Friday, June 3, 2011

Night Sweats


by Joan

Welcome to Night Sweats, a site dedicated to helping women understand and combat their Menopause Night Sweats and to helping men identify and prevent the lesser known but still common Night Sweats In Men. I also address a wide range of causes and treatments for night sweating.
My aim is to provide the most complete yet accessible resource on the web for identifying, understanding and treating night sweats. The big medical sites often cover this topic in a sparse or inaccessible manner. I really hope that won’t be the case with my site. I battled night sweat for years, and after several medical doctor and therapist visits, I finally achieved my own effective treatment for my sleep hyperhidrosis. Now I’ll do my best to help you get through the night.
Before you develop your own night sweats treatment, please understand the importance of an accurate diagnosis and never let the Internet replace a personal visit with a qualified medical professional.
Table of Contents for Night Sweats:


What Is Sleep Hyperhidrosis?

So what is night sweating? Night sweats occur when you experience soaking, severe sweating at night or sweating while asleep. True night sweating will usually soak your pajamas or sleepwear as well as your sheets and bedding and occur regardless of the temperature in your bedroom. Although unpleasant, night sweating is not uncommon and usually it is not a sign of a serious health problem.
Night Sweat
Night Sweat
Sweating is simply our body’s primary means of thermoregulation. Perspiration is a natural mechanism of our autonomic nervous system and in many cases even excessive perspiration derives from a perfectly natural trigger. You will discover a remarkable number of causes of night sweats. Unfortunately, our hypothalamus — our brain’s internal thermostat — is quite susceptible to influence.
You could be a woman suffering from menopause night sweats or you could be a man suffering one of the many reasons for night sweats in men, but either way, you may struggle for comfortable sleep and peace of mind. The clinical name is sleep hyperhidrosis or nocturnal hyperhidrosis, but you simply know it as night sweats(or casually as nite sweats). And while much of the health products industry emphasizes menopausal night sweats or hot flashes, male night sweats orandropause night sweats are not uncommon and can be just as frustrating.
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I discovered several things to help me, both in terms of diet and supplements as well as cool products to wear or to use while I fought my sweating while sleeping. With this site, I hope to share with you what really worked for me and hopefully save you some of the time and money I wasted.

What Causes Night Sweats?

Everyone is different; I will try to elucidate the most common and most serious conditions which cause night sweat, including those well beyond my own experience.What causes night sweats for one person may be very different for another person suffering from sleep hyperhidrosis and sometimes the signs of serious illness manifest themselves differently in different people.
Among the causes of night sweating you should note and consider are the following:
  • Idiopathic Hyperhidrosis, known as Nocturnal Hyperhidrosis when it occurs while sleeping.
  • Diet and Personal Habits
  • Certain foods and food allergies
  • High Cholesterol, High Blood Pressure and Heart Conditions
  • Caffeine, Alcohol (especially Alcohol Withdrawal), Drugs and Smoking (Nicotine)
  • Menopause Night Sweats and Andropause Night Sweats
  • Diabetes Insipidus (Type I Diabetes or Type II Diabetes) and Hypoglycemia (low blood glucose)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Arthritis, especially Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
  • Tuberculosis
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Stroke
  • Infectious Diseases, including HIV and AIDS
  • Stress and Anxiety
  • Chronic Pain
  • Depression
  • Psychological and Neurological Conditions (sometimes cause cold sweats)
  • Specific neurologic conditions may cause severe night sweats, includingAutonomic neuropathy, autonomic dysreflexia, and post-traumatic syringomyelia.
  • GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease), Heartburn or Barrett’s Esophagus
  • Any Inflammation, but especially Endocarditis (inflammation of the inner heart valves)
  • Medicines, especially antipyretic medicines like acetaminophen (Tylenol) and aspirin.
  • Prescription medications, especially antibiotics, mental health medications like Seroquel and other antidepressant medications, may manifest night sweating as a side-effect.
  • Uncommon but serious conditions, such as Cancer, especially Lymphoma(Hodgin’s Disease or Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma). In fact, one of the most common symptoms of lymphoma is severe night sweating.
I’ll try to address all these hyperhidrosis concerns with a comprehensive approach that will address broad matters such as diet to clever little tricks such as running cool water over your wrists to cool your overall body temperature. For an expansion on the most common causes of your night sweating, see my new night sweats causes guide.

Night Sweats In Men

This site is for both women for their hot flashes and men and the sometimes mysterious night sweats men experience. I will address conditions leading to night sweat experienced by both genders. And believe it or not, many doctors believenight sweats in men occur during a kind of andropause phase similar to the more publicized menopause experienced by women.
However, night sweating in men may occur in males of any age. Weight-lifting, weight loss, weight gain, stress and overall diet collectively create a wide range of circumstances for men to develop persistent sweating at night.
It is important you work with your doctor to disqualify any of the common night sweats causes before you isolate and focus on just night sweats in men. I’ve expanded on this topic with a full, dedicated article available here: Night Sweats in Men

