Sweating is a physiological feature of the body that a person needs to normalize body temperature. However, excessive sweating during a night’s sleep may indicate a particular health problem.
Infectious diseases: tuberculosis
One of the main causes of excessive sweating at night is respiratory diseases, in particular, tuberculosis. Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MBT) causes the disease, which, when it enters the body, settles in immune cells — macrophages, suppressing their activity. In response to this, cytokines begin to be produced in the body. Thus, the thermoregulation center is activated, the body temperature rises to subfebrile values, and the person sweats.
Now in Russia, tuberculosis is common, which is due, among other things, to high migration. After all, often people from disadvantaged regions come to our country. Contrary to popular belief, tuberculosis infection can be contracted not only in places not so remote, but also in transport, elevators, shops, etc. To diagnose tuberculosis, you need to take an x‑ray of the lungs. To date, the disease has been successfully treated with appropriate antibacterial drugs.
By the way, in addition to tuberculosis, profuse sweats at night can manifest AIDS — acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, as well as a disease such as brucellosis. According to official figures, about half a million people are infected with this disease every year.
Sweating during sleep and menopause
Excessive sweating at night in women can be a sign of the onset of menopause, or menopause.
It is believed that menopause in women begins after the release of the last egg from the ovary. With the onset of menopause, the level of the main female sex hormones sharply decreases. Sharp fluctuations in estrogen lead to the fact that the hypothalamus, the main center of regulation, including temperature, begins to respond to this by increasing body temperature. As a result, so-called pouring sweats appear. However, there is no real need for cooling the body, as such.
If a woman’s nighttime sleep is accompanied by excessive sweating, you should consult your gynecologist. Hormone replacement therapy may be indicated. Take female sex hormones in tablets should be strictly prescribed by a doctor.
In addition, if menopause occurs, it is desirable to avoid factors that provoke an increase in the work of the sympathetic autonomic nervous system. It is recommended to stop drinking alcohol, exclude caffeinated foods, spicy foods from the diet. In the evening, do not give the body intense physical activity.
By the way, in order to make sleep more comfortable, during menopause, you can sleep on a special cooling pillow made of a special material. To blow on the body during sleep, you can use a special bed hair dryer, which is placed under the sheet, creating cool air flows.
The patient’s complaints about excessive sweating at night may be a sign of a malignant lesion of the lymphoid tissue — lymphoma. As you know, lymphocytes — white blood cells normally destroy all pathogens that enter the body. However, in some cases, they can degenerate into malignant ones. Thus, the cells become non-functional and cease to perform their task. Meanwhile, they continue to secrete mediators that enter the thermoregulatory center — the hypothalamus, causing an increase in body temperature.
The disease is characterized by an increase in lymph nodes, as well as constant rises in temperature, resulting in sweating. Additional symptoms are generalized itching and weight loss. This is a classic manifestation of the disease or the so-called symptoms of B.
To diagnose the pathology, a blood test is required. To date, lymphogranulomatosis is effectively treated.
Heart failure: myocardial infarction
Sometimes the appearance of cold sweat can indicate a myocardial infarction. With blockage of blood vessels, the heart stops supplying blood, and the person feels severe pain behind the sternum. The function of the heart is disturbed and the sympathetic nervous system is excited, which leads to increased sweating. There is a definite correlation between the severity of heart attack symptoms and the degree of sweating. A person who has had extensive damage to the heart muscle sweats much more.
In rare cases, the reverse situation occurs, and the patient feels only weakness and sweating without pain in the heart.
This can happen, for example, with diabetes mellitus or taking analgesics. An electrocardiogram (ECG) can detect a heart attack.
By the way, endocarditis, a bacterial inflammation of the heart, can also manifest itself at night. Concomitant symptoms are pain between the shoulder blades, shortness of breath, heart rhythm disturbance.
Thyroid Problems: Hyperthyroidism
Increased thyroid function — hyperthyroidism can also be manifested by night sweats.
Hyperthyroidism produces large amounts of hormones that stimulate energy production. This energy, in turn, causes an increase in body temperature. To prevent the body from overheating, sweating occurs. To diagnose the disease, you need to take a blood test for thyroid hormones.
Hyperthyroidism is treated with antithyroid drugs that lower thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels. Thyroid function can also be suppressed with radioactive iodine (I‑131). In some cases, they resort to the removal of the organ.
By the way, various medications can also provoke the appearance of sweating during sleep, for example, antidepressants, drugs for the treatment of hypertension, migraines, anticonvulsants, etc.