Perspiration or sweating is one of the most important and also a crucial process of the human body. Thermoregulation (maintaining body temperature), excretion and keeping the outer most skin tissue fresh, oiled and alive are the three primary reasons, as to why we sweat. Sweating after working out, or playing or while going out on a physically exerting exercise is common sweating, but sweating at night by simply sleeping is what worries people.
What are Night Sweats?
Night sweats can be defined as sweating during the nighttime, or during sleep. There is a substantial difference between harmful night sweats and night sweats which are normal and natural. The key difference which has been defined is that, night sweat which occurs continually and consistently, in small quantities is not harmful. However, night sweats that occur suddenly as 'hot flashes', followed by immense quantities of sweat, is something to be worried about. Such night sweats usually start or occurs on the neck and chest regions, and in some cases the back, eventually spreading over to the entire body. The precipitation volume is large enough to soak your bed sheet in a couple of minutes. This kind of sweating is a symptom of some or the other ailment.
In the following causes that have been mentioned, harmless and minor night sweat is common and occurs as an inevitable symptom. If the night sweat occurs in small quantities, then it's perfectly normal. However, if you experience night sweat due to 'hot flash' then it's time to rush to your doctor.
Night Sweat Causes
As mentioned above, night sweats occur in two scales. Our lifestyle can cause the occurrence of both the scales, severe and non-severe.
- A combination of air conditioning, machine-made coffee, improper diet and sleep cycles, which has been adopted by several of us, tends to trouble several organs of the body. A minor, chronic and consistent night sweat is an objection raised by the body, against this improper lifestyle.
- A simply too hot environment, less ventilation or even sheets made up of artificial polymers tends to cause such a sweat.
- Excessive fat or alcohol intake tends to trouble the stomach, and hence the night sweat. Consumption of certain 'heavy nutrients, such as fat and proteins, may also cause a minor night sweat.
Basically an unhealthy lifestyle, and anything that is not safe for the body causes night sweat. Obesity, alcoholism, excessive smoking are also some other common causes. The degree or severity of the sweat is direct indicator as to how bad the situation is. Though this is not a very serious problem, it is always advisable that you pay your doctor a visit in near future or you can start changing your lifestyle, by inducting a good diet, nice sleep cycle and healthy exercise.
Now there are a substantial number of medical causes which tend to cause night sweating. These night sweats in a maximum cases are 'hot flashes' along with excessive precipitation. Take a look...
- Hyperhidrosis or Idiopathic hyperhidrosis: This is a condition of the body that causes excessive sweating without any unidentifiable cause. Usually, metabolic, systemic and systemic causes related to the nervous system are involved.
- Infections: Tuberculosis, bacterial infection, endocarditis, which is the inflammation of heart, osteomyelitis, inflammation of bones, AIDS/HIV and viral fevers are some of the cases where night sweats are experienced.
- Fever: When the body is suffering from any systemic cause such as an infection, the body temperature rises, giving us a fever. This is a natural reaction of the body to the invasion of microorganisms. In such a case, as the body successfully combats the microbes and the situation goes back to normal, the fever drops down and we experience a sweat as the body cools down and the infection is excreted. This might be the cause of night sweat, though it's not chronic.
- Medication and Drugs: Medication and drugs sometimes cause significant night sweat as the body gets affected by its actions. Several antidepressants, antipyretic such as aspirin and acetaminophen, which is lower fever, Tamoxifen, lipid disorder medication and Viagra cause a significant night sweat. There are also several more.
- Hormones: Hormone disorders and some fluctuations in the hormonal level leads to night sweats. You need to see your doctor as soon as possible if you are in an age where hormonal changes occur.
- Hypoglycemia: Now this one is a bit serious and old people taking any anti-diabetic medication should always be on alert for a night sweat. Hypoglycemia is the condition of uncommonly low blood sugar level. If you experience anything abnormal take precaution and rush to the doctor. Also if you suffer from blood sugar related ailments, talk to your doctor as he shall be able to guide you with proper instructions for any emergencies, but a severe night sweat in your case is an alarm bell, it's a clear indicator of Hypoglycemia.
- Neurologic and Psychological: Neurological and psychological conditions, which tend to plague the nervous system often have night sweat as a symptom.
- Cancer: Some cancers tend to have night sweat as their symptom, especially if it is lymphoma. Now it must be noted that night sweat occurring as a result of cancer is also accompanied by weight loss and fever.
Night Sweat Causes in Women
Now there are two instances where night sweats occur specifically in women. They go as follows.
- Menopause: Menopause is a common case where night sweats are experienced as a symptom of the phase. After all your body is going through a lot of change, which in fact involves a lot of significant hormonal change.
- Pregnancy: Night sweats can occur in all stages of pregnancy, in fact they can also occur during delivery and in Postpartum. Night sweats in such circumstances are attributed to hormonal and other changes which occur in the human body. Indirectly pregnancy also put a certain amount of strain on the human body, which is another cause of the sweating.
Night sweats are common and completely normal and natural in the aforementioned cases. However, if you are experiencing any significant uneasiness, then it's better to consult a doctor. In case of anything abnormal or in cases where things don't add up, it's an indication that there's a problem. 'Hot flashes' as described above, which lead to excessive sweating should not be ignored.