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Body Areas Affected by Hyperhidrosis
Causes of Hyperhidrosis
Complications of Hyperhidrosis
Sweat Biology
Types of Hyperhidrosis
What Causes Night Sweating?
Written by Katie Crissman
October 01 2020

Night sweats are a specific type of sweating that, like the name implies, only occur at night. True night sweats are caused by severe hot flashes that occur in sleep. They often cause a person to soak through bed sheets and are not related to how hot the surrounding environment is. Night sweats are also surprisingly common.[1] One study published in the Annals of Family Medicine found that 41% of patients questioned about night sweats at a primary care clinic responded that they had experienced night sweats in the month prior to their visit to the doctor. This is only one statistic and is not representative of the number of people in society as a whole who experience night sweats, but it still demonstrates that night sweating is a prevalent issue.[2] There are various medical reasons that people experience night sweats ranging from benign to quite serious. Below is a list of several of the most common causes.

Hyperhidrosis

Hyperhidrosis is the medical term used to describe unusual, excessive sweating that is not related to the heat or exertion. The two most common types of hyperhidrosis are called primary focal hyperhidrosis and secondary generalized hyperhidrosis. Most commonly, night sweats are a symptom of secondary hyperhidrosis - which is a type of hyperhidrosis caused by an underlying medical condition or medication. For example, some medications cause excessive sweating as a side effect. Due to the fact that the excessive sweating has a causative agent, the medication, a person would be said to have secondary hyperhidrosis. In contrast, primary focal hyperhidrosis develops earlier on in life and has no causative factor.[3] While primary focal hyperhidrosis could potentially cause night sweats, this is much less common.[1] The other causes of night sweats discussed in this article are actually types of secondary generalized hyperhidrosis.

Pregnancy and Menopause

Sometimes, normal physiological changes that occur over a lifetime can be the cause of night sweats.[1] This is especially true for women. Both pregnancy and menopause can night sweats due to the hormonal changes they cause in the body. Menopause typically begins some time during a woman’s 40’s or 50’s and signals the fact that her body is at the end of its childbearing years. Between 30% and 80% of women experience hot flashes and/or night sweats during and after menopause. However, it is always a good idea to have a doctor determine whether menopause is truly occuring to make sure that hot flashes are not being caused by a different, more sinister, underlying cause. This can easily be determined through a simple blood test.[4]

Hormonal Imbalances

Several hormonal disorders are known to cause both flushing, sweating, and night sweats. The causes and complications of these disorders vary and there is a wide array of possible endocrine diseases that can cause night sweats. Here are a few:

  • Pheochromocytoma
  • Carcinoid syndrome
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Diabetes and Hypoglycemia[1][5]
  • This is not an exhaustive list of endocrine disorders that can lead to night sweats so be sure to check in with a medical professional if you are concerned that an endocrine problem may be causing your sweating issues.

    Infection

    There are several infections that can lead to the development of night sweats. Some of these include:

  • Tuberculosis
  • Bacterial infections (like endocarditis or osteomyelitis)
  • HIV
  • Influenza
  • Other febrile illnesses
  • It should also be noted that a fever in and of itself can cause night sweats to occur as the body struggles to fight off an infection. If you suspect that an infection is causing your night sweats then it is imperative that you speak with your doctor.[1][5]

    Cancer

    Unfortunately, sometimes night sweats are an early symptom of certain types of cancer. Lymphoma is the cancer most commonly associated with night sweats.[1] Leukemia can also cause night sweats.[5] If you are suffering from cancer you will most likely have other health issues that go along with your night sweats like weight loss and fevers. If you are experiencing night sweats along with other troubling health symptoms please speak with a doctor.[1]

    Mental Health Issues

    Another common cause of night sweats are mental illnesses. Most commonly anxiety is associated with night sweating, but it can also be caused by depression. For those who struggle with substance abuse disorders the drug of abuse as well as withdrawal from it can cause night sweats.[5]

