One of the most common complaints made by patients to doctors relates to night sweats. Night sweats refer to the excessive sweating that happens when you sleep. So, why do you sweat when you sleep? There are many reasons for this.
For instance, your bedroom could be too hot or you may be covering yourself with too many bedclothes. It is actually natural to sweat during sleep. However, sometimes you may find yourself drenched with excessive sweat, so much that your clothes and sheets are completely wet. This may not be related to the outside environment – in which case you should be concerned.
So, again, why do you sweat when you sleep? What are the causes of night sweats that drench your clothes completely and leave you embarrassed on waking up in the morning, as you find yourself surrounded by all the wetness around you? Night sweats are common for sure, but they may also be caused because of certain important medical conditions that you should know about.
When you complain about sweating at night to a doctor, he or she will want to know your full medical history to help with the diagnosis. Your doctor will want to know if there is an underlying medical condition which hasn’t been diagnosed yet which has led to the night sweats. The following medical conditions are known to cause night sweats.
Medications: There are certain types of drugs, such as antidepressants that cause a patient to sweat profusely at night. In fact, according to a study, around 20% of the people taking antidepressants sweat excessively at night. There are other medications that cause night sweats as well, such as those taken for fever or headaches, such as a common aspirin or acetaminophen. In fact, often, medication and drugs are the most common causes of night sweats.
Infections: Infections are the most usual causes of night sweats. By infection, we mean bacterial infections like endocarditis, which leads to inflammation of the heart valves, abscesses or osteomyelitis, which causes inflammation in the bones. Tuberculosis is a dreaded ailment which causes profuse night sweating. HIV patients are also known to sweat really badly at night.
Menopause: In women, menopause is accompanied by hot flashes at night, which causes profuse sweating. This is the most usual cause of the heavy sweating in women at night.
Idiopathic Hyperhidrosis: This is a unique condition in which the body produces an extraordinary amount of sweat for no real reason or without a single medical cause that has been identified by the doctor.
Cancer: Night sweating should be taken very seriously because on occasions, they are an early indication that one might have some form of cancer. Islymphona is the most common form of cancer that is associated with night sweats. Also, there are people who may not be diagnosed with cancer as yet but suffer from severe weight loss and fever. In such people, night sweating is a sign that something is seriously wrong and needs to be looked into.
Hormone disorders: There are many severe hormonal disorders, such as pheochromocytoma, hyperthyroidism, carcinoid syndrome and so on that cause night sweating.
Neurologic conditions: Some of the neurological conditions that cause night sweats are autonomic neuropathy, autonomic dysreflexia, stroke and posttraumatic syringomyelia.
Hypoglycemia: One of the most common causes of night sweating is low blood sugar. Medications related to diabetes or low blood sugar, such as insulin may result in hypoglycemia at night which causes profuse night sweating.
There are practical reasons for night sweating as well. Night sweating is not always because of a medical condition. It may be caused when you have extremely spicy food at dinner or really hot coffee. It may be caused if the weather is really quite hot or you are someone from a country with cold temperatures, such as Sweden or Ireland, and have travelled to, say, the Middle East or Africa and are finding it hard to adjust. Also, people who exercise at night are known to have night sweats as well.
If you believe that your night sweating is not because of any of the harmless, practical reasons listed by us, but because of an ailment or a medical condition, then you must book an appointment with a physician as soon as possible.
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