Thank you for your interesting question. Below, I have included an
overview of night sweats, including symptoms, causes, and treatments.
As you can see, the possible causes of night sweats are extensive. In
most cases, however, the cause is something simple. Nonetheless, it is
an excellent idea to consult your physician if you are having the
symptoms of night sweats.
Also, please bear in mind that I am not a doctor, and the Answer below
cannot replace the advice of a physician.
I hope that this Answer fully meets your expectations. But if you have
questions or concerns, please request a clarification before rating
Some sweating is normal and natural, but excessive sweating while you
sleep is not. People suffering from night sweats often wake up in the
middle of the night with wet bedclothes. Excessive sweating when not
sleeping may or may not accompany night sweats. Night sweats may occur
at any time, but often they begin in early adulthood.
There are two types of night sweats: Primary Hyperhidrosis and
Secondary Hyperthidrosis. Primary Hyperthidrosis has no known cause,
but is considered rare. It is typically very rehabilitating,
interfering with everyday life. Secondary Hyperhidrosis is usually
found to be a symptom of an underlying cause, and tends to interfere
Menopause is possibly the most common cause of night sweats. Other causes include:
Any illness that causes a fever.
Other sleep disorders.
Treatment for breast cancer.
Certain secretions in the brain.
Spinal cord infarction.
Pregnancy, and the anti-nausea medications used in pregnancy.
Immune suppressing disorders.
Spicy foods, alcohol, certain drugs.
Some studies have also suggested GERD may also be associated with night sweats.
(?Sleep Hyperhidrosis,? Stanford:
http://www.stanford.edu/~dement/sweats.html , ?Diagnosing Night
Sweats,? Find Articles:
and ?Night Sweats--The Basics,? About.com:
The most common way to diagnose night sweats is personal observation.
Your doctor will ask if you ever wake feeling clammy, or with wet
nightclothes or bed sheets. In addition, a medical history will
usually be taken, and screening to rule out underlying causes will be
Primary Hyperhidrosis: This may sometimes be treated non-surgically
with topical antiperspirants or medication, but may also be treated
by removing the sweat glands surgically. Sometimes a botulinum toxin
injection is given before surgery is tried. For more about these
treatments, please see ?Hyperhidrosis,? Parsec:
http://www.parsec.it/summit/hyper1e.htm#ionto and ?Treatment of
Hyperhidrosis,? Find Articles:
Secondary Hyperhidrosis: This type is cured by treating the underlying disease.
Menopause: In women, this is the most common cause of night sweats.
It may be treated a number of ways. Exercise is considered an
important part of treatment, and a number of herbal treatments are
often employed: Dong Quai, Chaste Berry, Black Cohosh, Motherwort,
Licorice Root, and essential oils, among others. For a good look at
natural remedies for night sweats associated with menopause, please
read ?Remedies for Menopause Symptoms,? Project Aware:
http://www.project-aware.org/Managing/Alt/hotflash.shtml and ?Natural
Remedies,? Web MD: http://my.webmd.com/content/pages/13/72042.htm?z=1825_00000_5022_pe_01
. A more traditional treatment is the use of estrogen and progestin
replacement therapy. Changing to a healthier diet may also take care
of the problem.
Fever. Taking an over the counter medication to prevent fever will
help, but if symptoms persist, consulting a doctor is necessary. The
physician will then treat the underlying cause, ridding your of the
fever, and therefore, night sweats.
Sleep Apnea or other sleep disorders: Ask your doctor about
participating in a sleep study. If it?s determined you have a sleep
disorder, seek treatment, which may include special equipment to help
you sleep, medication, or surgery.
Breast cancer: Patient may be given hormones, or a physician may
suggest many of the same treatments used for menopause night sweats.
Diabetes: Getting the diabetes under control should rid the patient of
night sweats. Treatment may include a change to a healthier diet,
exercise, or insulin.
Hypothalamic lesions and secretions of the brain: Once treated, night
sweats should cease.
Anemia: Correcting the anemia should take care of the problem.
Treatment may include intravenous fluids, oxygen, or iron supplements.
Hyperthyroidism: Controlling the disease should take care of night
sweats. There are several treatments for hyperthyroidism, including
medication and surgery.
Epilepsy: Your physician may try a different medication, to see if it
will better reduce night sweats.
Strokes: Once you are healthy, your night sweats should disappear.
Cerebral palsy: Treatment may include medication and injections.
Migraine headaches: There are now some over the counter medications
that may help migraine sufferers. If these don?t work, a doctor can
prescribe medication that should provide relief both from headaches
and from night sweats. Alternative treatments include: acupuncture,
biofeedback, chiropractic, cold compresses, fish oil, and feverfew.
For more on these alternative treatments (and others), please see
?Alternative Treatments,? Migraines:
http://www.migraines.org/treatment/treatalt.htm and ?Alternative
Migraine Treatments and Approaches,? About Headaches:
Spinal cord infarction: Aspirin may help. Other treatments include surgery.
Head injuries: Treatment varies, but may include over the counter
drugs, or prescription medications.
Familial dysautonomia: Better hydration should help; other treatments
include prescription medications.
The anti-nausea medications used in pregnancy: Stop taking anti-nausea
drugs, and make the room as cool as possible (see suggestions below).
Immune suppressing disorders: Treatment for the disease is essential.
Follow the suggestions below for making sleeping more comfortable. You
may also have an infection, so consult your doctor immediately.
Spicy foods, alcohol, certain drugs: Avoid spicy foods or alcohol
altogether. Check with a doctor about whether or not your medications
could be causing night sweats.
GERD: Obtain appropriate treatment for the disease, which is usually
given in the form of medication.
OTHER THINGS THAT MAY HELP:
? Keep the bedroom cool. Install air conditioning, use a fan, or keep
a window open at night. Use minimal bedding.
? Take a cold shower before bed, or get up when night sweats occur and
take a cold shower or bath.
? Have a cold drink handy, so that when night sweats occur, you may
obtain some relief with cool water.
? Switch to all cotton bedding and nightclothes; other fibers may make
you more warm.
? Drink more water throughout the day.
? Don?t drink alcohol anytime near bedtime.
? Don?t eat near bedtime, particularly foods with sugar or carbohydrates.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
In addition to the websites listed above, the following sites may prove useful:
? ?Night Sweats: Diet Treatment Considerations,? CTDS:
? Dry Night?s Sleep (special nightwear to make sleeping with night
sweats more comfortable): http://www.adrynightssleep.com/
? ?Sleepwear Helps Alleviate Night Sweats,? Delaware Online:
? ?Which Alternative Treatments Work??
? ?Soy to Prevent Night Sweats,? http://www.drmirkin.com/women/1190.html
? Sleepnet (a source for information about sleep disorders):
? ?Sleep Disorders,? About.com: http://sleepdisorders.about.com/
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