    Sleep Issues

    Sleep disorders are associated with the development of night sweats.[2] This is especially true in the case of people who have obstructive sleep apnea. People with this sleep disorder are reportedly three times more likely to experience night sweats than the general population.[5] It is unknown whether other types of sleep disorders, like restless leg syndrome, are themselves responsible for night sweats or whether other factors are causing the night sweats and people with sleep issues are just more likely to notice them. More studies need to be done in order to determine the relationship between sleep disorders and night sweating.[2]

    Medications

    Medication side effects are one of the leading causes of night sweats. In fact, many commonly prescribed medicines cause secondary generalized hyperhidrosis as well. Here is a list of some of the medications that can cause night sweats:

  • Pain medications: many types of opiates, NSAIDs (which are over the counter anti-inflammatories) and marinol (cannabinoid medication)
  • Psychiatric medications: antidepressants, antipsychotics, anxiolytics and ADHD medications
  • Hormonal medications: birth control and other medications containing estrogen or testosterone
  • Diabetes medication[3]
  • One meta analysis found that between 10% and 14% of people taking SSRI’s, a type of antidepressant, deal with night sweats as a result. The use of these types of medications are extremely widespread making them a common culprit of night sweats.[6]

    Neurological Diseases

    Various neurological diseases can cause night sweats to occur. These include:

  • Posttraumatic syringomyelia
  • Stroke
  • Autonomic neuropathy
  • Autonomic dysreflexia
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • The list above is not exhaustive and there are other neurological conditions that can cause night sweating.[1]

    Other Possible Reasons

    There are some other possible causes of night sweats that include conditions like obesity, gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD), cardiovascular disease, and others. If you are not sure why you are experiencing night sweats it is important to speak with your doctor and rule out some of the more serious potential causes.[5]

    Sources
    1. 8 Causes of Night Sweats. (n.d.). Retrieved August 12, 2019, from https://www.webmd.com/menopause/guide/8-causes-of-night-sweats
    2. Mold, J. W., Woolley, J. H., & Nagykaldi, Z. (2006). Associations Between Night Sweats and Other Sleep Disturbances: An OKPRN Study. Annals of Family Medicine, 4(5), 423-426. Retrieved August 12, 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1578640/.
    3. Pariser, D. M. (2014). Hyperhidrosis (4th ed., Vol. 32). Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier.
    4. Paisly, A. N., & Buckler, H. M. (2010). Investigating secondary hyperhidrosis. BMJ : British Medical Journal (Online), 341. doi:10.1136/bmj.c4475
    5. Davis, K. (2017, December 15). What to know about night sweats. Retrieved August 12, 2019, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/296818.php
    6. Giudice, M. (2006). Tracing night sweats to drug can be challenging. . Canadian Pharmacists Journal, 139(1), 59-60. Retrieved August 27, 2018, from http://ezproxy.co.wake.nc.us/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/221185945?accountid=14867
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    Body Areas Affected by Hyperhidrosis

    9 Outrageous Things People Try to Avoid Excessive Armpit Sweating

    By Daniel McCarthy /

    9 Outrageous Things People Try to Avoid Excessive Armpit Sweating


    On my first day of work a few years ago, I got dressed to impress and walked the 20 minutes to my new office to meet my new colleagues for the first time. Having just moved to the southern US, I’d been getting used to the unbearable humidity and its effects on my excessive armpit sweating. Luckily (I thought), the sun wasn’t out and the temps dropped below 80, so maybe my sweat glands wouldn’t take center stage! Well...I arrived to meet my colleagues looking like a wet bass in business clothes. Thank goodness I arrived 15 minutes early, which brings me to the first outrageous thing people try to avoid armpit sweating. 

    1. The Hand Dryer 

    I anxiously scurried to the nearest bathroom, declothed, and put the hand dryer to good use on my shirt stains and sweat stains. More outrageously, I awkwardly hovered my sweaty extremities (including my sweaty underarms) over the hand dryer. Thankfully, I reapplied my antiperspirant and headed out to meet my colleagues a decently dry man. That was the day I knew I really needed clinical strength antiperspirant for my excessive armpit sweating (and a car). 


