Night Sweats, What It Is, Why It Happens, How It’s Treated

Night sweats, happen when you wake up at night drenched in excessive perspiration and likely need to change your sheets and pajamas. It can be a medical issue or infection.


night sweats



Night Sweats: Runaway Thyroid

Sweating more and being sensitive to heat are notable symptoms of hyperthyroidism. Your thyroid gland controls your metabolism, so when it makes too much hormone, your body goes into overdrive. Consequently, your body temperature rises, are hungry and tired, have a racing pulse, and are losing weight.

Night Sweats: Low Blood Sugar

Do you have diabetes? While your blood glucose may be OK when you go to sleep, it can drop while you’re asleep. Maybe you had a very active day, or exercised in the evening, or had a late dinner. If you use insulin or take a sulfonylurea-type drug to manage your diabetes, that may be responsible for your overnight hypoglycemia. When your glucose is lower than 140 mg/dL before bed, have a snack.


Night Sweats: Sleep Apnea

When you have this condition, you briefly stop breathing over and over during the night. Because your body isn’t getting oxygen, it may slip into “fight or flight” mode, which triggers sweating. Each time it has to kick-start breathing means a burst of work from your muscles, too.

Night Sweats: Lymphoma

Many cancers can cause this, but the most common is lymphoma, which starts in the lymph nodes. About a quarter of people with Hodgkin’s lymphoma get night sweats and have a low fever. They may also be tired and itchy.


Night Sweats: Tuberculosis

About half of all people who get this disease also have night sweats. The bacteria usually grow in your lungs. It comes with a serious, painful cough with blood and colored phlegm. You also might feel feverish, tired, and weak, and have no appetite.


Night Sweats: Anxiety

Stress, worry, and panic can make you break out in a sweat during the night. so it’s no surprise anxiety can have the same effect at night. Nightmares and sleep terrors  can leave you sweaty and with a pounding heart.


Night Sweats: Tumors

Prostate cancer, kidney cancer, are some common examples of what can cause this condition. A type of advanced thyroid cancer and cancer in your pancreas could also set them off. Night sweats are a classic symptom of carcinoid syndrome, the effect of a rare cancer usually found in your digestive system or lungs.


Night Sweats: Infection

A recent bacterial infection, often with a fever could trigger it . Some common bacterial infections are endocarditis (the inner lining of your heart), osteomyelitis (bone), and a pocket of pus in your liver called a pyogenic abscess.


Night Sweats: Treatments

Treatment depends upon the underlying cause. They are commonly treated by internists, family practice specialists, or gynecologists. If they are related to specific medical conditions, other specialists can include:

  • endocrinologists
  • neurologists,
  • infectious disease specialists
  • oncologists

See a doctor if this condition persists.

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