Common Causes of Night Sweats

Common Causes of Night Sweats

Night sweats are a common complaint in doctor’s offices. Some of the causes are simple and easily treated and others are serious and difficult to treat. In some cases, people experience night sweats simply because they use too many blankets at night. When a medical condition is the cause of night sweats it is important to obtain a quick and accurate diagnosis for the best possible prognosis. I experience night sweats, but the underlying cause is currently unknown.

Common Causes of Night Sweats: Infections

Certain infections can cause night sweats. These infections include endocarditis, osteomyelitis and HIV. Endocarditis is a condition in which the heart valves are inflamed. Osteomyelitis is an infection-related inflammation that occurs within bones. HIV is the infection that causes the AIDS virus.

Common Causes of Night Sweats: Cancer

Certain types of cancer can cause night sweats. The cancer that most often causes night sweats is lymphoma. This includes non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Those who are suffering from an undiagnosed cancer will often experience other symptoms as well including fatigue, fever and unexplained weight loss. Lymphoma is a cancer that affects the lymph nodes.

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Common Causes of Night Sweats: Medications

Certain medications can cause night sweats. Antidepressants are the most common medication to cause night sweats. Other medications that can also often cause night sweats include acetaminophen and aspirin. Other medications that may cause night sweats include Viagra, Niacin, Nitroglycerine, Hydralazine and Nolvadex. Steroids such as Prednisolone, Prednisone and Cortisone may cause this symptom as well.

Common Causes of Night Sweats: Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis can cause night sweats. Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection that most often occurs in the lungs. It is highly contagious and can cause death if not treated promptly.

Common Causes of Night Sweats: Menopause

Menopause can cause night sweats. This is a common symptom experienced by perimenopausal women. Night sweats occur in those experiencing menopause due to hot flashes that occur as night.

Common Causes of Night Sweats: Hormone Disorders

Certain hormone disorders can cause night sweats. These disorders include hyperthyroidism, carcinoid syndrome and pheochromocytoma. Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which a person’s thyroid is overactive. Carcinoid syndrome is a condition in which tumors develop from hormone producing cells called enterochomaffins. These tumors can occur in most organs, but are found most often in the liver, small intestine, bile ducts, appendix, testes, colon, ovaries, rectum, pancreas and bronchi. Pheochromocytoma is a tumor that occurs on the adrenal glands.

These are just some of the common causes of night sweats. Other medical conditions may cause night sweats.


3 thoughts on “Common Causes of Night Sweats”

  1. ewalli frenton

    Carcinoid is a strange class of tumor that can behave in a variety of ways, and it depends to some extent on where it originates.

    Carcinoid tumors most commonly originate in one of two places, in the gastrointestinal tract (often near the appendix) or in the lung. Other sites are possible but these are the most common. Carcinoid tumors can secrete chemicals that tend to affect the performance of blood vessels. This problem, termed "carcinoid syndrome" is a result of a neurotransmitter/hormone called seratonin which is released in sufficient quantity that it stimulates receptors in the muscular walls of blood vessels. Carcinoid syndrome manifests as diarrhea and "flushing", i.e., redness of the upper chest, arms and face.

    Since the liver does a great job of deactivating seratonin which comes in the blood stream from the gastrointestinal tract, presence of the carcinoid syndrome typically indicates that either the tumor burden and the seratonin secretion from the GI tract is too high for the liver to deactivate, or the tumor has spread to the liver and is releasing its seratonin downstream into the systemic blood flow.

    Once carcinoid or carcinoid syndrome has overcome the liver, there is probably a significant amount of disease. Surgical management may be to control symptoms even though the plan for controlling the disease will still be predominantly medical. Other methods for controlling carcinoid syndrome include specific anti-seratonin medications (cyproheptadine) and anti-hormone medications (somatostatin).

    When metastatic lesions are found in the liver associated with gastrointestinal cancer, the current thinking is that these can be resected (removed) irrespective of number, as long as a reasonable plan for removing the diseased liver segments can be performed while preserving enough liver tissue that the needs will be met by left. for us, the liver tends to regrow!

    Sometimes, in planning a liver resection for metastatic disease, the first step in the operation is to more closely evaluate the liver itself. Once past the abdominal wall, an ultrasound probe can be applied to the surface of the liver, and tiny spots of abnormal tissue may be found. If so, these should be biopsied. There is probably no benefit to attempting a curative operation knowing that small cancer lesions in the liver are about to regrow. However, it is also possible that the removal of a single large lesion of carcinoid tumor can be used as of an effective measure to relieve carcinoid syndrome, even if there are remaining micro-focuses of disease which can be supressed medically. These decisions would have to be discussed between surgeon and patient.

    As to the question of laparoscopy…

    Laparoscopic surgery is essentially no different than open surgery. The same principles apply. Laparoscopic technique involves making small incisions and working through them with thin instruments and a videoscope, but once in place, the same operations should be performed. The benefit to making small incisions is that patients recover more quickly, and some evidence suggests that the lower stress on the system may help reduce the risk of stress-related physiologic changes which predispose to surgical complications such as infection.

    The number of surgeons willing to approach a hepatic metastectomy for carcinoid, laparoscopially, is probably pretty small. If you are working with such a surgeon on this problem, you are probably working with an academic and a leader in the field. This surgeon could probably answer your specific questions far more accurately than I! Please consider asking them.

  2. atsumikiah

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