Night sweats are considered a problem if the patient frequently complains of waking up in the night with soaked underclothes even when the room is not too hot or the person is not dressed too warmly. It is not as uncommon a complaint as it may seem at first and may, in fact, be the result of a wide variety of causes.
Here are some of the most common ones.
• Side effects of medications like antidepressants, drugs used in the treatment of diabetes and those that are used to regulate the functioning of hormones. Some studies estimate the incidence of night time sweats to be as high as 20% of all the people taking antidepressants.
• Increased functioning of the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland releases hormones that are responsible for setting the "thermostat" of the body and an alteration of the normal balance can thus lead to the development of night time sweats.
• Certain tumors can also manifest night sweats as one of the initial symptoms, however, there will be other symptoms manifested that the doctor will examine before coming to this diagnosis. Lymphomas are one of the cancers that cause night sweats.
• Abscesses. An accumulation of pus in the area can lead to a severe inflammatory response which causes an increase in temperature in the area. This will lead to sweating.
• Infection. Tuberculosis is the most common infection that causes night sweats, however, others like bacterial endocarditis, osteomyelitis are also possibilities that should be explored by your physician.
• Low blood sugar. In patients with poorly controlled diabetes, fluctuating blood sugar levels can wreak havoc. Night time sweating is seen in patients where there is a drop in the blood sugar during the night. Poor portion control or a higher dose of insulin than required could be precipitating causes of this hypoglycemic state.
• Sleep disorders
• Neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, Guillan Barre Syndrome, and nerve degeneration can all cause night sweats.
The most commonly seen cause for the night sweats is menopause, seen in middle-aged women, however, men can also manifest the symptom due to one or more of the reasons mentioned above. There may be other symptoms like unexplained weight loss that are associated with the night sweats and should thus be reported to the doctor at the earliest opportunity.
Some people suffering from night sweats may find that they have increased sweating all over the body, while others may find that a particular area of the body is affected.
The doctor will be required to take a detailed history of the patient before an appropriate diagnosis can be made. Once the offending cause has been pinpointed, treatment of the underlying disease or a change in medication will resolve the complaint.
If .nNight time sweating has been observed for a prolonged period of time then it is time to visit a doctor. There is a good chance that it may be nothing serious but if it is, then the earlier treatment can be started, the better it is for the patient.
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