If you’ve ever woken up in the middle of the night, drenched in sweat, you may have experienced night sweats. The good news is – sweating in the night is usually nothing to worry about. In fact, night sweats are one of the most common complaints in the United States.
Your night sweats may be a result of you sleeping in a sweltering room. However, in some rare cases, your night sweats could signal a serious medical condition. It’s completely normal to sweat, but excessive perspiration can be uncomfortable for many people.
For some women, night sweats may be uncommon and manageable. In other women, these hot flashes can be extreme and affect the quality of sleep. While night sweats may be worrisome, most of the time, they can be easily treated. So what causes night sweats in women? This article discusses common causes of night sweats in women with treatment.
A lot of conditions could be triggering your night sweats. While night sweats are a common signal a woman is entering menopause, your night sweats are also symptoms of other conditions.
1. Night sweats during the menopause
Menopause is a natural phenomenon that happens in the life of every woman. During menopause and perimenopause, women often experience drastic hormonal shifts within the body that could trigger sweating at night.
The hormones in your body, such as estrogen and progesterone, are responsible for regulating your body temperature. During the hormonal changes that come with menopause, the hormone imbalances in your body could affect your body’s ability to regulate temperature.
As a result, your body sweats excessively at night and experiences hot flashes. Other symptoms that could accompany the night sweats include:
- Excessive sweating
- A sensation of heat in the face, chest, and head
Menopause is the most common cause of night sweats in women. While night sweats are minimal in some women, night sweats can be frequent and affect their quality of life in some others—as many as 80% of women going through menopause experience night sweats.
Treatment for Night sweats caused by menopause
Menopause is the sign a woman’s body is reaching the end of its fertility. If you’re experiencing night sweats, you can make some lifestyle changes that’ll help manage the discomfort.
- Take a cold shower before bed.
- Keep a fan close to your bed
- Run cool water over your wrists
- Wear light clothes to bed
- Open the window before bed
If your night sweating is excessive, your doctor may recommend hormone therapy.
2. Drinking before bedtime
Although having a glass of wine before bedtime may sound relaxing, it can trigger night sweats. Alcohol may have sedative properties, but taking alcohol before bed can also increase your heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature.
Alcohol affects the nervous system and your body’s ability to regulate temperature, leading to excessive sweating at night. In addition, alcohol withdrawal and alcohol intolerance can also lead to night sweats.
If you’re already experiencing night sweats, taking alcohol before bed can make the sweating worse.
Treatment for Night sweats caused by alcohol
If alcohol is the primary cause of your night sweats, I recommend limiting your alcohol consumption before bedtime. If you have alcohol intolerance, make sure you avoid alcohol altogether.
Other home remedies you can use to control the night sweats include
- Drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated and replace fluids lost through sweat
- Showering to remove excess salt and sweat from the skin
- Keeping the bedroom at a cool temperature to prevent sweating
- Removing thick blankets and wearing light nightwear
3. Your sleepwear and sleep environment
Sometimes your night sweats may be a result of your sleeping environment. Everyone likes a warm, cozy environment. But, sometimes, your room may be overheated.
If you’re sweating at night for these reasons, you can prevent your night sweats by:
- Keeping your bedroom cool.
- Lower your thermostat and use a fan.
- Wear light and breathable clothing. Avoid overdressing and choose clothes that absorb moisture.
- Use lightweight beddings.
- Change your mattress. Foam beds can restrict airflow.
Idiopathic hyperhidrosis is when your body produces an abnormal amount of sweat without any identifiable medical cause. Sweating can affect a particular area of your body, or it can affect your whole body.
The sweating is most noticeable in the hands, feet, armpits, and groin. Although idiopathic hyperhidrosis isn’t life-threatening, it can make sleeping at night extremely uncomfortable.
