The sleep condition known as Sleep Hyperhidrosis is more commonly called night sweats. The medical definition is excessive sweating during sleep. There is no correlation between night sweats and excessive sweating during waking hours. Some people with sleep hyperhidrosis do not sweat excessively during their waking hours while some do. Sleep hyperhidrosis is also sometimes referred to as nocturnal hyperhidrosis.
Primary Hyperhidrosis Vs Secondary Hyperhidrosis
There are two types of hyperhidrosis, primary hyperhidrosis and secondary hyperhidrosis. These two types of have distinct differences and they require different treatments.
The most notable difference is that primary hyperhidrosis is a medical condition that causes excessive sweating while the person is awake, whereas secondary hyperhidrosis is usually symptomatic of another condition or a lifestyle choice and it is the one known to cause night sweats. Lifestyle changes, appropriate night sweats treatment or treatment of the underlying condition will often cure the secondary night sweats.
Primary Hyperhidrosis – An Overview
Primary hyperhidrosis, also known as Idiopathic hyperhidrosis, is a chronic condition where the body simply produces too much sweat. Medical science has not discovered the cause of this excessive sweating, but it is now considered a serious medical condition. While it isn’t a dangerous condition it can have strong psychological impacts and impact daily functioning. It can cause social anxiety, which can impair a person’s ability to engage in daily activities such as work, school, family and social affairs. Many people don’t seek treatment because they are embarrassed or they don’t realize they have a medical condition that has treatment options to reduce sweating.
Primary hyperhidrosis typically causes excessive sweating of the armpits, palms of the hand or soles of the feet and occasionally it can cause excessive facial sweating. With this condition the excessive sweating occurs during the day or when the person is awake. This condition typically occurs by or before adolescence and it is often inherited.
Fortunately there are treatment options to manage the excessive sweating caused by primary or idiopathic hyperhidrosis. Treatment options include a strong or prescription anti-perspirant, medication, iontophoresis (therapy using a low electrical current) or botulinum toxin (Botox) injections to block nerve endings.
If these options don’t work there are a few surgical options involving minimally invasive surgery — either endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy or endoscopic transthoracic sympathotomy — to stop the signal triggering the body to sweat excessively. Another surgical option is the surgical removal of the specific sweat glands responsible for the condition.
Keep in mind all of these treatment options have side effects and should be thoroughly discussed with a physician. One of the side effects of hyperhidrosis surgery is compensatory sweating, which causes the sweating to occur in different areas of the body including the low back or abdomen; although the compensatory sweating is usually much less severe.
Causes of Secondary Sleep Hyperhidrosis
Here are some other common causes of sleep hyperhidrosis:
- Anxiety or stress
- Certain medications or substance abuse
- Diabetes – Read more at: Night Sweats And Diabetes
- Exercising at night
- Heart Disease
- Illness or infection causing a fever
- Lesions on the hypothalamus
- Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome
- Spinal cord injuries
Diet and lifestyle can also cause sleep hyperhidrosis. The night sweats alcohol causes can be quite uncomfortable but relatively simple to resolve while the night sweats stress causes may require a more fundamental shift in one’s outlook and a different method of treatment.
Varying Degrees Of Severity
The degree of severity of secondary sleep hyperhidrosis will vary from person to person. In mild cases, the person just needs to change the pillow case and keep a glass of cool water on the nightstand. Some people need to get up and wash themselves, then change their sleepwear as well as their bedsheets. If the night sweats get to the point where the sleep loss interferes with daily functions, a visit to the doctor’s office is recommended. Discovery and treatment of the underlying disease or injury is the only way to cure secondary night sweats.
Diagnosing The Condition
Many primary care physicians will attempt to diagnosis severe sleep hyperhidrosis with a polysomnography. This is a visit to a sleep laboratory. The patient will sleep overnight at the laboratory. Several monitors will be attached to the patient to record brain functions, breathing, heartbeat and blood pressure while asleep. The procedures are very safe; they just sound a little scary. The lab results will help doctors narrow the possible causes of the night sweats until the cause is diagnosed and a plan of treatment started.
Less severe cases or cases that are accompanied by specific symptoms may be diagnosed with other types of tests or visits to a specialist. The testing and diagnosis will depend on factors including but not limited to family history, physical condition, age and other symptoms.
Sleep Hyperhidrosis Treatment
Effective treatment for sleep hyperhidrosis will vary depending on the underlying cause of the night sweats. If a medical condition is the cause of night sweats treating the condition should help provide relief. If medications or your lifestyle are causing the night sweating changing medications or making appropriate lifestyle changes should provide relief.
For comprehensive guides on treating your sleep hyperhidrosis, I encourage you to read my guides on this site:
- Night Sweats Relief, which emphasizes inexpensive and simple natural remedies.
- Night Sweats Treatment, which provides a more comprehensive and aggressive guide to treating sleep hyperhidrosis.
- Night Sweats Bedding, which specifically addresses the best bedding to use while persevering your condition.
- Night Sweats Sleepwear, which provides a guide to different types of wicking pajamas for both men and women.
- Cooling Mattress Pad, which discusses the different types of cooling mattress pads available as well as a few other innovative devices you can use at night to stay cool.
I sincerely hope this helps you better understand sleep hyperhidrosis and feel more prepared to take useful steps towards a better night’s rest.