What Causes Night Sweats In Women? (What You Need To Know)

Waking up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat is an experience that most women undergo at least once in their lives. However, when this issue becomes chronic, it may indicate an underlying condition.


Sweat is your body’s response to high core temperature. When the water is excreted through your skin, it evaporates, which helps in cooling down your temperature.


In this article, we will cover what causes night sweats in women, ranging from complete benign causes to more concerning disorders.


What causes night sweats in women


Fever


Fever occurs when your body is reacting to a pathogen or disease. For instance, if you get the flu, fever is often present.


In the brain, there is a structure known as the hypothalamus, which is responsible for regulating your temperature. You can think of it as the body’s thermostat.


When microbes invade your body, the local inflammatory reaction releases some chemicals that mess up your core thermostat. They do this by tricking the hypothalamus that your temperature is lower than it should be. As a result, the hypothalamus will initiate some physiological changes to raise your temperature, leading to fever.


When you have a fever, night sweats are very common.


Here are some causes that precipitate fever:


  • Infections (e.g., flu, sinusitis)

  • Inflammatory conditions (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis)

  • Malignant tumors

  • Heat exhaustion

  • Hyperthyroidism

  • Hyperhidrosis


Hyperhidrosis


Hyperhidrosis is a dermatological condition that affects specific parts of the body, causing excessive sweating.


According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), hyperhidrosis is most common in the following body parts:


  • Head

  • Palms

  • Feet

  • Underarms


Menopause


A classic symptom of menopause is experiencing hot flashes. Sometimes, they can be accompanied by night sweats in women.


Researchers believe that hot flashes result from the fluctuation of estrogen.


If you experience profuse night sweating, along with other symptoms related to menopause, your physician may recommend hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to ease up the transition.


Diabetes


While high blood sugar does not typically cause night sweats, hypoglycemia does.


You see, diabetic patients often develop transient hypoglycemia, especially when they are not taking their medications correctly and/or skipping meals.


Symptoms of hypoglycemia include:


  • Sweating

  • Feeling tired

  • Feeling hungry

  • Tingling lips

  • Dizziness

  • Trembling


Medication


Over the years, scientists identified several medications that lead to night sweats as a side effect.


These include:


  • Steroids (e.g., prednisone and cortisone)

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)

  • Tricyclic antidepressants

  • Painkillers (e.g., aspirin, acetaminophen)

  • Diabetes medications

  • Phenothiazine antipsychotics


If you start to experience night sweats that coincide with taking a new drug, make sure to speak with your doctor or pharmacist.


Takeaway message


Night sweating in women is a common sign that has a number of potential causes. Careful examination by your doctor will pinpoint the etiology.


We hope that this article helped you understand the mechanism and causes of night sweats in women. However, no online article can replace your doctor’s tailored medical advice.


For this reason, make sure to speak with your primary care physician if you are experiencing recurrent night sweats.

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