What are the causes of night sweats in young women?

Updated February 21, 2017

Night sweats, also referred to as severe hot flashes, in young women is a common complaint. Night sweats are defined as sweating during the night when sleeping that results in the soaking of clothing and bedding. Many factors can cause night sweats in young women. Some of these causes are simple and easily treated, and some are more complex and serious. In some cases, women experience night sweats because they are using too many blankets or because they keep their bedroom too warm. Some common causes of night sweats in young women include infections, cancer, medications, neurological conditions, hormone disorders and hypoglycaemia.


Infections such as tuberculosis, osteomyelitis, AIDS and endocarditis can cause night sweats in young women. Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection that affects the lungs, and it can be fatal if not diagnosed and treated in a timely manner. Osteomyelitis is a bacterial infection that causes inflammation in the bones. Endocarditis is a bacterial infection in which the heart valves become inflamed. AIDS is a virus caused by an HIV infection. AIDS is a fatal virus that causes the body's immune system to weaken over time, leading to infections such as pneumonia.


Certain cancers, such as lymphomas, can cause night sweats in young women. Lymphoma cancers, such as Hodgkins and non-Hodgkins lymphoma, are cancers that affect the lymph nodes in the body. Other symptoms that often occur with night sweats in young women with lymphoma include fevers and unexplained weight loss.


Certain medications can cause night sweats in young women. Anti-depressants and medications containing acetaminophen and aspirin are the most common medications known to cause night sweats. Other medications associated with night sweats in young women include Niacin (when taken in high doses), Nitroglycerine, Tamoxifen, Hydralazine, Prednisolone, Prednisone and Cortisone.


Hypoglycaemia can cause night sweats in young women. This often happens to young women taking oral anti-diabetic medications or insulin. Hypoglycaemia is a condition in which a person's blood sugar levels drop and become difficult to normalise.

Hormone Disorders

Certain hormone disorders, such as pheochromocytoma and hyperthyroidism, can cause night sweats in young women. Pheochromocytomas are defined as tumours that occur on the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are small glands that are located on top of the kidneys. Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid glands produce too much thyroid hormones due to the thyroid gland being overactive.

Neurologic Conditions

Though it is not very common, certain neurologic conditions, such as autonomic neuropathy, can cause night sweats in young women. Neurologic refers to the brain, nerves and spinal cord. Autonomic neuropathy is a disease that affects the nerves of the genitals, cardiovascular system, bladder muscles and digestive tract. This condition can affect one organ or several and is most often caused by certain medications, diabetes, nerve injury or alcohol abuse.

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About the Author

Rose Kitchen is a freelance medical writer pursuing a bachelor's degree in sociology and education. She has a nursing background and is going back to nursing school in September 2011 for her R.N. Kitchen holds a certificate in anatomy and physiology and English and is pursuing certificates in natural and alternative medicine, fitness and nutrition and sports nutrition.