When you research night sweats in men, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the wide range of possible causes. Today I hope to help you isolate and identify the possible causes of night sweats in men over 50 that may be affecting you. Keep in mind, this isn’t meant to collect all possible causes of excessive perspiration or sweating at night. Instead, I’m hoping to give you a more focused and useful understanding of night sweats as they occur in middle-aged men and older men.
Andropause and Low Testosterone
While some debate remains about the existence of such a thing as andropause, more and more research appears to be supporting the phenomenon. This is the most important condition to consider if you are specifically researching night sweats in men over 50.
Andropause, often referred to casually as male menopause, involves the reduced production of testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone by the male body. Unlike menopause, however, andropause doesn’t necessarily involve the cessation of reproductive function. In menopause, cessation of the reproductive function of the ovaries occurs. Men are often reproductively capable well past their experience of the phenomenon described as andropause. This is why there is still debate regarding the use of the term andropause as it is not completely analogous with menopause.
Yet because men often experience a significant decrease in testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone, they may experience several consequences during this period of aging:
- Loss of Libido
- Night Sweats
One of the distinct characteristics of andropause and low testosterone in general is the counter-intuitive combination of fatigue and insomnia. Even though you feel tired and weary all day, you still struggle to fall asleep when you finally get to go to bed at the end of the day.
As you might guess from the title Night Sweats In Men Over 50, the most common symptoms of andropause are excessive perspiration and night sweating. Hormonal fluctuations — especially hormone drops — tend to confuse your hypothalamus, which is the part of your brain that acts as your body’s thermostat. So a drop in hormones can cause your hypothalamus to misread normal body signals, creating sudden and sharp rising and falling body temperatures.
The broadest age range during which the andropause state may occur is from 35 to 65, though most men will experience andropause between the ages of 45 to 55. Additionally, men with diabetes have a much greater chance of suffering from low testosterone.
Men who experience low testosterone at ages younger than this will often be diagnosed with an andropause disorder rather than an andropause state (see night sweats in men under 30 for more on that matter).
Just as it has become common for women to treat menopausal symptoms with hormone replacement therapy, some doctors are beginning to treat low testosterone and andropause with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Intermittent Night Sweats In Men
Often night sweats only occur occasionally. These tend to be due to less concerning triggers. Less serious but common triggers include the following relatively benign causes of night sweats in men:
Sleep Environment and Bedsheets
Humans prefer a cool sleeping environment with a little bit of movement in the air. Most people don’t realize this and thus it isn’t difficult to find yourself in a room that is uncomfortably warm with still air. Often this can be addressed by simply creating a light cross-draft, cracking a window or reducing the temperature on the thermostat.
Along the same lines, using sheets and blankets made with heavy synthetic fabric may cause you to over-heat while you sleep. Try using light cotton or linen sheets, or sheets specifically designed to help with night sweats. The same could be said about your sleepwear or pajamas. Read more at night sweats sleepwear.
OTC Medications With Antipyretic Properties
Antipyretics are drugs or herbs that reduce your core temperature (a fever reducer, for example). These common over-the-counter medications include acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil), and aspirin (Bayer). This is a normal function of these medications and night sweating occurs as a result of hypothalamus doing what it can to help your body cool.
High fat foods and spicy foods may increase perspiration, so eating too many of these types of foods, especially eating these foods within a few hours of bedtime, may trigger sweating. Also, eating high glycemic foods may cause your blood sugar to spike, triggering hypoglycemia, which in turn often causes sweating while sleeping.
When Medications Cause Night Sweats
A common side-effect of both OTC and prescription medications is excessive sweating. The most common types of prescription drugs to cause night sweats in men over 50 include:
- Antipyretics (Celebrex, for example)
- Anxiety (Anxiolytic medications: Xanax, for example)
- Erectile dysfunction (Cialis or Viagra)
- Nitrates (most commonly for chest pain)
If your antidepressant is causing you to experience this uncomfortable symptom, first stick with your doctor’s prescribed regiment for more than a week, as many of the side-effects will subside over time. If they don’t subside, discuss the matter with your doctor as you may need to adjust your dosage.
When medications for diabetes cause this symptom, it is often not the drug itself but rather the hypoglycemia triggered by a combination of medication and diet. You may need to discuss an adjustment to the dose or the timing of your dosage, or you may need to make adjustments to what you eat and when you eat around your medication dosage and when you go to bed. Learn more with my article on night sweats and diabetes.
Other Common Causes of Night Sweats In Men Over 50
Beyond andropause and simple environmental variables, these are the most common causes of night sweats as they occur in middle-aged and older gentlemen:
- Alcoholism (read about the night sweats and alcohol)
- Excess or erratic cortisol production
- Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
- Idiopathic Hyperhidrosis (see Sleep Hyperhidrosis)
- Neurological Disorders (sometimes as a result of head or spine injuries)
- Stress (read more about night sweats and stress)
While these are the most common causes of night sweats in men over the age of 50, you might still review both my night sweats in men guide and the post on what causes night sweats for more possibilities.
Serious Causes of Night Sweats In Men Over 50
In most cases, the causes of sweating at night are not serious. However, if this condition persists or if it is sudden and severe, you may need to consider the possibility of a more serious underlying condition. Here are the serious causes of night sweats. Please discuss these matters with your doctor and don’t rely on the Internet to diagnose or treat yourself.
- Cancer – especially Lymphoma and Leukemia
- Heart Conditions – High Cholesterol, Heart Disease or Endocarditis
Because conditions like cancer, type II diabetes and heart conditions are more common as we grow older, these causes of night sweats in men become more likely when you are over 50.
Sweating At Night Treatments
If you are seeking ways to address your night sweating, I recommend you consider the following treatment and therapy resources on my site:
I hope you find a reasonable way to address your problem somewhere among these night sweats treatment resources. If you know of any highly effective night sweats treatments I haven’t included, please let me know with my contact form.
I sincerely hope this guide helped you isolate, identify and treat night sweats in men over 50, whether you’re trying to help someone you love or find relief for yourself.