What are Common Causes of Night Sweats in Women?

Lori Smith
Lori Smith
Excessive night sweating is often experienced by women during menopause.
Excessive night sweating is often experienced by women during menopause.

The most common cause of night sweats in women is menopause. It typically occurs as a result of declining estrogen and progesterone production in the body. Other hormone disorders, low blood sugar, certain neuropathic conditions, and infections all have the potential to create the uncomfortable symptom as well. Sometimes, night sweats in women is a side-effect of medication, like anti-depressants. Other times, eating hot peppers or consuming alcohol and caffeine is to blame.

Gynecologists are qualified to provide health care to women before, during and after menopause.
Gynecologists are qualified to provide health care to women before, during and after menopause.

When a woman reaches the age of 35, or sometimes a few years later, hormone levels of estrogen and progesterone begin to steadily decline. During these stages of menopause, called perimenopause or pre-menopause, night sweats in women are quite common. While the symptom is generally harmless, some people find it incredibly bothersome. If it regularly interferes with a good night sleep, a gynecologist can usually recommend appropriate remedies. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or herbal supplements are frequently prescribed to ease nighttime discomfort.

Hot flashes may be caused by certain prescription medications.
Hot flashes may be caused by certain prescription medications.

Various hormone disorders may also be to blame. For example, people with hyperthyroidism, an overactive thyroid gland, may intermittently feel hot regardless of the temperature of their environment. When this condition is suspected, an endocrinologist can usually suggest various treatment options, such as medication or surgery.

In some cases, hot flashes are symptomatic of other serious health conditions, like certain forms of cancer. In those cases, however, other warning signs usually accompany night sweats in women. For example, lymphoma generally results in unexplained weight loss, in addition to hot flashes.

Hyperthyroidism may cause night sweats in women.
Hyperthyroidism may cause night sweats in women.

Aside from medical concerns, certain food items — like hot peppers — may be responsible for night sweats in women. Caffeine or alcohol consumption can also be a contributing factor. Some people find relief from the symptom easily, by eliminating or reducing these common ingredients from their diet.

Night sweats in women can also be caused by anxiety, or it may occur in response to periods of extreme stress. Occasionally, it is simply the body’s reaction to a new medication. Anti-depressants or other psychiatric drugs, for example, may cause it. Hot flashes caused by medicine may resolve on their own after a short period of continued therapy. Otherwise, when the drug is discontinued, the hot flashes will usually cease as well.

It is generally not wise to stop taking any medication without speaking to the prescribing doctor, though. Some drugs can cause serious health problems or adverse reactions if they are stopped abruptly. On occasion, a doctor may recommend adjusting the dosage to minimize its unpleasant effects without compromising positive qualities of the medication.

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Discussion Comments

bluedolphin

I think I have night sweats due to stress. I'm too young for menopause and my night sweats symptoms started after I lost my father to cancer. I'm planning on seeing a psychologist about it.

serenesurface

@SarahGen-- I have night sweats from menopause too so I know how you feel. Do you also get the chills after your night sweats?

It sounds like you're doing all that you can. Make sure to drink lots of water, preferably electrolyte water. Since we're sweating so much, we can get dehydrated and our electrolyte balance may be upset.

SarahGen

I have night sweats due to menopause. The bad part is that I can't receive hormone therapy because I have a fibroadenoma in my breast. Estrogen may make it worse, so I basically have to put up with all the menopause symptoms.

Mood changes are one thing but hot flashes and night sweats are something else. I wake up with drenched pajamas every single night. I have had to purchase extra pajamas that I can change into when I wake up. Switching to all cotton clothing and bed sheets have helped, but my sweating continues. I have no idea how long this is going to last.

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    • Excessive night sweating is often experienced by women during menopause.
      Excessive night sweating is often experienced by women during menopause.
    • Gynecologists are qualified to provide health care to women before, during and after menopause.
      Gynecologists are qualified to provide health care to women before, during and after menopause.
    • Hot flashes may be caused by certain prescription medications.
      Hot flashes may be caused by certain prescription medications.
    • Hyperthyroidism may cause night sweats in women.
      Hyperthyroidism may cause night sweats in women.