Drenching night sweats are common during menopause. Night sweats that occur alongside other symptoms may be a sign of an infection, diabetes, or cancer. Night sweats may be a side effect of a medicine you’re taking. Talk to your healthcare provider. Once they diagnose what’s causing your symptoms, they can recommend treatments to manage your night sweats.
Night sweats are drenching sweats that are intense enough to soak through your clothes and bedding and disturb your sleep. Typically, sweating is a healthy cool-down response that keeps your body temperature at a safe and comfortable level.
Night sweats, on the other hand, don’t feel comfortable at all. Instead, you may feel a sudden wave of heat that spreads throughout your body, followed by sweating, reddening skin and a rapid heartbeat. You may wake in a cold sweat, wondering what’s causing your body to behave in this way.
Night sweats often accompany menopause. When night sweats happen alongside other symptoms, they may signal a condition that requires medical attention.
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Night sweats can affect anyone, but they’re most commonly associated with people assigned female at birth. Hormone changes related to reproductive hormones, like estrogen and progesterone, can cause unpleasant changes in your body temperature that make you feel too hot. Your body may respond with a flash (hot flash) to cool down, or you may sweat excessively (night sweat).
Night sweats are common during perimenopause and menopause. Menopause officially begins when you haven’t had a period for 12 consecutive months. The average age of onset is 51. Perimenopause is the period that precedes menopause. During perimenopause, your ovaries produce less estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, and your periods become irregular. Perimenopause usually happens between the ages of 40 and 50.
Changing hormone levels during perimenopause and menopause likely cause your hypothalamus (the part of the brain that controls your body heat) to have trouble regulating your body temperature. Think of it as a glitch in your body’s internal thermostat. You may feel sudden warmth or a flush in your face, neck and chest. In response, your body tries to cool itself by sweating too much.
People with primary ovarian insufficiency (POI) may experience night sweats for reasons similar to people going through perimenopause and menopause. With POI, your ovaries stop producing estrogen before age 40.
Hormone fluctuations during your menstrual cycle can also cause night sweats. Your estrogen levels decrease before your period, in the time most commonly associated with PMS and PMDD. While symptoms like irritability and cramps are more commonly associated with PMS and PMDD, night sweats can occur, too.
Fluctuating hormone levels during pregnancy may also cause you to experience night sweats. Pregnancy-related night sweats are more common during the first trimester (weeks 1 to 14) and the third trimester (weeks 27 to childbirth). The sweating may continue a few weeks after your baby is born as your hormones adjust to their pre-pregnancy levels.
No. Night sweats are both a symptom of multiple conditions and a side effect of various medications. Night sweats can occur for many reasons that affect people regardless of sex. Other causes include:
Night sweats may also be related to hyperhidrosis, a condition that involves excessive sweating for no apparent reason.
Treatment depends on what’s causing your night sweats. For menopause-related night sweats, hormone therapy — estrogen alone or with progestin — may be an option. Hormone therapy can also help with other symptoms of menopause, including bone loss and vaginal dryness. You shouldn’t receive estrogen replacement therapy if you have a history of breast cancer. All hormone therapies carry some risks, including blood clots and gallbladder inflammation.
Non-estrogen medications used to treat night sweats include:
Regardless of what’s causing your night sweats, you can take preventative steps to improve your sleep quality. To keep cooler during bedtime:
Schedule a visit with your healthcare provider if you’re regularly experiencing night sweats that disrupt your sleep or if you’re experiencing night sweats alongside other symptoms. If you’re close to age 50 and you’re waking with cold sweats — menopause is likely the cause. Experiencing night sweats in addition to other concerning symptoms may be a sign of something more serious.
Still, only your provider can make a definitive diagnosis. Once your provider determines the cause, they can prescribe treatments to help.
Night sweats go away for most people a few years after menopause starts. Sometimes, though, they don’t go away. Night sweats that linger well into postmenopause (the period after menopause) usually become less severe over time.
Yes. Stress, panic and anxiety can elevate your heart rate and cause you to become overheated and sweaty both day and night.
Night sweats are a common symptom of both leukemia and lymphoma. Other symptoms are usually present when cancer causes night sweats, like fever and fatigue.
Night sweats are a common symptom of tuberculosis. Night sweats are also associated with colds, the flu, COVID-19, HIV, and some bacterial infections (endocarditis, osteomyelitis and pyogenic abscess).
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Night sweats, like hot flashes, are often related to hormone changes that make it harder for your brain to regulate your body temperature. Night sweats are common in menopause, perimenopause, pregnancy and (in some cases) at certain points during your menstrual cycle. They can also be a sign of another condition that requires medical attention. See your healthcare provider if night sweats are disturbing your sleep. They can recommend lifestyle changes and treatments that can help.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/06/2022.
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