5 Causes of Night Sweats that We Need to Take into Account

· October 20, 2016
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.

Night sweats are normal when the temperature and air pressure are high. If these factors are not present, excessive sweating at night may be a symptom of something we need to find the cause of.

Believe it or not, sweating too much at night is very common. Sometimes we experience this because we’re merely recovering from a cold, or we have a small infection. Furthermore, night sweats are frequent during menopause.

Nevertheless, it’s still necessary that we appropriately diagnose the cause of this condition. Interestingly, there is an organization called International Hyperhidrosis Society that conducts studies to raise awareness of this problem.

Although not everyone who experiences night sweats suffers from hyperhidrosis, this condition frequently appears in patients at health centers. In many cases, the cause of the excessive sweating is insomnia, stress, or the anxiety caused after not getting a good night’s sleep.

However, in other cases, underlying illnesses, which are relatively serious, may be the cause of this condition. These illnesses must be treated. Below, we’ll tell you more about 5 factors that can cause excessive sweating.

1. Night sweats and side effects of certain medications

Excessive sweating at night could very well be a side effect of a certain type of medication.

The Psychiatric Department at the University of Pennsylvania demonstrated that a lot of treatments for anxiety and depression result in 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 symptom or side effect associated with certain medications that you take.

Algunos fármacos

2. Hyperthyroidism

This is, without a doubt, the most common cause of night sweats.

Hyperthyroidism causes other more obvious symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, capillary fragility, and body temperature changes, which are quite common.

They’re also easier symptoms to detect than night sweats, when diagnosing this condition.

  • We should bear in mind that when the thyroid gland experiences a change associated with the hormone thyroxine, this affects our metabolism. One of the main consequences of this is heat intolerance and excessive perspiration.
  • In addition, we may also experience palpitations when we are in bed, ringing in our ears and episodes of insomnia.

3. Hodgkin Lymphoma or Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

At the beginning of the article, we talked about 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 start in the lymphocytes, which 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.
  • In general, the main symptoms that patients with Hodgkin Lymphoma or Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma often experience is swollen underarm lymph nodes  or 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.


4. Hypoglycemia

Night sweats are also a common symptom of hypoglycemia.

For instance, patients with Type 1 diabetes often experience frequent episodes of excessive sweating at night. This is because there may be an imbalance in their glucose level.

If this happens then it is because of a specific reason: the pancreas is not secreting insulin. As a consequence of this, the body starts to perspire excessively in order to balance this internal change.

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 discomfort and you’re completely soaked.

  • The description above is a way in which our 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.
  • You can feel exhausted, experience chest pain, and have difficulties in breathing when suffering from this illness. If you do, in fact, have these symptoms and often experience them, see a specialist.
  • Once the illness is diagnosed, it can be treated and then you can go back to having a life without this inconvenience.
Insomnio y sudoración nocturna

In sum, never “normalize” this type of symptom. Excessively sweating at night is not normal if it’s not hot in your room. 

Visit your doctor and explain to him or her how you feel and what’s happening to you.