Imagine: you climb into your cozy bed, snuggle under the covers and fall asleep … only to wake up sweaty a few hours later.
Misery? Yes. Somehow scary too? Yes, too.
Most of the time, your night sweats can be caused by something completely harmless – like the temperature of your bedroom or the fabric of your PJs. But sometimes your sweaty nights can be a sign of an underlying condition that you need to examine as soon as possible, says Dr. Neomi Shah, Associate Professor of Lung and Sleep Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine on Mount Sinai.
A general rule? If your night sweats last longer than two or three months, get examined, Shah says – but instead of jumping to the worst-case scenario, take a look at what often causes night sweats in women and what you can do about it.
1. Your room is just too hot.
What is the temperature in your bedroom right now? If it's anything other than 15-20 degrees Celsius, it's probably too hot, says Dr. W. Christopher Winter, sleep specialist and author of The Sleep Solution: Why your sleep is broken and how to fix it.
Less breathable fabrics (like your flannel PJs) can also contribute to your sweaty sleep problems, making breathable cotton a better option for both your PJs and sheets.
Feeling hot can also affect your ability to actually fall asleep. During drifting, your body temperature should drop one to two degrees below normal, which is not possible in a warm room.
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2. You have an excessive sweat disorder.
Yes, that's one thing – it's called hyperhidrosis – and, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), it essentially happens when a person sweats more than necessary (yes, even while they're sleeping).
A big difference between hyperhidrosis and normal sweating: According to AAD, hyperhidrosis only affects certain parts of the body, especially your palms, feet, forearms and head. However, keep in mind that this is excessive sweating. According to AAD, hyperhidrosis can interfere with daily activities (like opening doorknobs or using computers) for those who have it.
If you think you have hyperhidrosis, talk to your dermatologist. According to the AAD, they can prescribe certain deodorants or other treatment methods such as botox injections to block the sweat glands.
3. You actually run away from something in your nightmares.
This is probably the simplest explanation for these sweats: "If sweating is chronic … it can sometimes be that the patient is perfectly healthy and actually running in a dream or terrible in a dream," says Dr. Harry Banshick. "The sweat is the result of realizing the dream."
Shah agrees and says anything that causes a so-called sympathetic wave (also known as a fight or flight response) can cause sweating. If you have persistent, persistent nightmares, contact your doctor to find out what may be causing them (stress is a big culprit).
4. Your body is going through hormonal changes.
One of the most common causes of night sweats in women is fluctuating estrogen levels, says Nandi. "Menopause is associated with hot flashes, so it's not uncommon for patients to report sweating while they sleep," says Shah.
If you are pregnant or in your period, these hormone fluctuations can also lead to night sweats. However, menopause tends to cause the most persistent sweats. If this really affects your quality of life or sleep, it is worth talking to your doctor about it. "Sweating during menopause is unpredictable, but talking to your gynecologist about hormone replacement therapy can help keep your temperatures under control."
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5. You are taking antidepressants.
Patients taking antidepressants can definitely see an increase in night sweats, says Shah, as certain classes of medication can cause an adrenergic response that is related to your adrenaline level and causes sweating. If you take venlafaxine (or the Effexor brand name) or bupropion (or the Wellbutrin, Zyban or Aplenzin brand name), you may experience more night sweats, says Shah.
But there is good news if you don't want to change your antidepressant, as Shah says there are medications that doctors can prescribe to calm adrenergic emissions, which won't counter your mental health needs.
6. Your body is fighting an infection.
"Infections are generally associated with changes in temperature because they are associated with a fever that will break, and this is obviously a common reason for sweating," said Shah.
A rare infection that is often associated with night sweats: tuberculosis, which can infect any part of your body but is known for its effects on your lungs. People with an immune-compromised disease such as HIV are more likely to develop tuberculosis, says Shah. You might start to sweat before you even start coughing or find something is wrong, Shah says. So see a doctor if the symptoms persist.
