Night Sweats

02/08/2020

Do you suffer from night sweats? Well, you aren’t alone. Developing an understanding of what causes this problem, and what you can do about it, is one of the first steps that you should take. Beyond that, you can also talk to your doctor for personalized guidance and tips that will allow you to get rid of night sweats so you can finally get the full night of sleep and rest that you need.

What Are Night Sweats?

Night sweats are a very common complaint heard by general practitioners. The term refers to any amount of excessive sweating that occurs while sleeping or during the nighttime while trying to rest.

According to the American Osteopathic Association, night sweats are more than just waking up sweating because of your bedroom being too warm. Instead, this is a condition that causes hot flashes during the night. Those hot flashes are severe, to the point that you wake up drenched in sweat. Your clothing and the sheets on your bed are often wet when you suffer from night sweats because you end up sweating so much.

Everyone wakes up sweaty every now and then. But, if you are experiencing night sweats regularly, it is a good idea to have a chat with your doctor to figure out what is going on. It is also wise to see your doctor if you are experiencing other symptoms, such as a fever, along with the excessive sweating during the night. Also, if the sweats are so bad that they are interrupting your sleep, and the quality and quantity of your sleep is suffering as a result, consulting with a physician can help you find the appropriate solution.

What Are the Causes of Night Sweats?

There are many different causes of night sweats. They can come about from something entirely harmless, or can be a symptom of a serious illness. For example, the reason behind the condition could be something as simple as a bedroom that is too hot, or using bedclothes or bedding that is too heavy. In order to differentiate between those that occur as a result of a sleeping environment that is too warm, and those that are generated by medical causes, doctors will typically refer to the ones that don’t have to do with the heat in the room as “hot flashes”. Hot flashes also often come with a flushing (redness and warmth in the face and torso), which can make it more difficult to know the difference between the two types.

Among the most common causes of night sweats are the following:

  • Menopause
  • An infection
  • Idiopathic hyperhidrosis
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Hormone disorders and imbalances
  • Neurological conditions
  • Certain cancers
  • HIV and AIDS
  • Medication side effects

How Are Night Sweats Treated?

Treating night sweats usually means that the cause of the symptom must first be identified. The underlying problem may be preventable or curable, and therefore by treating it, the sweating during the nighttime could go away on its own. Therefore, many treatments for this condition are usually geared toward repairing the underlying problem, instead.

For example, in the case of women who are perimenopausal, night sweats are very common but if they are too unbearable, they can often be controlled using hormone therapies if this is deemed to be appropriate by a doctor. Both estrogen therapy on its own (ET) or a combination of estrogen and progestin therapy (known as HT or simply as hormone therapy) have been quite successful at treating this and the other symptoms of perimenopause when they are considered to be adequately uncomfortable or severe.

Similarly, if the night sweats are occurring as a result of the use of a type of drug or supplement, when that substance is ceased or changed (if appropriate, ask a doctor before making changes to the medications you are taking), then the symptom will often improve. If sweating at night is becoming problematic, bring it up with your physician, who may be able to suggest a treatment or alternative to treatments and therapies that are causing the problem in the first place.

How to Prevent Night Sweats

By now, you might be wondering if there are any steps that you can take to try to prevent excessive sweating during the night while you are trying to sleep. Ultimately, it is always best to talk to your doctor first, as doing so can help you target the actual cause of this problem. From there, you can then work on implementing the appropriate solutions that will prevent this problem from continuing. But, if you want to try some steps on your own before seeing a doctor, or if your night sweats aren’t severe enough to see a physician about them, consider the following:

  • Sometimes, the simple act of making some lifestyle changes might help you get relief from the sweating that occurs throughout the night. If you are not leading a healthy lifestyle that includes exercising and eating right, and avoiding unhealthy habits like excessive alcohol consumption or smoking, making positive changes to the way you live day-to-day might help you at night too.
  • Your diet might also have an effect on how you feel during the night while you are asleep. If you are focused on consuming a diet that is balanced, and you avoid going to any extremes when it comes to what you are eating, you are on the right track. Avoid really restrictive diets that can be super stressful, and that can potentially lead to nutritional deficiencies or imbalances. Instead, follow a diet that incorporates a variety of natural foods that are high in nutrients and low in unhealthy fat, calories, sugar, and sodium.

With the right strategy, you’ll get your night sweats under control!

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