For those of us who have no experience of hyperhidrosis and its darker cousin, sleep hyperhidrosis (night sweats), abnormal sweating is merely a physiological reaction to anxiety or being in a state of panic.
Several novels also detail out one's disturbed state of mind (mostly because of their dreams) resulting in the protagonist waking up in a cold sweat.
And this is all because of Walter Cannon's fight or flight response theory that has been watered down to common knowledge over the last century or so, since it first came out in 1929.
However, there are several people who profusely sweat at night or day, and most doctors attribute these to specific ailments or reasons of which the perception of a threat (inducing the fight or flight response) or just being anxious is not necessarily at the top of the list.
Perhaps the most harmless reasons for this occur can be due to an overheated environment or if the patient wears too many bedclothes, and this is normal and is similar to the time if you wear clothes that do not help your cause, especially if you have to cope with summer heat.
Sleep Hyperhidrosis and its Causes
On the other hand, for those who have to deal with excessive sweating, wearing too many clothes in the summer heat is a real irritation and with the bad body odor this can turn out to be a real embarrassment. However, most people with night sweats do not necessarily suffer from hyperhidrosis during the day.
Sweating at night that drenches sleepwear and bedsheets can be clearly classified as sleep hyperhidrosis, and can be attributed to specific medical reasons other than just anxiety and panic attacks.
So, here are some of the causes of sleep hyperhidrosis:
1. Menopause, in the case of women, of course… that is accompanied by hot flashes.
2. Idiopathic hyperhidrosis – excessive sweating for no reason at all.
3. Bacterial Infections such as Endocarditis, Osteomylelitis, Brucellosis and abscesses as well. Tuberculosis is another big infection that can cause excessive sweating.
4. Cancers – This is an early symptom of most cancers, and most commonly occurs in Hodgkin's and Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma along with unexplained weight loss and fevers.
5. Diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Hyperthyroidism, Leukemia, Myelofibrosis,
Pheochromocytoma, Stroke and Syringomyelia also have excessive sweating at night as one of their symptoms.
6. Medication such as antidepressants, psychiatric drugs, antipyrectics, hypoglycemic agents and hormone therapy are also reasons for night sweats.
Remedies for Night Sweats
For those with mild sweating episodes, wearing lighter bedclothes and using fewer blankets can go a long way to reduce discomfort. Or what's really 'cool' (pun intended) is sleeping in the nude. However, for those afflicted with chronic night sweating, there are quite a few remedies that are available. And so here is a list of them:
1) Soy Products
2) Flaxseed Oil – help balance estrogenic levels in the body.
3) Herbal Teas – Using the flavors of sage, red clover and black cohosh in herbal tea, this can work as an excellent remedy.
4) Evening Primrose- Available in both oil and capsule form, this is compound of gamma-linoleic acid that works as a good remedy as well.
As irritating as this disorder sounds, one can find a solution for this problem by trying these remedies. After all, who wants to wake in a puddle of their own sweat everyday.