Night Sweats In Women

The most obvious example of night sweats in women are the severe hot flashes suffered by women entering menopause or perimenopause. I know menopause night hot flashes can be among the most futile conditions to combat. For more information and support on the menopausal transition, visit the North American Menopause Society (NAMS).
The entire perimenopause phase may involve persevering hot flashes andperimenopause night sweats. However, one promising note is that recent research indicated that women who experience more severe hot flashes and sleep hyperhidrosis during menopause are less likely to develop cancer later. So perhaps those beads of sweat on your brow late in the night are a blessing in disguise.
However night sweating in younger women may occur as a result of low estrogen symptoms. It isn’t uncommon for adolescent girls to experience night sweating as well while their bodies go through dramatic hormonal changes similar to menopause. Rapid weight loss or weight gain may also cause dramatic hormonal fluctuations, which in turn may lead to sweating at night in women or girls of any age.
Pregnancy, of course, is another night sweat cause unique to women. Pregnancy puts stress on the entire feminine anatomy and incurs great fluctuations in hormone balance. Both pregnancy and the postnatal phase may create hormonal conditions ripe for hot flashes and severe sweating at night. Some research indicates that postpartum depression and postnatal hot flashes often occur together.
I expand on night sweat in women further in these articles: night sweats in women and menopause night sweats.

Night Sweats in Children

I know it isn’t easy, but the first thing you should do if you suspect your child is suffering from night sweating is not panic. As I alluded to earlier, a huge percentage of the population worries about severe night sweating but a much smaller percentage is actually suffering from a serious condition or disease that causes night sweats.
In most cases, night sweats in children occurs when children go to bed after too much activity, they’re wearing pajamas too warm for the temperature in their room, or their blankets and sheets are too heavy and hot. In particular, it isn’t uncommon for kids wearing pajamas with feet (sometimes called footies) to experience a little bit of extra perspiration in their sleep. Most childhood night sweating is related to something innocent.
However, there can be legitimate serious concerns as well. If your child continues to experience excessive perspiration after he or she falls asleep or cold sweats while sleeping despite a change of pajamas, room temperature and bedding, you should consult your pediatrician. While almost all the conditions I noted in the section aboutnight sweats causes may apply to children, there are a few that are more common causes of night sweats in children.
Hyperthyroidism may cause sleep hyperhidrosis in children. This means your child’s little body is producing too many thyroid hormones. If your child has been experiencing weight loss and unusual fatigue or lethargy, hyperthyroidism may be a possibility. Another common medical problem which may cause your child to sweat at night is diabetes. If your child is experiencing excessive night sweats, I encourage you to discuss the possibility of diabetes with your child’s doctor.
The most common night sweats children suffer occur as a result of a fever from an infection, with common culprits being bronchitis, strep (Streptococcal pharyngitis), a sinus infection or pneumonia.
A common symptom of Tuberculosis (TB), an infectious disease often affecting the lungs, is sweating at night or sweating while asleep. TB can weaken your child’s immune system, making him or her more susceptible to other bacteria.
Perhaps the most serious underlying condition that may lead to severe night sweating is cancer. This is rare, so don’t panic, but nocturnal hyperhidrosis can be an early symptom of various cancers, in particular lymphoma or Hodgkin’s disease. The kind of night sweats cancer causes often involves sudden, severe perspiration. One of the first lymphoma symptoms an oncologist will look for will be severe night sweating.
Learn more on this sensitive issue in my night sweats in children guide. Regardless, you should always consult your primary care physician or pediatrician if you have any concerns about night sweats in children. While it is my aim to help you, you should never diagnose your child based on information on the Internet. Always seek direct help from a medical professional.

Night Sweats Treatment

While you will find a wide range of night sweats treatments these days, not all of them will work for everyone. The best place to start is with simple, safe and common sense solutions. For example, humans often prefer a cooler temperature for sleeping than they find comfortable while awake. If possible, try sleeping in slightly cooler temperature before you rush to conclusions about any underlying conditions. Along the same line of reasoning, try using lighter and more breathable materials for your sleepwear or pajamas and your sheets or blankets. I suggest a 100 percent cotton or linen for the material. You might even try a wicking pajama (Cool-Jams makes some great ones).
To supplement these common sense approaches, you might implement a bedfan or use a cooling pillow called a chillow. These safe, natural products have helped me a great deal. If you would like to try supplements, women often use black cohosh for hot flashes (although it didn’t work for me) while a niacin-free vitamin b complex (niacin can cause flushing, which in turn can trigger night sweat) or a magnesium supplement may help. However, if your hot flashes or night sweats persist and your doctor has ruled out any underlying condition or disease, you might have to bring out the more aggressive remedies or therapies.
These include using a strong antiperspirant, aluminum chloride hexahydrate. It requires a prescription and can be found under the brand name Drysol. It is basically a prescription-strength version of your common grocery store or drug store antiperspirant. It is very effective for underarm sweat (axillary hyperhidrosis) but it can cause dryness and irritation. Some researchers are also concerned about the long term effects of bring too much aluminum into the bloodstream.
Iontophoresis is another method used to treat excessive sweating. It pushes a very light electrical charge across your skin to temporarily minimize your sweat ducts. This usually must be administered by a medical professional, although some home devices are available through a medical prescription.
Sometimes it isn’t about what you do but what you don’t do. The kind of night sweats stress causes requires reducing anxiety while the kind of night sweats alcohol causes requires cutting alcoholic beverages from your diet.
For additional help and a more comprehensive discussion of night sweating treatments, please read my full page on the subject: Night Sweats Treatment
So whether you suffer from common menopause night sweats or night sweats in men, I hope to provide some helpful, inexpensive techniques for you to try right away.
The night sweats men experience can be quite a bit different than the hot flashes and nights sweats experienced by women, so I’m sure this site will develop divergent areas.

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