    1. Pantyliners


    Many with excessive underarm sweating already know that underarm pads are one way to help with sweating armpits. But if you find yourself sans pad and worried about your excessive armpit sweating, you would not be the first person to try pantyliners. That’s right, pantyliners have been used in a pinch to help keep sweat stains at bay. 

    1. Give a shirt

    In 2019, a reddit user posted that to combat his excessive armpit sweating, he skipped the typical clothing and made his own shirt. He posted asking others to try out his creation and received over 250 replies! By creating and giving others shirts, this innovative reddit user designed his way into the hearts of many with smelly armpits. 

    1. Get inked

    If you’ve been debating whether to get a tasteful tattoo and you have hyperhidrosis, this finding may just help you make your decision. A 2017 study found that getting inked helped reduce sweat [1]! Now, I don’t recommend choosing a tattoo as a means of treatment for excessive armpit sweating (and maybe don’t tattoo your armpit), but the connection is a fun little fact nonetheless. 

    1. Become a naked mole rat

    If you can’t pull the trigger on an armpit tattoo, another method some people have tried is hair removal. Yes, like Steve Carrell (who actually has hyperhidrosis himself) in the hit movie 40-year Old Virgin, removing hair can help reduce sweat buildup for you too. Many likely already “naturally” lose hair thanks to some sweat prevention products, but more natural hair removal may just be the trick to solving excessive sweating

    1. Armpit art

    Even though we know most sweaty armpit causes, like too much caffeine or spicy foods, it’s no fun to cut these out completely. A more outrageous approach to excessive underarm sweating is actually turning sweating armpits into art. Multiple users of the Reddit community r/Hyperhidrosis have created shirts, sweatshirts, and other clothing that includes beautiful tie-dye in the armpits. Creative, fun, and beautiful, and even better when combined with sweat prevention like antiperspirant or carpe underarm

    1. Vinegar your armpit

    You may already know how to get rid of pit stains with vinegar, but there are other interesting ways it can help with excessive armpit sweating. Splashing vinegar on your sweaty underarms  is one method many recommend. Those that swear by this method also recommend using deodorant or antiperspirant, too. 

    While we don’t know how this was discovered, I like to think someone accidentally splashed vinegar on their pits hundreds of years ago and voila! Too bad the first person to splash his pits with vinegar didn’t also have access to the best antiperspirant for his excessive armpit sweating. 

    1. Baking soda your sweaty underarms

    If you find deodorant or antiperspirant irritating, one creative way to help alleviate your excessive underarm sweating is baking soda. Many crafty people with hyperhidrosis swear that not only can baking soda help reduce sweat, but it can also help alleviate pesky underarm smell with some of the best sweat prevention. 

    1. Restart the plaid fad

    Black t-shirt, black sweatshirt, black button down, black tank top. If this sounds like your closet, you’re clearly an expert on the hyperhidrosis wardrobe. But if you want some variety as you fight excessive armpit sweating, add some plaid, a trick many with hyperhidrosis use that you may not know. Hey, you just may be starting the resurgence of the plaid fad, and at worst, you’ll add some fun, lumberjack variety to your dark closet. 


    Sources: 

    [1] Luetkemeier, M. J., Hanisko, J. M., & Aho, K. M. (2017). Skin Tattoos Alter Sweat Rate and Na+ Concentration. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 49(7), 1432–1436. https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0000000000001244
    Body Areas Affected by Hyperhidrosis

    How to Cure Sweaty Hands Permanently at Home

    By Daniel McCarthy /

    How to Cure Sweaty Hands Permanently at Home 

    Scenario 1: You’re invited into the office, confident you will land the job. You’ve prepared, you’re highly qualified, you have absolutely nothing to worry about. You walk in and confidently reach out to shake the CEOs hand. But then, your confidence turns to dread as the CEO pulls her hand back, wet with your sweat. 

