Night sweats are commonly associated with menopause, but this isn’t the only reason why you may be experiencing them.
Learning about the potential causes of your night sweats won’t just help you get rid of them. It may also help improve your quality of life by exposing other possible underlying health conditions.
In this guide, our experts weigh in on what could be causing your night sweats. We’ll also discuss natural ways to help get rid of them so you can get the rest you need.
What Causes Night Sweats?
Women commonly experience it just before or soon after attaining menopause. However, this is normal and expected. Even then, you may check with your doctor for hormone replacement therapy or to rule out any other cause of concern.
Other causes of night sweats may include:
- Medicines: Certain medicines used to treat depression, diabetes, and cancers may cause them.
- Hormonal disorders and hormone replacement therapy: Many women suffer during menopause. Excessive amounts of other hormones, like thyroid and adrenal hormones, can also cause them.
- Cancers: Night sweats can be a symptom of certain cancers, like leukemia and Hodgkin’s or Non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas and cancers of the intestine, bone marrow, adrenal gland, and thyroid.
- Infections: Your symptoms may be due to infections, such as tuberculosis and brucellosis (a bacterial infection). Infections of the heart’s inner lining, bones, pus-filled abscesses, and HIV or AIDS are also associated with profuse sweating at night.
- Nervous system disorders: Anxiety, damage to nerves controlling involuntary activities, stroke, and certain spinal cord diseases may cause them.
- Addiction to alcohol, opioids, cocaine, cannabis, and benzodiazepines can also cause sweating at night. Treatment for opioid addiction, such as methadone, can also cause night sweats.
When to see a doctor
While night sweats are often a cause for concern, they may not always warrant a visit to the doctor. Get in touch with your doctor if you:
- Regularly experience night sweats
- Have disturbed sleep, leaving you tired throughout the day
- Have a fever, pain in a specific part of your body, weight loss, cough, diarrhea, or other symptoms
- Are not likely to be experiencing menopause anytime soon, or the symptoms have started months or years after you had no menopausal symptoms
How To Get Rid Of Night Sweats
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), night sweats occur due to a deficiency in Yin or Qi (vital energy).
Generally, TCM practitioners aim to enrich Yin as a treatment while also considering the affected systems, disharmonies, and toxicities.
When you meet with a TCM physician, he or she will customize the treatment to your individual needs.
Even for night sweats associated with serious conditions like cancers, the beneficial effects of TCM remedies are well-recognized.
Research has shown acupuncture to be very effective in reducing night sweats due to cancers when various other medical treatments have failed.
A study in breast cancer survivors with night sweats due to hormonal therapies also concluded that acupuncture is safe and effective in relieving symptoms.
Acupuncture can also help the body to restore itself to harmony. Some important acupuncture points used to treat night sweats include Yin Xi (HT 6) and Hou Xi (SI 3).
You can apply certain herbal remedies externally to the body as that may also help relieve night sweats. As each person reacts differently to TCM treatments, it is best to consult a TCM practitioner to know what suits you best.
Depending on the patient’s constitution, these remedies involve applying pastes made from herbal powders on the umbilicus, nipples, or soles. Alternatively, you can dust and rub herbal powders on your body.
Teas and foods
Here are some tea and food recipes to help you deal with symptoms:
- Make a tea from smoked plum (10 pieces), shriveled wheat (15g), mulberry leaf (10g), and red dates (10 pieces), boiled in 2 liters of water.
- Make a tea with dried immature peach (15 pieces) and red dates (10 pieces), boiled in 2 liters of water.
- Prepare a tea from Hairyvein agrimonia herb (Xian He Cao, 30g) and red dates (15 pieces), boiled in 2 liters of water.
- Boil processed Rhemannia rhizome (30g) and smoked plum (20g) squashed in 500ml of water for 20 minutes, add honey to taste
- Eat mulberry leaf powder with a bowl of rice soup
If your night sweats are caused by menopause, then it may help to take an herbal remedy that reduces menopause symptoms.
It is important to bring in lifestyle and dietary changes as well. Avoid hot and spicy foods like pepper, mustard, ginger, mutton, fennel, cinnamon, and lychee. Quit smoking and limit your alcohol intake.
Eat more cooling and nourishing foods like white fungus, lily bulb, radish, lotus seed, honey, lotus root, pears, loquat fruit, orange, peach, Chinese yam, tomato, water chestnut, Chinese cabbage, soybean sprout, kelp, duck, oyster, animal liver, cuttlefish, sea cucumber, conch, and eels.
Maintain a work-life balance and ensure you get adequate rest. Exercise daily and try relaxation practices and meditation to reduce your stress. Drink up on water and have a cool bath before going to bed, and keep your bedroom well ventilated and cool.
Night sweats need not stop you from getting a good night’s sleep. Use these traditional and natural remedies to relax and restore your sleep.
- Shen-Nong. Chinese Medical Treatment for night sweats.
- Mayo Clinic. Night Sweats
- Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies. Acupuncture for the Treatment of Paraneoplastic Night Sweats.
- Support Care Cancer Journal. Acupuncture in the Real World: Evaluating a 15- year NADA auricular acupuncture service for breast cancer survivors experiencing hot flushes and night sweats as a consequence of adjuvant hormonal therapies.
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