Night Sweats (Causes, Remedies, and Treatments in Women and Men)

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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Night sweats definition and facts

Night sweats, or excessive sweating during sleep, are a common symptom in women and men. There are many medical conditions and diseases that cause them. Examples include women in perimenopause or menopause; medications, hormone problems (Low-T), low blood sugar, and neurological problems. You may have other symptoms like chills, or shaking with a fever, vaginal dryness, or mood changes, depending upon the cause. Less common causes of night sweats include infections and cancers. Doctors treat the problem by diagnosing the cause of your night sweats.

What are night sweats?

Doctors in primary care fields of medicine often hear their patients complain of night sweats as they are common. Night sweats refer to any excess sweating occurring during the night. However, if if you keep your bedroom temperature unusually hot or you are sleeping in too many clothes, you may sweat during your sleep, which is normal. In order to distinguish night sweats that arise from medical causes from those that occur because one's surroundings are too warm, doctors generally refer to true night sweats as severe hot flashes occurring at night that can drench sleepwear and sheets, which are not related to an overheated environment.

In one study of 2267 patients visiting a primary care doctor, 41% reported experiencing night sweats during the previous month, so the perception of excessive sweating at night is fairly common. It is important to note that flushing (a warmth and redness of the face or trunk) also may be hard to distinguish from true night sweats.

Reviewed on 6/27/2017
References
REFERENCE:

Mold, JW, Mathew, MK, Belgore, S, DeHaven, M. Prevalence of night sweats in primary care patients: an OKPRN and TAFP-Net collaborative study. J Fam Pract 2002; 51:452. IMAGES:

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