Night sweats are severe hot flashes that occur at night and result in a drenching sweat. The causes of night sweats in most people are not serious, like menopause in women, sleep apnea, medications, alcohol withdrawal, and thyroid problems. However, more serious diseases like cancer and HIV also can cause night sweats. Your doctor will treat your night sweats depending upon the cause.
You may experience other signs and symptoms that are associated with night sweats, which depend upon the cause, but may include, shaking, and chills with a fever caused by an infection like the flu or pneumonia; unexplained weight loss due to lymphoma; women in perimenopause or menopause may also have vaginal dryness, mood swings, and hot flashes during the day; and low blood sugar in people with diabetes.
Other causes of night sweats include medications like NSAIDs (aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), and naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), antidepressants, sildenafil (Viagra), and abuse of prescription or illegal drugs and drug withdrawal; hormone disorders like pheochromocytoma and carcinoid syndrome; idiopathic hyperhidrosis; infections like endocarditis, AIDs, and abscesses; alcoholism and alcohol withdrawal; drug abuse, addiction, and withdrawal; and stroke.
A doctor or other health care professional can treat your night sweats after the cause has been diagnosed.Read more: Night Sweats Article
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Signs of Cancer in Women: Symptoms You Can't Ignore
Colon and stomach cancer symptoms can surprise women but can be treated if detected early. Learn about breast cancer signs and...
Menopause & Perimenopause: Symptoms, Signs
What is menopause? What are the signs of menopause? What age does menopause start? Learn about menopause and perimenopause...
Hyperthyroidism: Symptoms, Treatment, Medication
What are the symptoms of hyperthyroidism? What causes hyperthyroidism? What happens when you take thyroid medication?...
Diverticulitis (Diverticulosis) Symptoms, Diet, Treatment
Diverticulitis (diverticulosis) is a condition in which the diverticulum or diverticula rupture in the colon, causing infection....
Cancer: Symptoms of Common Cancers in Men
Can men get breast cancer? Cancer symptoms men need to watch out for include skin changes, difficulty swallowing, rapid weight...
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS): Tests, Causes, Treatments
What is chronic fatigue syndrome? CFS can occur at any age for men or women. Learn more about the causes of CFS, as well as tests...
Low Testosterone (Low T) Treatments
What causes low testosterone (low T)? Learn about low testosterone symptoms in men. Discover low testosterone treatment and the...
Women's Health: 10 Tips to Ease Menopause Symptoms
What happens during menopause? At what age do menopause symptoms start? Women in their 40s or 50s may begin to have hot flashes,...
Sleep: The Best and Healthiest Sleeping Positions for Your Health
What is the best and healthiest sleeping position? Learn ways to say good night to back pain, neck pain, snoring, arthritis, and...
What Causes You to Sweat? Hidrosis and Hyperhidrosis
What makes you sweat (hidrosis)? Excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) has many potential causes, including spicy food, smoking,...
Low Testosterone (Low T) Quiz: Test Your IQ of Men's Conditions
What are symptoms of low testosterone (low T)? Take this quiz to learn more about causes of low testosterone and how to treat it.
Menopause Quiz: Symptoms & Signs
The Menopause Quiz challenges your knowledge about the time in a woman’s life when menstruation ceases. Menopause can bring many...
Insomnia Quiz: What Is Insomnia?
Insomnia affects all age groups, and is the most common sleep disorder in the world. There also seems to be a link between...
Sleep Quiz: Sleep Hygiene & Sleep Facts
Take our Sleeping Quiz to learn which sleep disorders, causes, and symptoms rule the night. Trouble falling or staying asleep?...
What happens within the body when a person develops bronchitis? Take this quick quiz to learn the causes, symptoms, treatments,...
Crohn's Disease Quiz
What causes Crohn's disease? What are the symptoms of Crohn's disease? How is Crohn's treated? Take this quiz to get the facts...
Related Disease Conditions
Swollen Lymph Nodes (Glands)
Lymph nodes help the body's immune system fight infections. Causes of swollen lymph nodes (glands) may include infection (viral, bacterial, fungal, parasites). Symptoms of swollen lymph nodes vary greatly, but may include fever, night sweats, toothache, sore throat, or weight loss. Causes of swollen lymph nodes also vary, but may include cancer, the common cold, mono, chickenox, HIV, and herpes. The treatment of swollen lymph nodes depends upon the cause.
Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix. Appendicitis often causes sings and symptoms such as abdominal pain in the lower right quadrant, nausea, vomiting, abdominal tenderness, fever, and loss of appetite. Delay in surgery can result in appendix rupture with potentially serious complications.
