What is the likely cause?

The main conditions and medications that can cause night sweats are summarised below, although it should be noted that many of these conditions would cause other more specific symptoms as well:

  • the Testosterone deficiency (hypogonadism)
  • obstructive sleep apnoea a condition that causes interrupted breathing during sleep
  • medication antidepressants and some other psychiatric drugs can sometimes cause night sweats as a side effect, as can aspirin and the steroid drug prednisolone
  • alcohol abuse or drug misuse especially the use of heroin
  • hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) , which is commonly associated with diabetes and taking insulin
  • infections tuberculosis is the most common infection associated with night sweats, but sweating may also be caused by other infections, including endocarditis (inflammation of the heart valves), osteomyelitis (a bone infection), abscesses and HIV/AIDS
  • cancer night sweats can be an early symptom of certain cancers, such as lymphoma or leukaemia ; however, this is unusual and cancer would cause other symptoms too, such as unintentional weight loss
  • hormone disorders such as pheochromocytoma and carcinoid syndrome (tumours that cause the body to overproduce hormones) and an overactive thyroid gland
  • gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) where stomach acid leaks out of the stomach and into the gullet, although night sweats are not a common symptom of this

There may not be an identifiable cause for your night sweats, and it may just be an annoyance that happens every now and then. When the cause is unknown, it is referred to as idiopathic hyperhidrosis.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018