What Causes Night Sweats? – Rush

A good night’s sleep can be hard to come by when you wake up in a pool of sweat. But getting to the bottom of what’s causing night sweats is often difficult, says Kathleen Rowland, MD, MS, a family medicine specialist at RUSH.

Night sweats affect two out of five middle-aged adults — although some studies have found an even higher prevalence, Rowland says.

Photo by Ivan Oboleninov on Pexels.com

Night sweats: Rarely cause for concern

Most of the time, night sweats are harmless, she says. But occasionally, they can be a sign that you’ve caught the flu, COVID-19 or another bug. “Almost any kind of infection can cause night sweats,” she says. This includes kidney infections and much rarer infections like tuberculosis.

In other cases, the cause may be thyroid or liver disease, or a sleep disorder like obstructive sleep apnea. Night sweats can also be a symptom of a serious health issue like lymphoma, a type of cancer that affects lymph nodes, bone marrow and other parts of the lymphatic system.

“While night sweats are a common symptom for people with lymphoma, very few people who have night sweats have cancer,” Rowland explains.

Medications that can make you sweat

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