Even though night sweats in men are not discussed as often as the hot flashes or menopause night sweats women experience, they may be just as common and just as frustrating for the men enduring them. I’m not compromising the seriousness or difficulty of menopause; however we see relatively little discussion about night sweats in men, their causes and effective remedies for them.
The night sweats men experience can be caused by several of the same things that cause night sweats in women, yet just as women uniquely experience menopausal hot flashes, men can experience their own hormonal causes of male night sweats.
Table of Contents:
- Night Sweats In Men or Andropause Night Sweats
- Andropause Symptoms
- What Causes Night Sweats In Men?
- Male Night Sweats at Different Ages
- Treatments for Night Sweats In Men
I should distinguish true night sweats and sleep disorders related to night sweats in men from simple environmental heat and natural fluctuations in body temperature experienced by many. Forty percent of all doctor visits involve a complaint about night sweating, yet a much smaller percentage of these visits actually involve a real clinical case of sleep hyperhidrosis or idiopathic hyperhidrosis. It will help you in your treatment to know if you’re suffering true night sweating or if you’re just suffering environmental discomfort because your bedroom is too hot for sound sleep.
There are a number of reasons why the night sweats men experience are difficult to pinpoint, some of them universal and some specific to men. With this article I will address those specific night sweats in males, so for other causes that may trigger night sweats in anyone, please visit my website’s front page: Night Sweats.
The first cause we’ll discuss is andropause. Yes, andropause, sometimes referred to as male menopause. It does exist. Well, at least more and more research compels people to think so. Just as women experience a reduction in their production of certain hormones during menopause, many feel that men experience a reduction in testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone during an andropause phase. The kind of nite sweats men experience is often associated with this phenomenon.
You will find some controversy in the medical community about the overall nature and condition of andropause and its relation to the night sweats men experience. Some simply consider it a “state” or phase, while others consider it a potential “disorder.” If you experience many of these symptoms in your middle or early manhood and you’re cleared of any other medical conditions that may cause them, you may be diagnosed with an andropause disorder. However if you experience this as an older man, it may simply be diagnosed as a state or phase.
Although, because men can continue to reproduce well into their old age, some researchers feel this is a false diagnosis or label for this disorder. Put simply, there really isn’t a cut and dry answer for what andropause means just yet.
Common symptoms of andropause (whether defined as a state or disorder) are as follows:
- Excessive perspiration
- Hot flashes
- Impaired memory
- Lack of concentration
- Loss of libido
Of course, you may not experience all these symptoms (let’s hope not, right?), but let’s focus on the hot flashes and excessive perspiration symptoms since they relate directly to the topic at hand. It is important to understand that these result from hormonal changes in your body and those hormonal changes affect your hypothalamus — your body’s thermostat. And while more drastic and permanent hormonal changes occur during andropause, it isn’t uncommon for men to experience an ebb and flow of hormones (specifically the testosterone or the estrogen hormone) throughout their life, causing occasional cold sweats or cold night sweats.
An embarrassing for some, but real example involves a common occurrence for most healthy men. It isn’t uncommon for a man to experience random erections while asleep. This is a result of hormonal rushes in the body. These same hormonal rushes can cause night sweats in men. Often it isn’t unhealthy or unnatural, but if the sweating becomes more severe and more consistent each night, then you should discuss this with your primary care physician or check with a medical professional.
While this article is mostly about night sweats in men, I must also note that some serious health conditions can be indicated by night sweats or hot flashes in men, including:
- Arthritis, especially rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
- Diabetes (Type I or Type II) or Hypoglycemia (in this case sometimes referred to as Nocturnal Hypoglycemia. Learn more at: Night Sweats and Diabetes
- Heart conditions along with high cholesterol
- HIV or AIDS
- Infections of any sort along with infectious diseases
- Inflammation, in particular that resulting from endocartitis (infection of the heart valve lining) and osteomyelitis (a bone or bone marrow infection)
- Malignancy or cancer, specifically lymphoma. Cancer can cause a sudden rise or fall of body temperatures, which often leads to sweating. The body temperature changes cancer causes tend to be pretty distinct and severe, but always check with your doctor if you’re concerned.
- Silent Neoplasm
- Thyroiditis or Hyperthyroidism
If you experience other symptoms with the sweating or a sudden change in your pattern of sweating while sleeping that involves more severe or more frequent excessive sweating, consider consulting a physician. It may be nothing to be concerned about, but of course it is better safe than sorry and any such signs or complications should be addressed by a professional. I always encourage people to seek appropriate treatment for night sweats, but you must also treat the underlying cause or condition. Early diagnosis and treatment can help you avoid further problems.
Keep in mind that sometimes factors outside of any medical condition or disease can cause severe night sweats in men. These could include:
- A lifestyle with poor diet, irregular sleeping patterns or too much stress.
- Alcohol Withdrawal
- Any psychological states or conditions that trigger the autonomic nervous system or cortisone, such as anxiety or fear.
- Consuming or experiencing anything that causes flushing, including alcohol, niacin or caffeine.
- Obesity or rapid weight gain
- Over-the-counter medications, specifically antipyretic medications such as acetaminophen.
- Poor diet or eating foods like spicy foods, excess heavy and fatty foods or food allergies.
- Side-effects from prescription drugs.
This list shouldn’t be considered all inclusive. I suggest reviewing the home page and reviewing my guides to night sweats in men at different ages (see below).
While andropause symptoms may manifest in men of any age, more medical professionals lean towards andropause itself being a phenomenon unique to men between the ages of about 40 and 55. But what if you’re a younger man and you still feel like your sweating at night is unusual and excessive? In attempt to answer this question and more, I’ve started series on how and why this condition occurs in men of different ages. I will add to the following list as these individual guides are completed:
Please return later if you’re interested and your age group hasn’t been covered yet.
Male night sweats treatments are as nebulous as the causes. If you are suffering from this condition, I suggest you first isolate whether it is something persistent or just the result of diet or a bad habit (like drinking alcohol or caffeine too close to bed time or smoking). If it is something persistent, you might discuss the matter with your doctor. In lieu of a specific medical diagnosis, I encourage you to read my detailed post: Night Sweats Treatment.
I also suggest you address the matter with poise and common sense. Sometimes simple and natural solutions like changing the environment in the bedroom to be less warm can make a world of a difference. Wicking pajamas or lighter sleepwear, light breathable materials for your sheets and better temperature control in your home may be all you need to combat this uncomfortable condition (see my night sweats sleepwear article for specific suggestions). If you can prevent your male night sweats or find relief without resorting to expensive medicines or doctor’s visits — great! But don’t be afraid to seek appropriate health care, either. Always ask a doctor instead of the Internet when it doubt.
As you can see, it is possible some men can empathize for a woman’s battle with menopause night sweats. Male night sweats may be less discussed and less understood, but they still exist and they still serve to make for long and sleepless nights, even if night sweats in men are often the result of normal hormonal changes.
I hope this helps you better understand night sweats in men. I encourage you return to my site often as I roll out more and more detailed information to round out your understanding of night sweats in general as well as night sweating in men.
Browse related posts in the HFNS Site Index.