What are night sweats?

Night sweats is a term used to describe a condition in which there is an uncontrolled perspiration or sweating at night. Many people found that having the symptoms is an uncomfortable part of their life and may lead to difficulty sleeping and depression. Most of the women will experience night sweats as a common symptom for menopause. However, some medical conditions and certain medications can give a side effect that may contribute to the night sweats. Generally, night sweats are not classified as a serious symptom. But it is still crucial to know what to do and when to meet your doctor if you are experiencing night sweats.

            Most of the cases, it is common to sweat during the night if the temperature is too hot. Nevertheless, some people may experience sweating at night regularly. Most of the women usually experience symptoms of sweating at night and having a hot flash during menopause. Besides that, there are also several medical conditions that may contribute to the night sweats such as below:

1.      Having infections such as tuberculosis or HIV

2.      Cancer for example leukemia or lymphoma

3.      Psychiatric problems such as anxiety disorders

4.      High level of thyroid hormone or hyperthyroidism

5.      Low level of sugar in the blood or hypoglycemia

            Treatments for cancer such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy may also cause night sweats. In some cases, men who are suffering from prostate cancer and having their testicles removed may experience sweating at night as well. If you are currently consuming any medications, there is also a chance of getting night sweats. The drugs include certain treatments for disturbance of the hormone, some antidepressants and opioids. Routine of consuming too many caffeinated drinks or alcohol, as well as using tobacco and drugs will increase the risk of having night sweats.

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            For the treatment, the doctor needs to do some proper investigation before making a conclusion about the underlying causes. After making a specific diagnosis, then the doctor will plan a treatment regime based on your diagnosis. Below are the most common causes of night sweats and their potential options of treatments:

1.      Menopause. Changing lifestyles, for example sleeping in a cold room and keeping away from alcohol, may help to reduce the symptoms of night sweats and hot flashes.

2.       Underlying infection. The treatments are depending on the type of infection that you had. The doctor will prescribe you with antibiotics, antiviral drugs or other medicine to treat it.

3.      Cancer. The doctor may suggest a treatment plan that combines chemotherapy drugs, surgery or other treatments. Since night sweats can also be caused by these treatments, hormone therapy or other medication may be added to the treatment plan.

4.      Anxiety. Your doctor may suggest you with medications such as anti-anxiety drugs or antidepressants.

5.      Hyperthyroidism. Overactive thyroid usually will be treated with medications, therapy using the radioiodine method, or sometimes surgery is needed to treat it.

6.      Medications. Your doctor will modify your dosage or suggest a replacement drug for you.

7.      Routine consumption of alcohol and caffeine, or usage of drugs. Night sweats can be minimized by limiting the intake of these substances. In some cases, you will get medication prescribed by your doctor or some therapies in order to help you stop taking them.

            Last but not least, your doctor will also ask you to modify your sleeping routine. The doctor may suggest you to remove the blankets from your bed, always wearing a lighter pajama, or opening some windows in your bedroom during nights to prevent you from getting night sweats. Using an air-conditioner or a fan, or going for a cold place to sleep may also help to prevent and alleviate night sweats.  

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