The primary symptom of night sweats is sweating that occurs during sleep, though it does not have to be at night. In order to qualify as this condition, the excessive sweating cannot be caused by a hot environment or excess movement, such as exercise. One of the main symptoms of night sweats is when the clothes and bed sheets are soaked with perspiration, which means that waking up slightly perspired is not usually a symptom of this condition. Though these common symptoms of night sweats occur with nearly every case of the disorder, other symptoms may be present as well, depending on the true cause of the excessive sweating.
Someone who wakes up soaked with sweat after sleeping in an overly hot room or after a strenuous workout is not usually suffering from the condition referred to as night sweats. Additionally, it is often quite normal to lightly sweat during sleep at night, so this is not usually labeled a condition. The main symptoms of night sweats include waking up to sheets or blankets saturated in perspiration despite a cool room, as well as a flushed feeling on the skin. One can feel flushed, however, without experiencing night sweats at all.
Though there are few symptoms of night sweats, there are some additional issues that may come along with this condition when paired with other medical problems. For example, cancers like lymphoma often cause this condition, but it typically occurs along with a fever and sudden weight loss. In fact, the occurrence of both a fever and night sweats usually shows up in many infections, such as endocarditis, tuberculosis, HIV, and various types of abscesses. Several medications, including antidepressants, aspirin, and acetaminophen, can cause night sweats with no other symptoms. Additionally, night sweats that occur with no additional symptoms are often considered harmless by medical professionals.
Symptoms of night sweats in women often signify menopause, and are caused by an imbalance of hormones. The condition occurs when part of the brain becomes overwhelmed and assumes that the body needs to begin giving off heat. It then signals the heart to beat faster, blood vessels to expand, and the sweat glands to start producing perspiration. This reaction is considered normal in women nearing menopausal age, though women can also experience it during pregnancy. If any unusual symptoms occur along with the night sweats, though, it may be time to seek medical advice to find out if there is a harmful underlying cause.