Night sweats, also known as a form of hyperhidrosis, are common, affecting millions of people every year. There are many potential causes of night sweats, including medications, medical conditions, and menopause. However, in most cases, night sweats are not a cause for concern and can be treated easily.
What are Night Sweats?
Night sweats are defined as excessive sweating that occurs at night. They can drench your sheets and clothing and make it difficult to sleep. Night sweats are not the same as hot flashes, which are sudden rushes of heat that often occur during menopause.
Causes of Night Sweats
There are many potential causes of night sweats. Sometimes it's challenging to identify the cause, but it is essential to rule out any severe medical conditions.
Sometimes, they may be a side effect of medication. Common medications that can cause night sweats to include:
- Antidepressants - SSRIs, SNRIs, and tricyclic antidepressants are common offenders of excessive sweating in men and women. Typical brand names include Prozac, Zoloft, Lexapro, and Elavil. Venlafaxine (Effexor) is an SNRI that is notorious for night sweats. If you experience excessive sweating after starting an antidepressant for depression, you may need to switch to a different type.
- Antipsychotics - Both first and second-generation antipsychotics can cause night sweats. Brand names include Haldol, Risperdal, and Zyprexa.
- Sleeping aids - Benzodiazepines, such as temazepam and lorazepam, are commonly prescribed for insomnia. These medications can cause night sweats. Typical brand names include Ativan and Xanax.
- Anti-anxiety medications - Benzodiazepines, such as alprazolam and diazepam, are frequently used to treat anxiety. These medications can cause night sweats. Brand name medications you may be more aware of include Valium and Xanax.
- Hormone therapy - Hormone therapy, often used to treat menopause symptoms, can also cause night sweats.
- Stimulants - Stimulants, such as caffeine and nicotine, can cause night sweats.
- Illegal drugs - Illegal drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, can cause night sweats.
At Antidote, you can see a primary care without insurance and learn if your sweating is caused by medication. Other medications may cause night sweats. It's essential to see a medical professional to learn more.
It's more than medications. Sometimes, night sweats may be a symptom of a medical condition. Some common medical causes of night sweats include:
- Infections - Tuberculosis and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are infections that commonly cause night sweats because they can cause a fever.
- Cancers - Lymphoma and leukemia are cancers that commonly cause night sweats. Excessive sweating comes from the high fevers often associated with these cancers.
- Autoimmune disorders - Rheumatoid arthritis and lupus are autoimmune disorders that can cause night sweats. The night sweats come from the fevers often associated with these disorders.
- Diabetes - Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can cause night sweats. Low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) usually cause excessive sweating.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) - GERD is a condition that causes stomach acid to flow back up into the esophagus. This can cause night sweats.
- Obstructive sleep apnea - This sleep disorder can cause night sweats.
- Thyroid problems - An overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) or underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) can sometimes cause night sweats.
- Menopause - Night sweats are a common symptom of perimenopause and menopause. Women often experience night sweats during menopause. This is because of the fluctuations in hormones that occur during this time.
This isn't an infinite list. If you're experiencing night sweats, see a medical professional and rule out any serious causes. Remember that sometimes the reason for excessive sweating is unknown and the only solution is to treat the symptoms.
Treatment for Night Sweats
There are many potential treatments for night sweats, depending on the underlying cause. Some home remedies and lifestyle changes that may help include:
Wear breathable fabrics
Cotton clothing may help absorb sweat and make you more comfortable at night. Other linens, such as silk, can help you stay cool by wicking away moisture. Use similar materials for your bedding.
Keep your bedroom cool
A cool room may help to prevent night sweats. Don't make your space too cold, though. A comfortable temperature is usually between 60-67°F.
Using a fan
A fan can circulate air and help to keep you cool. It also offers white noise that may help you sleep.
Use multiple sheet layers
Multiple layers of sheets can be removed as needed if you sweat at night. This way, you won't have to wake up to a wet spot.
Apply topical agents before bed
Topical antiperspirants, such as aluminum chloride, can be applied before bed. This may help to block sweat glands temporarily.
Limit alcohol and caffeine
Alcohol and caffeine can increase sweating.
If you know what triggers your night sweats, such as certain foods or medications, you can try to avoid them. Use a journal to track your symptoms and triggers.
Try to find healthy ways to cope with stress. People tend to get night sweats when stressed. Stress management techniques, such as yoga and meditation, may help to reduce night sweats. Other suggestions include exercise and journaling.
If lifestyle changes and home remedies don't help, there are medical treatments that may be effective. These include:
Hormone therapy can treat night sweats caused by menopause.
Certain antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), can help treat night sweats. But monitoring the dose is essential because some antidepressants can cause night sweats. The same medications can cause excessive sweating for some men and women and may potentially stop it in low doses. Another possible treatment is oxybutynin which can reduce or stop sweating while allowing the sertraline time to work.
This medication is typically used to treat high blood pressure but can also help with hot flashes and night sweats.
Gabapentin is a medication that's sometimes used to treat nerve pain. Research shows that it may be beneficial for treating excessive sweating at night.
These medications can help to block the action of sweat glands.
Botox injections can stop sweating temporarily.
For more severe cases, other medical procedures may be effective. These include:
Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy
This surgery involves cutting the nerves that control sweating. It's typically only done for people with severe sweating that doesn't respond to other treatments.
This treatment uses electrical currents to block the sweat glands temporarily. It can be done at a doctor's office or home.
Night sweats can be a nuisance, but many potential treatments are available. If you're experiencing night sweats, talk to a doctor to find the best remedy. At Antidote, you can see a medical professional without insurance. Find the answer to "why do I keep sweating at night" and get a restful night's sleep again. Contact Antidote Health today and see how we can help you.