Sweating profusely irrespective of ambient weather or without being under mental or physical duress is called hyperhidrosis. Hyperhidrosis has a more somewhat sinister variant which is called nocturnal hyperhidrosis or night time sweating. The word sinister is used here because when experiencing a bout of hyperhidrosis during daytime measures can be taken to alleviate it but night time or nocturnal hyperhidrosis which mostly manifests when a person is asleep is quite discomforting. A person suffering from it usually wakes up to find their bed ware and pajamas soaked despite the room having normal or even cool temperature. As mentioned nocturnal hyperhidrosis is not related to the temperature of the sleeper’s room instead they are like severe and intense hot flashes occurring.
Night sweats can be linked to several underlying diseases which only a doctor can identify and pinpoint. Some of the common ailments that trigger night sweats are:
For females nocturnal hyperhidrosis is mainly caused by menopause. Since menopause usually manifests in women above 30 years of age (rule of thumb most female experience menopause at an age bracket similar to their mother) hence it’s safe to assume that onset of nocturnal hyperhidrosis also effects women aged above 30.
This is can be termed as simple hyperhidrosis where the body sweats profusely without any particular or distinguishable medical reason. Idiopathic hyperhidrosis is mostly harmless and is not caused by any underlying disease.
Sleep apnea is a disorder characterized by difficulty in breathing during sleep. Sleep apnea patients have been known to experience hot flashes which causes them to sweat excessively.
Side effect of alcohol and medication
Night sweats can be a side effect of alcohol abuse and drug use. Some medications such as antidepressants and even aspirin is known to cause night sweats.
Infections & cancer
Some potentially fatal infections such as HIV/AIDS, endocarditis (inflammation of heart valves) and Osteomyelitis (bone infection) are also known triggers of nocturnal hyperhidrosis. Certain forms of cancer like lymphoma and leukemia are also known to cause this form of hyperhidrosis.
Before taking any course of action to alleviate night sweat, it’s imperative to consult a doctor and have a complete and thorough consultation.