What Are Boils (Skin Abscesses)?
A boil is a skin abscess, a collection of pus localized deep in the skin. There are several different types of boils. Among them are the following: furuncle or carbuncle, cystic acne, hidradenitis suppurativa, and pilonidal cyst.
Low Blood Sugar (Hypoglycemia)
Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, is a syndrome in which a person's blood sugar is dangerously low. People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes are at risk for this condition. There are other diseases that can cause a person's blood sugar levels to go too low, for example, pancreatitis, Cushing's syndrome, and pancreatic cancer. Symptoms and signs that your blood sugar levels are too low include palpitations, trembling, intense hunger, sweating, nervousness, and weakness. If your blood sugars become too low, use these nearby as a quick treatment table sugar, soda, juice, and glucose tablets.
Cancer is a disease caused by an abnormal growth of cells, also called malignancy. It is a group of 100 different diseases, and is not contagious. Cancer can be treated through chemotherapy, a treatment of drugs that destroy cancer cells.
Diverticulitis (Diverticulosis, Diverticular Disease)
Most people with diverticulosis have few if any symptoms at all. When people do experience signs and symptoms of diverticulosis (diverticular disease) they may include abdominal pain, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, constipation, and bloating. Diverticulitis is a condition in which diverticuli in the colon rupture. The rupture results in infection in the tissues that surround the colon. Treatment methods for diverticulitis includes prescription medications, and in some cases, diverticulitis surgery.
Fever in Adults and Children
Although a fever technically is any body temperature above the normal of 98.6 F (37 C), in practice, a person is usually not considered to have a significant fever until the temperature is above 100.4 F (38 C). Fever is part of the body's own disease-fighting arsenal; rising body temperatures apparently are capable of killing off many disease-producing organisms.
What Happens During Menopause?
Menopause is the time in a woman's life when menstrual periods permanently stop, also called the "change of life." Menopause symptoms and signs include hot flashes, night sweats, irregular vaginal bleeding, vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, urinary incontinence, weight gain, and emotional symptoms such as mood swings. Treatment of menopausal symptoms varies, and should be discussed with your physician.
Hyperthyroidism is an excess of thyroid hormone due to an overactive thyroid gland. Symptoms can include increased heart rate, weight loss, heart palpitations, frequent bowel movements, depression, fatigue, fine or brittle hair, sleep problems, thinning skin, and irregular vaginal bleeding. Graves' disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. Many other health problems or taking excess thyroid hormone medication can cause an overactive thyroid gland. Treatment for the condition is with medication, radioactive iodine, thyroid surgery (rarely), or reducing the dose of thyroid hormone. No diet has been shown to treat hyperthyroidism or its symptoms and signs.
Leukemia is a type of cancer of the blood cells in which the growth and development of the blood cells are abnormal. Strictly speaking, leukemia should refer only to cancer of the white blood cells (the leukocytes) but in practice it can apply to malignancy of any cellular element in the blood or bone marrow, as in red cell leukemia (erythroleukemia).
Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is cancer of the lymphatic system, a vital part of the body's immune system. Symptoms and signs include swollen lymph nodes, fever, night sweats, coughing, weakness, chest pain, unexplained weight loss, and abdominal pain. Treatment depends on which type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma one has, the stage of the cancer, one's age, how fast the cancer is growing, and whether one has other health problems.
Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory disease, primarily involving the small and large intestine, but which can affect other parts of the digestive system as well. Abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and weight loss are common symptoms.
Mold Exposure: Symptoms, Removal, and Remediation
Mold exposure may cause symptoms in people who are sensitive to molds. Symptoms of mold allergy include sneezing, runny nose, wheezing, coughing, redness of the eyes, and rash. Prevent mold growth by keeping indoor humidity low, between 30%-50%, using bathroom fans when showering, repairing plumbing leaks quickly, and using an air conditioner during humid seasons.
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammation of the colon. Symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rectal bleeding. Ulcerative colitis is closely related to Crohn's disease, and together they are referred to as inflammatory bowel disease. Treatment depends upon the type of ulcerative colitis diagnosed.
Low Testosterone (Low-T)
Low testosterone (low-T) can be caused by conditions such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, liver or kidney disease, hormonal disorders, certain infections, and hypogonadism. Signs and symptoms that a person may have low-T include insomnia, increased body fat, weight gain, reduced muscle, infertility, decreased sex drive, depression, and worsening of congestive heart failure or sleep apnea. Low-T can be treated with testosterone therapy in the form of gels, injections, pellets, or skin patches. Side effects of testosterone treatment include acne, anxiety, hair loss, headache, and change in sex drive (libido).
Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the bacterium that causes tuberculosis (TB). Symptoms and signs of TB include bloody sputum, fever, cough, weight loss, and chest pain. Treatment depends upon the type of TB infection.
Bronchitis is inflammation of the airways in the lung. Acute bronchitis is short in duration (10-20 days) in comparison with chronic bronchitis, which lasts for months to years. Causes of acute bronchitis include viruses and bacteria, which means it can be contagious. Acute bronchitis caused by environmental factors such as pollution or cigarette smoke is not contagious. Common symptoms for acute bronchitis include nasal congestion, cough, headache, sore throat, muscle aches, and fatigue. Acute bronchitis in children also my include runny nose, fever, and chest pain. Treatment for acute bronchitis are OTC pain relievers, cough suppressants (although not recommended in children), and rest. Infrequently antibiotics may be prescribed to treat acute bronchitis.
Hot flashes (or flushing) is the most common symptom experienced by a woman prior to and during the early stages of menopause, and often is described as the feeling of warmth that spreads over the body, often starting at the head accompanied by sweating. Symptoms of hot flashes include flushing, excessive sweating, anxiety, and palpitations.
Thymoma is an uncommon cancer of the thymus gland. Many thymomas are asymptomatic. When symptoms do occur, they include chest pain, shortness of breath, and cough. Treatment of thymomas includes surgery, and sometimes, radiation and chemotherapy. The prognosis for thymoma is excellent when it is found in the early stages.
Sarcoidosis, a disease resulting from chronic inflammation, causes small lumps (granulomas) to develop in a great range of body tissues and can appear in almost any body organ. However, sarcoidosis most often starts in the lungs or lymph nodes.
Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL)
Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) is a rare form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. It is not known what causes MCL. MCL signs and symptoms include fever, enlarged spleen and liver, fatigue, and weight loss. Treatment of MCL incorporates radiotherapy and chemotherapy. MCL has a poor prognosis as it typically is diagnosed in a late stage.
Is Tuberculosis (TB) Contagious?
Mycobacterium tuberculosis causes tuberculosis (TB). TB may be transmitted when an infected person sings, sneezes, coughs, or talks. TB symptoms and signs include coughing bloody sputum, night sweats, severe cough, fever, chills, fatigue, and weight loss.
Premature menopause is when menopause occurs in a woman before the age of 40. Causes of premature menopause include premature ovarian failure, treatments for cancer and other conditions, surgical removal of the ovaries, or chronic diseases of the pituitary or thyroid gland, or psychiatric disorders. Treatment is directed at menopausal symptoms.
Chronic bronchitis is a cough that occurs daily with production of sputum that lasts for at least 3 months, 2 years in a row. Causes of chronic bronchitis include cigarette smoking, inhaled irritants, and underlying disease processes (such as asthma, or congestive heart failure). Symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, and wheezing. Treatments include bronchodilators and steroids. Complications of chronic bronchitis include COPD and emphysema.
Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone. Potential causes include injections around the bone, fractures that puncture the skin, recent surgeries, and bacterial infections that travel from other areas of the body, spreading through the blood to the bone. Symptoms include pain, fever, chills, stiffness, and nausea. Treatment involves antibiotics and pain medications. Surgery is sometimes necessary.
Endocarditis, a serious infection of one of the four heart valves is caused by growth of bacteria on one of the heart valves; leading to an infected massed called a "vegetation." The infection can be caused by having bacteria in the bloodstream after dental work, colonoscopy, or other similar procedures. Endocarditis symptoms include fever, fatigue, weakness, chills, aching muscles and joints, night sweats, edema in the legs, feet, or abdomen, malaise, shortness of breath and small skin lesions. Treatment for endocarditis is generally aggressive antibiotic treatment.
Pheochromocytoma is a tumor of the adrenal gland. Pheochromocytomas are quite rare and the vast majority of them are entirely benign. Only very rarely is a pheochromocytoma malignant. People with pheochromocytoma usually show these three symptoms headache, sweating, and heart palpitations (a fast heart beat) in association with markedly elevated blood pressure (hypertension).
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS or SEID)
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID) is a debilitating and complex disorder characterized by profound fatigue that lasts 6 months or longer, is not improved by bed rest, and may be worsened by physical or mental activity.
Excessive Sweating (Hyperhidrosis)
Hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating of the underarms, palms, or soles of the feet. Treatment may involve over-the-counter antiperspirants, prescription antiperspirants, iontophoresis, medications, surgery, and Botox.
