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This Month In Health
  • Waking Up a Hot, Sweaty Mess
    While some night sweats are completely harmless, others may be an unwanted side effect from medication or caused by an underling health condition. Wonder why you keep waking up in a puddle of your own sweat? Here are a few common causes. Read >>
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Health and Fitness News

Waking Up a Hot, Sweaty Mess

Wonder why you keep waking up in the night all sweaty?

Your pajamas and sheets are wet and your skin is covered in sweat. You feel like you need to take a shower and change the sheets in the middle of the night. It’s understandable to wake up sweaty if you’re sleeping in a hot room, are wearing thick pajamas, or are under a bunch of blankets. But what does it mean when you wake up drenched in sweat in a cool room with few coverings?

While some night sweats are completely harmless, others may be an unwanted side effect from medication or caused by an underling health condition. Wonder why you keep waking up in a puddle of your own sweat? Here are a few common causes.

Menopause

For women around the age of 50, night sweats are likely related to menopause. In the years leading up to menopause (perimenopause) and during menopause, hormonal changes and shifting estrogen levels can lead to hot flashes during the day and night. Lasting only a few minutes, hot flashes may happen as many as 30 times a day. While these don’t affect every woman, 75 percent of women can expect to deal with hot flashes.

Medications

Some commonly used prescription medications come with the unpleasant possible side effect of night sweats. Psychiatric medications, antidepressants, cortisone, prednisone, prednisolone, hormone therapies, and diabetic medications can all make your nights sticky. Over-the-counter aspirin or acetaminophen may also be the culprit.

And these night sweats aren’t merely waking up with flush skin. Many medications can cause your cheeks and neck to warm and redden, but these are not night sweats.

Cancers

Night sweats may occur during the early stages of certain cancers, but don’t automatically assume your night sweats are the result of an undiagnosed cancer. If cancer is the cause you’ll likely be having other symptoms. Lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes and lymphatic system) is the most common kind of cancer that’s linked with night sweats.

Infections

As your body fights a serious infection, night sweats are possible, as your body works to push the virus or bacteria from your body. Inflammation of the heart valves, tuberculosis, infection in the bones, HIV, boils, tonsillitis, diverticulitis, or appendicitis may all cause night sweats. Get medical attention for treatment.

Hyperhidrosis

For an unknown reason, some people have what’s called primary idiopathic hyperhidrosis, which causes excessive sweating either in localized areas or all over the body. Thought to be a genetic condition, people with hyperhidrosis often have more sweat glands than normal. While the sweat usually happens during the day, it can strike at night.

Low Blood Sugar

One symptom of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is night sweats. When blood sugar levels drop below 70 milligrams per deciliter, in addition to feeling hungry, anxious, shaky, dizzy, or emotional, you may break out in a serious sweat. People taking diabetes medications or insulin are especially prone to night sweats. When this happens, take measures to bring your blood sugar levels back to a healthy range.

Other Causes

Rarely, conditions of the nervous system, hormone disorders (including hyperthyroidism), autoimmune disorders, drug addictions, anxiety disorders, or thyroid disease may be the cause of night sweats. If you suspect your night sweats may be related to an underlying medical condition, make an appointment to see your doctor. The sooner you get treatment, the sooner your night sweats will be a thing of the past.