Individuals who experience night sweats may wake up and find that their sheets or pajamas are soaked in water. Organizing the sleep environment with various methods is the first step that can be taken to solve this problem. In case of night sweats that occur due to any disease, it is necessary to consult a health institution and determine the underlying disease and consider appropriate treatment options. Although this condition, referred to as sleep hyperhidrosis, usually occurs due to diseases that can be controlled, it is useful to be informed as it can sometimes occur as a symptom of life-threatening disorders. You can follow the rest of the article for other topics you are curious about about night sweats.
What is Night Sweats?
Night sweats refer to the body’s excessive secretion of sweat while sleeping. Sweating is a natural cooling mechanism of the body and acts to prevent overheating. The hypothalamus, a structure within the brain, controls body temperature with its part called the thermoregulatory center. This center works together with almost 2 million sweat glands and helps the body stay at the right temperature. Sweat glands allow water and various other substances to be removed from the skin through sweating. The secreted water evaporates and takes some heat energy from the body, thus cooling occurs.
Night sweats can be uncomfortable and can be associated with various conditions, such as sleep disorders or depression. Menopause is another common cause of night sweats. Apart from these situations, night sweats may also occur due to various health problems or as a side effect of some medications.
What are the symptoms of night sweats?
Feeling damp or overheated at night can be described in many ways. While some individuals actually experience night sweats, others may interpret various normal situations, such as hot flashes, as night sweats. There are various criteria to express sweating that occurs at night as night sweats, which is a symptom. The criteria that can be used to distinguish between these situations can be generally summarized as follows:
- Night sweats are excessive sweating that occurs at night to the point of wetting bed linens and underwear.
- Hot flashes are a sudden, intense feeling of warmth. Hot flashes tend to start in the upper areas of the chest, arms or face. They can occur at any time of the day.
- Facial rash is a sudden increase in body temperature that occurs due to various reasons and manifests itself as a rash on the skin of the facial area.
When applying to healthcare institutions with suspicion of night sweats, it is recommended to be aware of such distinctions and convey them to healthcare professionals, as they may help detect the underlying condition more quickly.
What Causes Night Sweats?
Sweating that occurs at night in hot weather is considered a physiological condition. However, in some individuals, this situation may tend to recur frequently, not only in hot weather. Among individuals experiencing such situations, those of female gender may experience hot flashes and night sweats, especially during menopause. There are various conditions other than menopause that may cause night sweats. These disorders can be generally summarized as follows:
- Infectious diseases such as tuberculosis or HIV,
- Cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma,
- Anxiety disorders,
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
Applications such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy applied within the scope of treatment protocols in cancer patients are also among the causes of night sweats. It should not be forgotten that night sweats may also occur in men whose testicles have been removed due to prostate cancer.
In some cases, night sweats occur as a side effect of medications used for various health problems. Complaints of night sweats may occur, especially after the use of antidepressants, drugs used for hormone therapy, or drugs containing opioid active substances.
In addition to these situations, it is recommended to be conscious as consuming harmful habits such as too much caffeine during the day can cause night sweats.
What Diseases Can Night Sweats Signify?
If the complaint of frequently recurring night sweats persists despite the arrangement of the sleeping environment to be cool, care should be taken as there may be an underlying health problem. It should be noted that in night sweats, which typically occur due to any health problem, there will be no decrease in sweating level despite the use of thinner clothes and bed linens. Some of the various situations that may cause night sweats can be summarized as follows:
- thyroid diseases,
- Inflammatory or autoimmune diseases,
- Sleeping disorders,
- Idiopathic to hyperhidrosis
- Autonomic disorders,
- Adrenal gland-related diseases such as pheochromocytoma,
In addition to these problems, it should not be forgotten that some medications used to treat these problems may also cause night sweats.
How to Prevent Night Sweats?
The best approach to preventing night sweats is to reveal the actual disorder that causes this condition. For night sweats caused by sleep hygiene, lifestyle habits or sleep environment rather than the disease, there may be various changes that you can implement with the knowledge and advice of your physicians. Some of these applications are as follows:
- Creating a cool sleeping environment,
- Use of thin, air-permeable pajamas and bedspreads made of natural materials,
- Good ventilation, appropriate use of air conditioning,
- Using appropriate relaxation techniques before sleep or after experiencing night sweats,
- Use of physician-recommended and clinically effective antiperspirant products on appropriate body areas,
- Limiting caffeine and spice consumption,
- Stopping food consumption 2-3 hours before sleep,
- Regular exercise, not too close to bedtime,
- Having a healthy body weight,
- Paying attention to the amount of sugar and fat consumed in the diet,
- Getting appropriate treatment for night sweats that develop due to an underlying health problem.
How is Night Sweats Treated?
In order to treat night sweats, it must first be determined which condition causes this complaint. If the underlying condition is determined to be related to menopause or menopause, various lifestyle changes such as lowering the ambient temperature can be applied. If these practices are inadequate, various hormonal treatment approaches can be used.
In night sweats caused by infectious diseases, the use of antibiotics, antivirals or various other medications may be beneficial, depending on the infective agent. While night sweats caused by anxiety disorder are prescribed with antidepressant drugs or various anti-anxiety agents, thyroid medications, radioactive iodine treatment or, if necessary, surgical intervention can be performed in night sweats caused by hyperthyroidism.
There are many conditions that can cause night sweats. Correctly evaluating the sleep environment is the basic step to eliminate this problem. After this stage, personal lifestyle habits should be taken into consideration and which behaviors may result in night sweats should be evaluated. In case of night sweats that continue and recur despite the regulation of the sleep environment and lifestyle changes, you should consult a health institution and get support from specialist physicians. By identifying the underlying cause and appropriate treatment approach, night sweats may no longer be a problem for you. We wish you healthy days.