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Night sweats

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Mar 5, 2022.

Definition

Night sweats are repeated episodes of very heavy sweating during sleep, heavy enough to soak your nightclothes or bedding. They're often caused by an underlying condition or illness.

Sometimes you may wake up after sweating heavily, particularly if you're sleeping under too many blankets or your bedroom is too warm. Although uncomfortable, these episodes aren't usually considered night sweats and aren't sign of an underlying condition or illness.

Night sweats usually happen with other concerning symptoms, such as fever, weight loss, pain in a specific area, cough or diarrhea.

Causes

Medications that can cause night sweats

Causes of night sweats include medication such as:

  • Depression medications (antidepressants)
  • Hormone therapy
  • A drug used to treat opioid use disorder (methadone)
  • Drugs used to treat low blood sugar with diabetes (hypoglycemic agents)

Conditions that can cause night sweats

Causes of night sweats include conditions and illnesses such as:

  • Alcohol use disorder
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Autonomic neuropathy (damage to your autonomic nerves)
  • Brucellosis (a bacterial infection)
  • Carcinoid tumors (a type of neuroendocrine tumor)
  • Drug addiction (substance use disorder)
  • Endocarditis (an infection of the inner lining of the heart)
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Hodgkin's lymphoma (Hodgkin's disease)
  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
  • Leukemia
  • Menopause
  • Myelofibrosis (a bone marrow disorder)
  • Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
  • Osteomyelitis (a bone infection)
  • Pheochromocytoma (a rare adrenal gland tumor)
  • Pyogenic abscess (a pus-filled cavity caused by an infection)
  • Sleep disorders (such as obstructive sleep apnea)
  • Stroke
  • Syringomyelia (a fluid-filled cyst in the spinal cord)
  • Takayasu's arteritis
  • Thyroid disease
  • Tuberculosis
  • Valley fever (coccidioidomycosis)

When to see a doctor

Schedule a visit with your health care provider if night sweats:

  • Occur on a regular basis
  • Interrupt your sleep
  • Are accompanied by a fever, weight loss, pain in a specific area, cough, diarrhea or other symptoms of concern
  • Start months or years after menopause symptoms ended

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