7. You have an undiagnosed lymphoma.
Lymphoma – a cancer that is part of the immune system, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) – can cause several symptoms like fever, changes in weight loss, and, yes, night sweats, says Shah. Essentially, your body recognizes the lymphoma as something it needs to ward off and raises the temperature to try, adds it.
While these "soaked sweats" occur at night according to the NLM, there can also be heavy sweating during the day. Therefore, contact your doctor. If you have other symptoms and you can test them for the disease, Shah says.
8. You have hypoglycaemia related to your diabetes medication.
Hypoglycemia occurs when blood sugar levels are too low and can cause a variety of symptoms, including confusion, dizziness, and in some cases, night sweats. If your blood sugar level drops below a certain point, your body will use hormones like cortisol to maintain normal blood sugar levels and organ function, thereby activating the autonomic nervous system that is responsible for your glands, explains Dr. Remos.
This activation can lead to excessive sweating. Sometimes these sweats can appear suddenly, and if they are accompanied by confusion, oral or intravenous administration of glucose may be required, says Dr. Remos.
9. You have an undiagnosed hypothyroidism.
People with hypothyroidism have an overactive thyroid that produces more thyroid hormone than the body needs. According to the NLM, thyroid hormone can affect the way the body uses energy. Symptoms include muscle weakness, mood swings, and problems with heat tolerance.
If you have night sweats associated with hypothyroidism, these can occur on a consistent schedule rather than at random, and usually occur with other symptoms of the condition, says Dr. Remos.
10. You have a rare tumor in the adrenal gland known as pheochromocytoma.
Pheochromocytomas are rare, mostly benign tumors that, according to NLM, begin in the cells of the adrenal gland. The symptoms associated with these tumors are episodic headache, sweating, and tachycardia, a condition that causes a fast heartbeat, says Dr. Remos.
These symptoms are usually caused by the tumor's excessive release of hormones such as adrenaline and adrenaline, which in turn can cause you to wet your bedding at night, says Dr. Remos. "The night sweats are triggered by the excess adrenaline-type hormones," he says.
11. You have a hormone disorder such as undiagnosed carcinoid syndrome.
Night sweats are a common symptom of hormonal imbalances because they tend to upset body functions. One hormone disorder that can cause night sweats is carcinoid syndrome, which refers to the group of symptoms that occur in people with carcinoid tumors that can appear anywhere but tend to come from the digestive tract.
“Blushing is the hallmark of carcinoid syndrome, which occurs in 84 percent of affected patients. Sweating can occur at the same time as the conditioner, ”says Dr. Remos. "Flushing is an increased blood flow to the skin due to vasodilation and is felt as warmth and redness of the face and occasionally the trunk, which can be associated with sweating."
Other symptoms associated with this condition include blushing and sweating, diarrhea and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
12. You are dealing with an undiagnosed neurological disorder such as post-traumatic syringomyelia.
Like hormonal disorders, neurological disorders, particularly spinal cord injuries and syringomyelia, can also Remos cause night sweats. “The autonomic nervous system has involuntary control over smooth muscles like the intestine or the pupil and the glands. Spinal cord damage leads to malfunction and inappropriate stimulation of the sweat glands, ”says Dr. Remos.
Post-traumatic syringomyelia particularly refers to the formation of cysts in the spinal cord and can cause episodes of increased sweating, says Dr. Remos.
Remedies for night sweats
If your symptoms are mild and do not interfere with normal activities, Dr. recommends Remo's simple behavior changes, such as lowering the room temperature, using fans, or putting on layers of clothing that you can easily take off. You should also avoid things that can cause sweating, such as spicy food, and try to keep stress to a minimum. Your derm can also help prevent sweating by recommending either anti-perspirants of clinical strength or botox injections.
If you are experiencing moderate to severe night sweats or hot flashes related to menopause, you should consider menopausal hormone therapy, which uses hormones to treat menopause symptoms, including hot flashes. It's not a good treatment for everyone, as it can be risky for people with a history of coronary heart disease or breast cancer. So talk to your doctor about your options.
In certain conditions, taking medication to treat the condition can also treat some of the associated symptoms. So always ask your doctor if you think something new is going on in your body and you need relief.
This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com
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