Sleep hyperhidrosis, more commonly known as the night sweats, is the occurrence of excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) during sleep. The sufferer may or may not also suffer from excessive perspiration whilst awake.
Night sweats may occur for genetic reasons and may be relatively harmless. However, they can be distressing and disrupt sleep patterns if severe; the patient may be frequently awakened due to the discomfort of damp sleepwear.
One of the most common causes of night sweats in women over 40 is the hormonal changes related to menopause and perimenopause. This is a normal part of menopause and while annoying, it is not necessarily dangerous or a sign of underlying disease. Some women experience night sweats during pregnancy due to hormonal changes.
Sleep hyperhidrosis may occur at any age, but is most commonly seen in early adulthood.
The condition may be considered a sign of various disease states, including:
- Cerebral palsy
- Cerebral and brain stem strokes
- Chronic pneumonia
- Familial dysautonomia
- Head injury
- Lymphoma, both Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's
- Hypothalamic lesions
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea
- Pulmonary histoplasmosis
- Subacute endocarditis
Certain medications, including anti-depressants (such as sertraline) have also been known to cause night sweats in some individuals. Another cause could be withdrawal from various drugs (mdma, opiates, benzodiazepines, etc.)