    Scenario 2: You’re at home, playing video games with your friends and absolutely dominating. They get so upset, they tell you to take a break to let another friend play. But there’s another problem... nobody wants to use your controller after you finish. Despite your domination, your palmar hyperhidrosis (excessively sweaty hands) has taken center stage. 

    Do these scenarios sound familiar? Wondering how to cure sweaty hands permanently? Although you may not have had these exact things happen to you, your sweaty hands likely have caused something similar and you’re looking for a home remedy. To stop sweating these situations, let’s talk about how to cure sweaty hands permanently at home. 

    One of the best ways to cure sweaty hands at home is actually not related to the hands at all. Instead, working on reducing anxiety can have immensely positive results on how to cure sweaty hands permanently naturally. There are many root causes of anxiety, and some or many may be related to your hyperhidrosis. Likewise, it is easier said than done to reduce anxiety. But there are also many ways to work on reducing anxiety that are worth a try. One interesting way to reduce anxiety, and in turn, sweaty hands, is to be grateful. Specifically, Petrocchi and Couyoumdjian found that “grateful people experience less anxiety mostly because they are able to encourage and be compassionate and reassuring toward themselves when things go wrong in life” [1]. Other ways include stepping outside for a walk, drinking tea, or even distracting yourself. In general, starting with anxiety reduction not only can help with how to cure sweaty hands, but also your wellbeing in general. 

    Another great way to cure sweaty hands at home permanently is to reduce consumption of coffee and alcohol. Now you may be reading this and thinking “Hey, those are all my favorite things! I’m done with this article!”. And while I wholeheartedly agree and enjoy coffee and alcohol myself, consumption in moderation is key, especially with hyperhidrosis. Caffeine, for example, activates part of the brain that is already a main part in causing hyperhidrosis symptoms. Instead of giving it up, try to reduce consumption to under 200 mg or add in decaf to your routine. Alcohol can affect hyperhidrosis in a similar manner, but like coffee, 1-2 glasses of alcohol may be okay. When figuring out how to cure sweaty hands permanently naturally, it is important to find a balance of coffee, alcohol, and managing your hyperhidrosis. And remember to always drink responsibly, in moderation. 

    Tackling how to cure sweaty hands permanently, naturally, and at home may require more than behavioral changes we’ve talked about so far. Luckily, there are other great remedies you can try at home! First, finding the right antiperspirant is of paramount importance, especially appropriate antiperspirant for hands. Another possible over the counter option is anti-sweat wipes. If neither of these work for you, another option to cure your sweaty hands permanently is to buy your very own iontophoresis machine for at-home use. This machine delivers mild electrical currents to your hands (or other affected body part) while submerged in water. A combination of these treatments may have your hands feeling less clammy in no time! 

    Ultimately, your palmar hyperhidrosis may not be treatable at home and permanently, but these recommendations may help alleviate some of your symptoms. If symptoms persist, consult a medical professional for further assistance with how to cure sweaty hands. 



    Sources

    Sources

    1. Nicola Petrocchi & Alessandro Couyoumdjian (2016) The impact of gratitude on depression and anxiety: the mediating role of criticizing, attacking, and reassuring the self, Self and Identity, 15:2, 191-205, DOI: 10.1080/15298868.2015.1095794

    Antiperspirant

    8 Random & Interesting Facts about Excessive Armpit Sweating

    By Daniel McCarthy /

    8 Random & Interesting Facts about Excessive Armpit Sweating

    Our worries about shirt stains, sweaty underarms, and smelly armpits may dominate how we think about excessive armpit sweating. Hey, we may even avoid thinking about these all together. But guess what? There are some random and interesting facts that just may change how you think about excessive underarm sweating! Let’s take a look: 

    Fact number 1: Sweat by itself ISN’T smelly

    Sweat is often associated with smelliness. But by itself, it doesn’t smell AT ALL. The reason sweat can smell (in places like your armpit) isn’t really about sweat. It’s about the sweat glands (and hair)! Apocrine glands are the biggest of sweat-producing glands and are usually located near hair. It’s this combo that leads to smelly armpits.

