What are night sweats a symptom of?

Written by sophie stillwell
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What are night sweats a symptom of?
(Lillian Nelson, www.sxc.hu/profile/nelso47)

Waking up in a pool of your own sweat is uncomfortable and disconcerting. There are several reasons you may be experiencing night sweats. A conversation or visit with your doctor may help you determine exactly what is causing you to sweat excessively at night.

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Menopause

Many women who are experiencing menopause suffer from hot flashes and night sweats. Menopause occurs when a women reaches the end of her reproductive years and permanently stops menstruating. This process can cause hormone balances to swing wildly, creating physical symptoms such as night sweats.

Hyperhidrosis

Hyperhidrosis is a condition that causes a person to sweat unpredictably, such as while sleeping in a room that is considered cool or comfortable. According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 2 to 4 per cent of adults suffer from this condition. There is no known cause, although the condition appears to be hereditary.

Tumours

Certain types of tumours can cause a person to experience night sweats. These tumours include those associated with Hodgkin's disease (lymph node tumours), carcinoid syndrome (intestinal tumours) or pheochromocytoma (adrenal gland tumours), each of which is a form of cancer. Benign tumours on parts of the endocrine or nervous systems can also produce night sweats.

Infection

Some infections can cause night sweats. These include infections of the heart (endocarditis) and infections of the bones (osteomyelitis). An infected abscess in the liver, called a pyogenic abscess, also can cause a person to sweat excessively at night.

Fever

Sweating at night is often a symptom of the body fighting off a fever. A fever can be caused by several different types of illnesses, such as the common cold, a urinary tract infection or food poisoning. This type of night sweats will end once the fever has gone away.

Medication Side Effects

There are several medications that can cause you to sweat at night. Drugs used for chemotherapy (cancer treatment) often will produce this side effect. Other types of drugs that can cause night sweats include antidepressants, diabetic medications, steroids and some pain medications.

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