Night sweats may refer to abnormal and excessive sweating during the night, and especially while sleeping. It is completely normal for anyone to perspire profusely at night due to unusually high temperature, or because of using too many bed clothes. But if the person perspires otherwise, then it could signal a problem.
Night sweats are different from normal sweating as they are not related to any physical activity such as exercise, they occur mostly during sleep, and they can be profuse enough to soak bedclothes, sheets or blankets.
Causal Agents of Night Perspiration in Men
# It is difficult to pin-point the exact cause of sweating occurring mostly at nights. However, there are certain conditions which could be related to this problem. One of them is low testosterone levels in men. Unlike in women, sex hormones in men decline more gradually and at a steady rate. According to scientists, on an average, in men over 30, testosterone levels decline 1 percent a year. And by the time a man reaches his 70, the decline could be as much as 50 percent. Sometimes, this phase of a man's life is termed as 'male menopause' or late-onset hypogonadism. And one of the symptoms of this condition is hot flashes, because of which men may experience increased sweating particularly at night while sleeping. What experts believe is, decreasing testosterone levels may overheat the hypothalamus (heat regulatory area of the brain), and to tackle this effect, the body begins to sweat to release the excess heat.
# Certain medical conditions could also be among the list of offenders. Infections such as tuberculosis, endocarditis, brucellosis, abscesses, and osteomyelitis could raise the body temperature thus, cause sweating. Disorders such as thyroiditis, hypoglycemia, and diabetes may also cause the same.
# Life-threatening diseases such as HIV/AIDS may have night sweating as one of its symptoms in men and women. Certain types of cancers may also cause excessive perspiration at night. One such type is the Hodgkin's lymphoma. The cancer usually affects the lymph tissues in the bone marrow, spleen, lymph nodes and liver. The condition could also be an indicant of leukemia. It refers to the condition wherein, cancerous cells develop in the body's blood-forming tissues.
# Apart from the above medical conditions, diseases like pheochromocytoma (a rare adrenal gland tumor), syringomyelia (a fluid-filled cyst in the spinal cord), autonomic dysreflexia, post-traumatic syringomyelia, and autonomic neuropathy (damage to your autonomic nerves) are other causes of the condition. Also know that, night sweats could be an indicant of an impending stroke. People with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, heart diseases, or those who use illicit drugs are most likely to suffer stroke if they are or have been experiencing the problem of sweating at night. Not to mention, stress, anxiety, panic attack, and generalized anxiety disorder to name a few may also increase the likelihood of excess sweating.
# In many instances, certain medications could cause people to sweat while sleeping at night. Common ones may include all types of antidepressants, cortisone medications, and psychiatric drugs.
The treatment plan is primarily targeted towards diagnosing and correcting the underlying causes, some of which have been cited above. Practicing stress relieving methods like reading a book, listening to light music, etc., before going to bed, sleeping in a well-ventilated room, and using bedding made from breathable fabrics such as cotton, could provide a great deal of help in reducing the instances of the condition. Herbal teas, flaxseed oil, soy products, etc., may also help in the treatment.