Hodgkin's vs. Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
Both Hodgkin's disease (sometimes referred to as Hodgkin's lymphoma) and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma are cancers that originate in a type of white blood cell known as a lymphocyte, an important component of the body's immune system.
Vaginal Dryness and Vaginal Atrophy
Vaginal dryness and vaginal atrophy occurs in women during perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause. With vaginal atrophy, the lining of the vaginal wall becomes thinner, drier, less elastic, and light pink to bluish in color. Symptoms of vaginal atrophy include vaginal dryness, itching, irritation, and/or pain during intercourse. Treatment options for vaginal dryness and vaginal atrophy include hormone treatment and over-the-counter vaginal lubricating and moisturizing products.
Burkitt lymphomas are types of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that affect the bone marrow and central nervous system. There are multiple types of Burkitt lymphoma. Gene mutations, malaria, and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) may increase the risk of these cancers. Symptoms of Burkitt lymphoma may include nausea, vomiting, headache, fatigue, enlarged lymph nodes, and many other symptoms. Diagnosis involves lab testing, imaging studies, patient history, and cytogenic evaluation. There are multiple staging systems used to stage Burkitt lymphoma. Treatment consists of chemotherapy. The prognosis of the cancer tends to be more favorable in children than in adults.
Popcorn Lung (Bronchiolitis Obliterans)
Popcorn lung is a term for the lung disease bronchiolitis obliterans. Popcorn lung is caused by diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione, chemicals used when manufacturing flavorings for food certain products like popcorn, coffee. E-cigarettes also may cause popcorn lung. Diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione damage lung tissue that is irreversible. Symptoms of popcorn lung develop gradually over time. The main symptoms are chronic cough and shortness of breath. Other symptoms may include night sweats, weight loss, and fever. Symptoms of severe exposure to diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione include inflammation of the skin, eyes, nose, and/or throat. Popcorn lung often resembles tobacco-related COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) so it often is difficult to diagnose. Lung biopsy and surgery may be necessary. There is no cure for popcorn lung. Life expectancy for a person with (bronchiolitis obliterans) depends upon how early the disease was diagnosed and level of exposure to diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione.
Natural Remedies for Hot Flashes
Hot flashes are experienced by many women, especially at night. However, not all women undergoing menopause experience hot flashes. What causes hot flashes? A hot flash is a feeling of warmth that spreads over the body. Treatment for hot flashes include hormone replacement therapy and alternative prescription medications such as: SSRIs (Effexor, Paxil, Prozac), clonidine (Catapres), megestrol (Megace), and gabapentin (Neurontin). Few natural remedies for hot flashes (for example phytoestrogens - isoflavones, black cohosh, and vitamin E) have been scientifically studied.
Sex and Menopause (What to Expect)
Menopause is often associated with a change in sexual functioning. Loss of estrogen, bladder control issues, anxiety, stress, health concerns, medications, and sleep disturbances often result in a decrease in libido. Though there are currently no good drugs for treating sexual problems in women, there are ways to increase intimacy with a partner and treat vaginal dryness.
Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POF, Premature Ovarian Failure, POI)
Primary ovarian iInsufficiency (POF, Premature Ovarian Failure, POI) is the cessation of normal functioning of the ovaries in women under the age of 40. Premature ovarian failure may be caused by follicle depletion or dysfunction. The most common symptom of premature ovarian failure are irregular periods. There is no "treatment" that will restore the ovarian function, but there are treatments that my relieve symptoms.
Male menopause refers to the decline in testosterone production in men. As men age, they often experience many of the same symptoms that women experience in menopause. Testosterone replacement therapy may relieve some of these symptoms.
HIV vs. AIDS
Human immunodeficiency virus causes HIV infection. Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a condition that results after HIV has extensively damaged a person's immune system. Risk factors for HIV and AIDS include use of contaminated needles or syringes, unprotected sex, STDs, receiving a blood transfusion prior to 1985 in the United States, having many sex partners, and transmission from a mother to her child.
Hodgkin's disease is a cancer of the lymphatic system with symptoms that include unexplained, recurring fevers, unexplained weight loss, itchy skin, and painless swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck, underarm, and groin. Treatment for adult Hodgkin's disease depends on the staging of the disease, the size of the lymph nodes, and the health of the patient.
When to Be Concerned About Night Sweats?
An individual should be concerned about night sweats when they have been ongoing for two weeks or longer.
Valley fever (coccidioidomycosis) is a disease caused by the inhalation of the Coccidioides immitis or C. posadasii fungus. Symptoms are flu-like and resolve over two to six weeks. Infection typically requires no treatment, though there are many antifungal drugs to treat valley fever.
What Are the Side Effects of Black Cohosh?
