What are the causes of chills and night sweats?

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Night sweats and chills interrupt sleep, ruin bed linens and may point to illness that can easily be ignored during active, daylight hours. Allowing symptoms to go unexamined may result in a worsening of the potentially serious condition. Medical attention should be sought early to determine possible causes of the chills and night sweats.

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The common cold and influenza can cause night sweats and chills with fever. However, a fungal infection (mycosis) causes the same symptoms. Inhaled into the lungs, fungus spores grow slowly. Left untreated, the fungal infection can spread to other organs.


According to the Mayo Clinic, Hodgkin's lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system) produces night sweats and chills with fatigue and weight loss. If you experience these symptoms for more than two weeks and cannot point to their source, contact your doctor.

Nerve Disorders

The autonomic nervous system controls the automatic nervous responses affecting blood vessel diameter and heart rate. Nerve disorders (neuropathies) from diabetes, disturbances in the blood's calcium supply or spinal disorders cause chaotic blood vessel dilatation (flushing), triggering night sweats and chills.


Side effects from pain medications, muscle relaxers and injected medications may include flushing followed by chills. If taken before bedtime, flushing and chills may interrupt sleep.


Pregnancy and menopause trigger hormonal changes, interfering with stable blood vessel diameter. The symptoms end when hormones stabilise at the end of menopause or after childbirth.

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