Symptoms of idiopathic hyperhidrosis may include:
- Frequent sweating
- Sweaty, wet palms
- Sweaty, wet soles of the feet
- Noticeable sweating that soaks through clothing
Night sweats in women can also be caused by Infections diseases such as bladder Infection, tuberculosis, or HIV. When you have an infection, your body can signal you through night sweats. Tuberculosis is the most common infection responsible for night sweats.
Other bacterial infections that can cause night sweats to include:
- Endocarditis (inflammation of the heart valves)
- Osteomyelitis (inflammation in the bones)
Your night sweats could also be a symptom of abscesses or an HIV infection.
Treating Night sweats caused by an infection
To treat your night sweats, you have to first deal with the infection responsible.
Taking certain medications can have side effects, which could include night sweats. For example, many antidepressant drugs cause night sweats.
Other psychiatric drugs that have also been associated with night sweats include:
- Steroids, including prednisone and cortisone
- Pain relief medications, such as aspirin and acetaminophen
- Medicines for diabetes that help lower blood sugar
- Hormone therapy medications
- Both tricyclic and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants
- Phenothiazine antipsychotics
Treating night sweats caused by Medication
If a certain medication is causing your night sweats, your doctor may recommend an alternative.
Hypoglycemia is a condition where your blood sugar is lower than average. When you have low blood sugar, one common symptom is sweating at night. Diabetic patients that use insulin also experience night sweats.
Treating night sweats caused by Hypoglycemia
To manage the night sweats caused by low blood sugar, make sure you:
- Check and maintain your blood sugar before going to bed.
- Avoid hot and spicy meals before bedtime
- Avoid drinking alcohol before sleeping
8. Hormone disorders
Your night sweats can be a result of hormone disorders. If you are producing or underproducing a particular hormone, such as serotonin, your may experience hot flashes.
Other hormone disorders that can cause night sweats to include:
- Carcinoid syndrome
9. Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Sleep Apnea is a serious sleeping condition that restricts breathing during sleep. One primary symptom of untreated sleep apnea is night sweats. Men, overweight people, and people over 40 are at greater risk for sleep apnea.
Other symptoms of sleep apnea are:
- Wake up struggling to breathe
- Feeling tired during the day
- Wake up with a sore throat
- Have difficulty focusing during the day
- Wake often in the night or sleep restlessly
- Have headaches
- Have symptoms of anxiety or depression
Treating night sweats caused by sleep apnea
To treat night sweats caused by sleep apnea, you need to treat the underlying condition. Treatment for sleep apnea include:
- Nasal Decongestants
- Positive therapy,
- and surgery.
10. Autoimmune disease
Certain autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis and giant cell arteritis, can cause night sweats.
Treatment for night sweats caused by Autoimmune diseases
If you have rheumatoid arthritis, your doctor may prescribe pain-relieving drugs to soothe the pain and inflammation, along with slowing the progression of the illness.
11. Surgery that affects hormone levels
Certain surgeries like labiaplasty and other intimate female surgeries that result in removing female reproductive organs can cause night sweats.
12. You’re having nightmares
Sometimes, if you have a frightening dream, you may experience night sweats. If you’re running in your dream, you may wake up drenched in sweat. Although nightmares are more common in children, they can happen to anyone of any age.
If your nightmares are recurring, you may require treatment for stress and anxiety.
13. More severe illnesses such as cancer
In rare conditions, night sweats can be a symptom of some cancers. Sometimes, night sweats accompanied by unexplained weight loss can be a symptom of cancer such as lymphoma.
While many types of cancer can cause night sweats, lymphoma is the most common. In fact, about a quarter of people with lymphoma experience night sweats.
If you’re experiencing night sweats alongside other bothersome symptoms such as extreme pain or a temperature, you must visit your doctor.
14. Neurologic conditions
Some neurologic conditions such as spinal cord injury, autonomic dysreflexia, and syringomyelia can also cause night sweats in women. Damage to the spinal cord can stimulate sweat glands and lead to episodes of increased sweating.