People in the US and Europe have used the herb black cohosh since ancient times for a variety of illnesses ranging from cough and cold to infertility. Side effects of black cohosh may include gastrointestinal upset, skin rash, breast pain, brain enlargement, infection, vaginal bleeding/spotting, joint or muscle pain and infection.
Q fever is a highly infectious disease that causes high fever, diarrhea, cough, and sweating. Infected animals may transmit Q fever to humans. Antibiotics are available to treat Q fever.
Castleman disease is a group of related conditions. It is a rare disease with an unknown prevalence. Castleman disease is caused by an abnormal growth of lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. There are two types of Castleman disease; 1) unicentric, and 2) multicentric. Castleman disease is diagnosed by biopsy of the suspected lymph nodes. Castleman disease is treated with medications (for example, corticosteroids, chemotherapy drugs, immunodilating drugs, interferon-alfa, and antiviral medications), surgery, and radiation therapy. The life expectancy for a person with Castleman disease is difficult to determine because the condition is rare and takes different forms.
Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that forms in the chest lining (pleural mesothelioma), abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma), and the heart sac (pericardial mesothelioma) in rare cases. Chest pain, shortness of breath, weight loss, and night sweats are symptoms and signs of mesothelioma. Treatment depends upon the stage and type of mesothelioma.
8 Causes of Night Sweats: Menopause and More
Night sweats are episodes of excessive perspiration that happen during sleep. They are often described as soaking or drenching and may require a change of sheets or even clothes. Night sweats can occur during sleep and without physical exertion. They aren’t caused by a heavy blanket or a warm bedroom. Instead, other underlying health issues may be responsible for these episodes of considerable sweating during sleep.
Local ResourcesFind a local Internist in your town
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Menopause FAQs
- Sleep FAQs
- Low Testosterone FAQs
- Bronchitis FAQs
- Crohn's Disease FAQs
- Insomnia FAQs
- Menopause: Home Menopause Test Kits, Are They Worth It?
- Actor Michael C. Hall's Successful Treatment of Hodgkin's Disease
- Are Night Sweats a Sign of Menopause?
- Menopause Symptoms
- Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML)
Medications & Supplements
Prevention & Wellness
- Health Tip: Understanding Excessive Sweating
- Study Links Menopausal Night Sweats to Impaired Thinking
- Don't Sweat It: Hyperhydrosis Can Be Treated
- Mindfulness Might Ease Menopause Symptoms
- New Drug Approved for Antibiotic-Resistant Lung Disease
- Health Tip: Suggestions for Excessive Sweating
- Could Hormone Supplements for Menopause Make a Comeback?
- Sleepless Nights Plague Many Women in Middle Age
- Obese Women May Have More Intense Hot Flashes
- Hormone Therapy Not Advised for Preventing Disease After Menopause
- Another Menopause Side Effect: Shortness of Breath?
- Researchers Identify Genes Linked to Hot Flashes
- Menopause: Not All Hot Flashes Are Created Equal
- Abused Women Struggle With More Severe Menopause Symptoms: Study
- Early Onset Hot Flashes May Point to Raised Heart Disease Risk
- More Than Half of Women Have Hot Flashes for at Least 7 Years
- Kids: An Rx for Menopause's Hot Flashes?
- Early Hormone Therapy May Be Safe for Women's Hearts
- Antidepressant Eases Menopause-Related Symptoms, Study Finds
- FDA OKs 2-Drug Combo Treatment for Advanced Melanoma
- Experts Lay Out Options for Menopause Symptoms
- Yoga Fails to Cool Hot Flashes, But May Aid Sleep
- Household Chores May Ease Nighttime Menopausal Symptoms
- Survey Tallies Menopause Symptoms' Toll
- Soy Might Not Prevent Hot Flashes
- Hypnosis Halts Hot Flashes for Some Women
- Blood Test May Spot Rare Lung Cancer
- Hormone Therapy in Early Menopause May Benefit Some Women: Study
- Can Weight Loss Cool Hot Flashes?
- Pacemakers, Defibrillators Sources of Deadly Infections: Study
- U.S. Tuberculosis Cases Hit Record Low, CDC Says
- Menopause 'Brain Fog' May Be Real
- Menopause May Cost Women Sick Days
- Estrogen After Hysterectomy Lowers Cancer Risk?
- Psychotherapy May Ease Hot Flashes After Breast Cancer
- As Gastric Banding Increases, So May Complications
- Side Effects Cause Many Older Women to Drop Breast Cancer Drugs
- Hot Flashes Linked to Higher Cholesterol
- Progesterone Alone May Help Hot Flashes