    Fact number 2: Excessive armpit sweating is as old as cavemen

    Hang with me here. Excessive underarm sweating is connected to the fight-or-flight response ingrained in even the most ancient of human predecessors. This excessive armpit sweating response has helped humans survive for millenia. And yep, it means our cavemen ancestors likely had sweating armpits, too. Even though they didn’t have to worry about shirt stains like us, we have the benefit of products like carpe underarm and antiperspirant in general to help with our excessive armpit sweating.  

    Fact number 3: Famous people worry about excessive armpit sweating too

    Michael Gary Scott, fearless and deliciously cringeworthy leader of Dunder Mifflin Scranton on the show The Office, is perfectly played by actor Steve Carell. Carell seemed to play the role with such ease, comfort, and confidence that nobody would ever know he was worried about excessive underarm sweating due to his hyperhidrosis. Co-star Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute on the show) even pointed out that the set temperature was a cool 64 degrees to keep Carell’s sweaty underarms from becoming the focus of the scene. 

    Even though Carell’s excessive armpit sweating wasn’t part of the show, I like to think Michael’s approach to sweat stains could be summed up by his famous line:  “I knew exactly what to do. But in a much more real sense, I had no idea what to do.” 

    Fact number 4: Other celebrities combat hyperhidrosis too

    Steve Carell is not the only notable person looking for the best sweat prevention. As a longtime vampire and real-life human with hyperhidrosis, Robert Pattinson is another actor who combats hyperhidrosis (and werewolves) on the regular. 

    Like Pattinson and Carell, Halle Berry also has hyperhidrosis. Famously, Berry confidently showed her sweat stains on the Ellen Show back in 2010. So when you’re feeling a little self-conscious about your own excessive underarm sweating, remember you too can confidently move through your day like Berry barring her pits for the world. 

    Fact number 5: Ventilation over here please!

    If you’re still worried about how to get rid of pit stains, some ventilation could provide a brief respite. Because we sometimes get pesky pit stains, it can feel like our excessive underarm sweating is due to our pits proclivity to produce the most amount of sweat. Yet, this annoying issue is more commonly attributed to a lack of ventilation, although sweaty armpit causes cannot be narrowed to one thing. Still, a little ventilation and clinical strength antiperspirant can go a long way in dealing with pesky pit stains and excessive armpit sweating. 

    Fact number 6: An underappreciated aspect of a non-meat diet

    Sometimes even the best antiperspirant and deodorant may not feel like enough to help with excessive armpit sweating and underarm smell. That’s okay though because there are other interesting ways to approach this issue. A 2006 study showed that women found mens’ armpit odor “more attractive, more pleasant, and less intense” when these men ate a non-meat diet [1]. If you haven’t already thought about eating less meat, the improved aroma of your pits (and the kitchen) may be another reason to eat a non-meat diet. 

    Fact number 7: Fashion matters

    Choosing clothes is a fashion statement for many. And while fashion may matter more to some than others, there’s one interesting reason we can all get behind to choose our clothes. Our clothing choices can help deal with excessive underarm sweating. That’s right, there are clothes, materials, styles, and pads that all can help with excessive armpit sweating as well as excessive sweating and shirt stains in general. 

    Fact number 8: You aren’t alone

    An estimated 2-3% of the US population suffers from axillary hyperhidrosis (excessive underarm sweating). Even though this percentage may seem small, 3% of the US population is right around 10 million people. That’s like all of NYC combating excessive armpit sweating at the same time. It can be easy to feel isolated in dealing with hyperhidrosis, but there’s some comfort in knowing many others are dealing with the same worries. 

    Sources

     

    1. Havlicek, J., & Lenochova, P. (2006). The Effect of Meat Consumption on Body Odor Attractiveness. Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/chemse/article/31/8/747/364338
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