that the subject’s pajamas and sheets were soaked because of their sweat.

Likewise, taking too much medication to treat pain or inflammation can also cause this side effect. So, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor about any symptoms or side effects associated with certain medications that you take.

Side effects from medication are among the causes of night sweats

2. Thyroid problems

This is, without a doubt, one of the most common of all the causes of night sweats. Clearly, hyperthyroidism causes other more obvious symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, capillary fragility, and body temperature changes.

In line with a publication in the National Center for Biotechnology Information, when the thyroid gland undergoes some alteration associated with the thyroxine hormone, it affects your metabolism. One of the main consequences is heat intolerance and excessive perspiration.

In addition, you may also experience palpitations when you’re in bed, ringing in your ears, and insomnia.

3. Hodgkin Lymphoma or Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

At the beginning of the article, we mentioned that in some cases night sweats are a symptom of other types of more serious illnesses. Hodgkin Lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma are examples of such serious illnesses. These diseases are a type of cancer that starts in the lymphocytes. These are a fundamental part of the immune system.

Excessive sweating, which is common in these conditions, can affect the lymphatic system. This system consists of lymphatic tissue, lymph vessels, or the spleen.

As highlighted by a publication in The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD), the main symptoms that patients with Hodgkin Lymphoma or Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma often experience are swollen underarm lymph nodes and a swollen groin.

However, it’s worth remembering that this is a type of oncological disease that responds well to treatment and has a high life expectancy rate.

Hodgkin Lymphoma or Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma can cause night sweats

4. Hypoglycemia

Night sweats are also a common symptom of hypoglycemia. According to a recent report published in the journal Medicine, hypoglycemia is a syndrome defined by a blood glucose level below 2.8 mmol/L. Excessive perspiration is one of its clinical manifestations, but also other discomforts such as feelings of hunger and palpitations

5. Acid reflux or bad digestion

Surely this following situation has happened to you before: you eat too much or consume something that makes you feel sick. Then, at one point during the night, you wake up in utter discomfort and completely soaked in sweat. This is a way in which your body reacts to an imbalance, a threat or an internal change.

Additionally, we have to also take into account that gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is also related to this symptom. If this is the case you might feel exhausted, experience chest pain, and experience digestive problems.

So, if this happens often you then you must consult a doctor. You’ll regain your quality of life once they make a diagnosis and prescribe treatment.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease is one of the possible causes of night sweat.

When should you see a doctor

Even though night sweat is largely caused by factors such as ambient temperature, you shouldn’t ignore it as might signal some underlying disease. Consult a doctor if it becomes severe, recurrent, or keeps you from resting.

It might interest you...
How to Prevent Excessive Sweating
Step To Health
Read it in Step To Health
How to Prevent Excessive Sweating

Excessive sweating can be a real headache for many people. The good news is that there's a solution for excessive perspiration. Keep reading to see...

  • Davidson, J. R. T., Foa, E. B., Connor, K. M., & Churchill, L. E. (2002). Hyperhidrosis in social anxiety disorder. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry26(7–8), 1327–1331.
  • Armstrong M, Aziz N, Fingeret A. Physiology, Thyroid Function. [Updated 2019 Jun 28]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2019 Jan-. Available from:
  • Gobbi, P. G., Pieresca, C., Ricciardi, L., Vacchi, S., Bertoloni, D., Rossi, A., … Ascari, E. (1990). Night sweats in Hodgkin’s disease A manifestation of preceding minor febrile pulses. Cancer, 65(9), 2074–2077.<2074::AID-CNCR2820650931>3.0.CO;2-O
  • Weng N, Luo YW, Xu JD, Zhang Y. Abnormal nocturnal behavior due to hypoglycemia: A case report. Medicine (Baltimore). 2019;98(6):e14405. doi:10.1097/MD.0000000000014405
  • Young, P., Finn, B. C., Bruetman, J. E., & Trimarchi, H. (2007). Gastroesophageal reflux as a cause of night sweating. Anales de Medicina Interna24(6), 285–288.