What Are Night Sweats a Sign of?

What Are Night Sweats?

Night sweats may result from fever or infection, hormonal problems or menopause, among other causes.
Night sweats may result from fever or infection, hormonal problems or menopause, among other causes.

Night sweats (sleep hyperhidrosis) are episodes of excessive perspiration that occur when you are sleeping. The sweating can range from moderate perspiration to drenching sweats that soak through clothing and sheets. 

Hot flashes, which are sudden feelings of warmth, can occur any time. When they occur at night, they are considered night sweats. 

Night sweats are not the same as overheating, such as that due to a warm bedroom or a heavy blanket.

What Are Symptoms and Causes of Night Sweats?

Night sweats are characterized by moderate to drenching sweating at night. They are a sign of many different conditions.

What Causes Night Sweats? 

There are many causes of night sweats, including: 

How Are Night Sweats Diagnosed?

The cause of night sweats is diagnosed with a patient history and physical examination. Depending on the suspected cause, testing to determine the cause may include: 

What Is the Treatment for Night Sweats?

Treatment for night sweats varies depending on the cause. Treatments may include: 

  • Environment and lifestyle changes
    • Keep the thermostat at a lower temperature 
    • Use lighter bedding 
    • Get a more breathable mattress and sheets
    • Wear lightweight, loose-fitting bedclothes    
    • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods, especially in the evening    
    • Drink cold water before going to bed    
    • Lose weight if overweight/maintain a healthy weight
    • Relaxation techniques
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) 
    • Talk therapy based on reframing negative thoughts in order to promote healthier actions
  • Modifying medications
    • If certain medications cause night sweats: change the prescription, dosage, or regimen
      • Never stop taking a prescribed medication or change the dose or regimen without first talking to your doctor
    • If the night sweats are caused by an underlying infection or hormone problem, medication may help treat them

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