Medical Q&As

Night sweats - possible causes?

I suffer from frequent night sweats. I am 32 years old and I am not menopausal. I used to put it down to PMT (pre-menstrual tension). The sweating is quite severe: I have to change my nightclothes during the night as they are soaking and I feel really dehydrated during the day even though I drink plenty of water. Someone suggested it might be linked to low blood sugar. I do have to eat my meals very regularly. If I miss a meal by a couple of hours I can get very panicky (tremor, sweating, distressed). Having said that, I am under stress at the moment and it could be just anxiety. Is it worth going to my GP to have it checked? I donít want to suggest my own diagnosis to my GP.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with suggesting a possible diagnosis to your doctor because your own personal observations and impressions can be very helpful in making a diagnosis. Therefore I would suggest that you do mention the fact that you are stressed and I would also include your observations about possible low blood sugar levels. Both of the situations you mention can result in night sweats. Night sweats can also be associated with various hormone related conditions such as hyperthyroidism, the menopause and diabetes. It can also be a feature of sleep apnoea. Medication can also induce night sweats. Possible culprits here include medication for treating anxiety, antidepressant medication and very rarely it can also be attributed to the contraceptive pill. Disorders that affect the immune system can also induce night sweats. TB is another cause of night sweats but in that particular scenario there would be other accompanying symptoms. I would suggest that you visit your GP because the level of sweating you describe needs to be medically assessed.