Night sweats is a condition that is characterized by episodes of sweating which soak sheets or your pajamas at night. Night sweats and hot flashes are often associated with hormonal imbalances in females, particularly during menopause. But night sweats can occur in males too.
What Causes Night Sweats in Men?
The various causes of night sweats in males are the following:
- Idiopathic hyperhidrosis: It is a condition characterized by too much production of sweat chronically without identification of any medical cause.
- Reduced levels of testosterone: Night sweats may be caused by low levels of testosterone hormone. The level of testosterone decreases gradually as a male becomes older. This is a symptom of andropause which is quite similar to menopause in females. Night sweats may occur in males who are receiving hormonal therapy for prostate cancer.
- Stress: Increased stress levels increase the adrenalin levels and heart rate in a male's body. It also affects the sweat glands, leading to night sweats.
- Alcoholism: Excessive intake of alcohol is associated with increased sweating. This particularly occurs in those males who drink alcohol constantly.
- Diet: Night sweats may also occur in those males with poor digestive health. Males who suffer from IBS or irritable bowel syndrome and consume garlic, onion or red meats can suffer from excessive night sweating.
- Infections: The most common infection that is associated with occurrence of night sweats is tuberculosis. However, certain bacterial infections including those causing osteomyelitis (inflammation in the bones), endocarditis (inflammation of the valves of the heart) and abscesses may also cause night sweats. HIV/AIDS also has a symptom of night sweats.
- Cancers: Night sweats may be present as an initial symptom of certain cancers. One of the most common cancer that has night sweats as one of its symptoms is lymphoma. Night sweats may also be associated with leukemia. However, individuals who suffer from a cancer that remains undiagnosed also have other symptoms and signs as well, including fevers and unexplained weight loss.
- Medicines: Night sweats in men may also be due to taking some medicines. Antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs may cause night sweats as an adverse effect. Fever-lowering medicines such as acetaminophen and aspirin may cause sweating. Some drugs may cause flushing which is often confused with night sweats. Some of these drugs are niacin, tamoxifen, hydralazine, sildenafil and nitroglycerine. Many other drugs including cortisone medicines such as prednisolone and prednisone may be associated with night sweats or flushing.
- Hypoglycemia: Sometimes hypoglycemia or low blood sugar may cause sweating. Individuals who are on oral anti-diabetics or insulin may develop hypoglycemia at night, which is associated with sweating.
- Hormonal disorders: Flushing or sweating is a symptom of many hormonal disorders such as carcinoid syndrome, hyperthyroidism and pheochromocytoma.
- Neurological conditions: Rarely, neurological conditions such as stroke, autonomic dysreflexia, autonomic neuropathy and post-traumatic syringomyelia may cause sweating and possibly night sweats.
Other Possible Causes of Night Sweat in Males
Apart from what we have discussed already in detail, certain other possible causes of night sweats in men are the following:
- Numbness in hands and feet
- Drug such as heroin and substance abuse apart from alcohol
- Disorders of sleep and difficulty breathing at night, particularly in people suffering from obstructive sleep apnea
- Parkinson's disease
- Covering yourself with multiple layers of blankets
- Sleeping in very warm rooms
- Doing vigorous exercise before going to sleep
- Drinking too hot beverages before sleeping
- Caffeine consumption in excess
When to Visit a Doctor
Schedule a visit to a doctor if:
- Night sweats occur regularly.
- Your sleep is interrupted by them.
- They are associated with weight loss, fever, diarrhea, cough, localized pain, or other symptoms that raise concern.
How to Manage Night Sweats
To manage night sweats in men, the initial step is to correctly diagnose the underlying cause. Only then can the appropriate treatment be determined, as each cause may require different treatment methodology.
For the medical conditions, some of the most common night sweat treatments that can be used are the following:
- Infection with bacteria: Your physician will prescribe various antibiotics to treat the symptom of night sweats. Antibiotics will take care of the bacteria that are causing excessive night sweating.
- Cancers: If you are suffering from cancer, treatment of night sweats may involve treating cancer, such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, stem cell transplant, hormonal therapy, immunotherapy and precision medicine. Unfortunately, if your night sweats are caused due to cancer treatment, then you have to find other methods to reduce your sweating.
- Substance and alcohol abuse: Males who are alcoholics and who abuse drugs should seek professional help to beat their addictions. This is the only method to reduce the night sweats.
- Diabetes: Diabetic patients must check their levels of blood sugar and insulin before going to sleep. You can use the continuous glucose monitor to continuously measure the levels of blood sugar.
- Medicines: If your night sweats are due to the medicines you are taking such as antidepressants, then talk to your physician to change the medicines.
- Andropause: Several specialized treatments for males undergoing andropause are available.
More tips for controlling night sweats include:
- Put an air conditioner: Get an air conditioner to reduce night sweats as it will make sure that your body is cool.
- Try some lifestyle changes and wear appropriate clothing: Take regular bath, change your socks regularly, make sure that your feet are dry and wear clothing appropriate to the weather. This can decrease heating of the body and therefore night sweats in males. Bed sheets and night wear that are made of cotton are recommended.
- Try relaxation therapy: Try relaxation therapy if you get up from sleep after a bad episode of night sweating.
- Try anticholinergics medicines: These medicines reduce night sweats and can be prescribed by your physician.
- Use antiperspirant of clinical strength: Use antiperspirant of clinical strength on your feet, underarms, hairline, hands, groin, chest and other areas that sweat a lot.
- Try surgery: Get your sweat glands removed if your armpits are only affected. You can also try electric current therapy and nerve surgery.