Neurological disorders including:
- Autonomic dysreflexia
- Posttraumatic syringomyelia,
- and autonomic neuropathy
These neurological disorders can cause excessive sweating during the day and night sweats.
Other symptoms of Neurological disorders include:
- Losing consciousness
- Muscular weakness
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- Appetite loss or other GI or urinary symptoms
- Numbness and tingling in your arms, hands, legs, and feet
15. Anxiety and Stress
If you’re having a stressful day, you may have noticed you tend to sweat more. Stress, anxiety, and worry can also have the same effect at night.
Although stress is a mental issue, it can leave you soaked in sweat and affect the quality of your life.
Treatment for night sweats caused by anxiety
If you notice the anxiety is causing a problem with your sleep, you should seek a counselor, therapist, or doctor. Your doctor may recommend counseling, stress-reduction techniques, or therapy with a mental health professional. Once the cause of your anxiety is dealt with, your night sweats will stop.
Pheochromocytoma is a rare tumor that grows in the adrenal medulla (the inner part of the adrenal glands). Although the tumor isn’t cancerous, it can cause your body to produce too many hormones, which in turn can increase your blood pressure, blood pulse, cause headaches and lead to night sweats. Pheochromocytoma usually occurs in people between 20 and 50.
Other symptoms of Pheochromocytoma include:
- Painful headaches
- Excessive sweating
- Nervous shaking
- Pain in the lower chest or upper belly area
- Feeling overheated
- Racing heartbeat
- Anxiety and worry
- Upset stomach
- Weight loss
- Vision problems
17. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
GERD is a digestive disorder that occurs when the stomach acid or bile flows into the food pipe and irritates your esophagus lining. Although you can experience GERD any time of the day, it can sometimes cause night sweats.
Other symptoms of GERD include:
- heartburn, often after meals
- Excessive sweating
- problems with swallowing
- chest pain or esophageal spasms
- regurgitation (when liquid or food comes back up after eating)
- sleep problems
- respiratory problems, including coughing or increased symptoms of asthma
Home Remedies for night sweats in women
To get rid of night sweats, you need to find out the causes first. If the problem is the environment, you can use an air conditioner to lower the room temperature or wear thin clothes while sleeping.
You should avoid eating things that may cause sweating during dinners, such as caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods. In addition, minimizing stress and anxiety can also help you fall asleep quickly, which can help relieve the symptoms of night sweats in women.
If your symptoms are related to menopause, you can take some medications to relieve symptoms. Menopausal hormone therapy can help get rid of menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes. However, this therapy has side effects because it can be risky for patients with a history of coronary heart disease or breast cancer. Therefore, you need to consult your doctor carefully to find the best treatment plan.
When should you see a doctor about your night sweats?
In most cases, your night sweats shouldn’t be a cause for concern. However, in some rare cases, they can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition.
If you’re experiencing persistent night sweats that affect your sleep, then you should see a doctor. If your night sweats are accompanied by other symptoms such as unexplained weight loss, high fever, or cough, it may be a sign of severe medical disease.
In people with HIV or lymphoma, night sweats may be an indication the disease is progressing.
Can I prevent night sweats?
You can prevent some cases of night sweats. To minimize your risk of experiencing night sweats, some effective home remedies you can follow include:
- Reducing your intake of alcohol and caffeine.”
- Avoid using tobacco and illegal drugs.
- Sleep in a comfortable environment with a cool temperature
- Avoid exercising before bed.
- Avoid eating spicy foods or consume warm drinks too close to bedtime.
If the cause of your night sweats is a medical condition, the most effective way to manage your night sweats is by treating the underlying condition.
Sweating is a normal part of life. Your body needs to sweat to regulate its temperature. While sweating is normal, sweating during bedtime is not. If you’re experiencing night sweats, seek out medical attention. Your doctor can help you diagnose the cause and recommend solutions to your sweat problem.