Home General health issues ​The Medical Causes Behind the Night Sweat

​The Medical Causes Behind the Night Sweat


Episodes of night sweats are more common and frequent than you imagined. Thousands of people around the world wake up in the middle of the night with a sensation of heat and the body covered in perspiration. However, in many cases, this physical reaction is not due to the amount of blankets in the bed or the temperature of the room.

Discover the 10 medical conditions that could be causing night sweats.

1- Menopause

For women at this stage, these episodes of sweating are the nocturnal equivalents of hot flashes. If you show excessive sweating at night, caused by the hormonal changes that occur in menopause, you may wake up with the sheets drenched in sweat, and a feeling of cold. In addition, in many cases, the heart rate increases as a result of temperature changes. To deal with these symptoms, we recommend you to sleep in a cool environment, with natural fiber sheets.

2- Certain medications

Night sweating can be a side effect of certain medications. For example, medications to treat depression, such as tricyclic antidepressants or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), often cause frequent episodes of night sweats. In addition, specialists at the Mayo Clinic suggest that medications for hormone therapy and drugs that lower blood sugar levels could also trigger this reaction.

On the other hand, cortisone, a steroid hormone used to reduce inflammation and relieve pain, usually causes night sweats as part of the side effects. Be sure to inform your GP about any type of symptoms or physical reaction that may be the result of taking medications.


3- Tuberculosis

Although some cases of night sweats are caused by problems that are easy to treat and solve, others can be caused by serious diseases, such as tuberculosis. Several centuries ago this disease, which mainly involves the lungs, was one of the main causes of night sweats.

Excess sweating during the night is one of the milder symptoms of tuberculosis, which is usually accompanied by episodes of fever and other stronger symptoms, such as bloody expectoration, chest pain and shortness of breath.

4- Abscess

Bacterial infections, such as a severe case of abscess, are one of the main causes of night sweats, which occurs when the body tries to fight the infection at night. These accumulations of pus can become extremely painful and large.

There are two types of abscess: the cutaneous, and the internal. In the first case, the abscess grows under the skin, allowing a faster diagnosis than the internal abscess, since the area affected by the infection is relatively visible. In the second case, the diagnosis usually takes more time and the patient can manifest fever, discomfort and pain in the infected area.

5- HIV and AIDS

Patients who have been infected with HIV or suffer from AIDS usually experience night sweats so severe that when they wake up, they find sheets, clothes and body completely covered in sweat.


6- Medications for migraine

Something as simple as an aspirin or a paracetamol, consumed to treat severe headaches or to lower fever, usually cause episodes of night sweating, as well as irritation and redness of the skin of the face or neck.
It is possible to reduce the severity of the episodes of sweating caused by this type of analgesic, alternating the type of medication you take. For example, instead of taking the recommended dose every 4 or 6 hours, consume another type of analgesic when it is the turn of the second dose, and then take the first in the next. This should help you reduce the intensity of sweating. However, it is important to consult with a doctor before making any changes.

7- Cancer

Nocturnal sweating is an early symptom of certain types of cancer, especially lymphoma, a type of cancer that attacks the cells of the lymphatic system. This symptom usually manifests with fever and progressive weight loss.

Although, in some cases, night sweats can be a warning sign of cancer.



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