Night sweats: What causes them?

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Night sweats: What causes them?


What causes night sweats?



Night sweats are usually defined as episodes of significant nighttime sweating that soaks your bed clothes or bedding. This is a fairly common problem that many people experience from time to time.

Although uncomfortable, nighttime sweating typically isn't a sign of a serious underlying medical condition. It may be triggered by something as simple as too warm a room or too many blankets on the bed. Potential medical causes of night sweats include:

  • Menopause
  • Anxiety
  • Medications such as certain high blood pressure drugs, over-the-counter fever reducers and antipsychotics
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Diabetes

See your doctor if night sweats occur on a regular basis and interrupt your sleep. Treatment is directed at the underlying cause, if it can be determined. Occasionally, night sweats are a symptom of a serious condition, such as cancer or infection. But in such cases, night sweats are often accompanied by other signs and symptoms, such as fever and unexplained weight loss.

Last Updated: 03/22/2007
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