What Causes Night Sweats


    Night sweats are a common complaint. One study found that 41% of patients seeing a primary care physician reported experiencing night sweats. Sometimes the cause of night sweats are as simple as having too many blankets or turning the thermostat too high. Some medications can cause night sweats. Night sweats can be a sign of menopause, but they can also result from other medical conditions. Seek help for night sweats if they occur on a regular basis, make it difficult to sleep through the night, or are accompanied by other symptoms such as weight loss.
Medications that Can Cause Night Sweats

    Several medications may cause night sweats as a side effect. Antidepressants can cause night sweats between 8% and 22% of the time depending on the specific drug. Other psychiatric medications can also cause night sweats. Drugs taken to lower the body temperature, such as aspirin and acetaminophen, can cause night sweats. Cortisone medications, hormone therapy, and medications that lower your blood sugar levels may also lead to night sweats. Some medications can cause the skin to become flush, a condition that feels similar to night sweats. These medications include niacin, tamoxifen, hydralazine, nitroglycerine, and Viagra.

Conditions that Can Cause Night Sweats
    Menopausal hot flashes are a common cause of night sweats in women who are at the age for menopause. Idiopathic hyperhidrosis is a condition that consists of chronic sweating without any identifiable medical cause. Infections such as tuberculosis, inflammation of the heart valves, inflammation of the bones, an abscess, brucellosis, and HIV can cause night sweats. Certain cancers are associated with night sweats. These cancers include leukemia and pheochromocytoma. Patients with those cancers usually also experience fevers and weight loss. Low blood sugar can result in night sweats, as can some hormone disorders. Finally, night sweats can be caused by neurological conditions including strokes and autonomic neuropathy.
 Night sweats can be uncomfortable, but they are rarely serious. It is wise to seek medical advice if you experience night sweats along with unexplained weight loss, if the night sweats are persistent, or if the night sweats make it difficult to stay asleep. Sometimes sleeping with fewer blankets or lowering the thermostat will make night sweats go away. Night sweats and flushing can be side effects of medications. Infections, cancers, low blood sugar, hormone disorders, and neurological conditions can also lead to night sweats. Menopause is just one of many possible causes for night sweats.

Causes for Night Sweats
Environmental    Too many blankets, too high a setting on the thermostat
Hormonal    Menopause, overactive thyroid
Medications    Antidepressants, aspirin, acetaminophen, cortisone medications, hormone therapy, blood sugar medications, niacin, tamoxifen, hydralazine, nitroglycerine, Viagra
Infections    Tuberculosis, brucellosis, abscess, bone inflammation, heart valve inflammation, HIV
Cancers    Leukemia, pheochromocytoma
Neurological Conditions    Strokes, autonomic neuropathy

1. Night Sweats. Mayo Clinic.
2. Eight Causes of Night Sweats: Is It Menopause -- Or Something Else? WebMD.

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