In normal conditions, sweat is produced by our body when it is exposed to a high temperature. It is a natural mechanism to regulate the body temperature. Here, excess of sweat production stops as soon as the temperature of the surroundings returns to normal. Some people tend to get cold night sweats while sleeping even if their bedroom is not too warm. In this condition, they wake up in the middle of the night due to profuse sweating that soaks their clothes and bedding.
There are some people who have a tendency of sweating too much all the time. Medically, it is known as idiopathic hyperhidrosis. The exact cause behind this kind of excessive sweating is not clearly known. However, it is considered that the sweat glands are not obeying the signals sent out by the brain. This can happen due to a brain injury or an abnormal response of the immune system due to some infections such as tuberculosis, endocarditis (or inflammation of the heart valves) or osteomyelitis (or inflammation of the bones).
People with various underlying health problems like anemia, diabetes, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, hypothyroidism, etc., may get cold sweats while sleeping. It is also associated with some serious diseases like HIV infection and a type of cancer called lymphoma. Alcohol abuse and side effects of some medicines are other factors that can induce cold sweats at night. Cold night sweats in men could be a side effect of intake of sildenafil drugs. People suffering from sleep disorders like sleep apnea, get cold sweating which is often accompanied by interruptions in breathing. In some people, it is a hereditary problem and it run in their families.
Cold night sweats in women can be caused by hormonal changes. This kind of hormonal imbalance is quite common during pregnancy, soon after childbirth, and due to menopause. Cold night sweats in children occur mostly as a result of anxiety sweating. If they are suffering from fever, then they may get this symptom after taking medicines to bring down the body temperature.
First of all, a thorough diagnosis is needed to ascertain the cold sweat causes. Doctors have a detailed discussion with their patient about their medical history, about medicines they have taken in the recent past, and of course, their lifestyle. If any medical condition is identified, then treatment is carried out to cure that specific condition which in turn can reduce these symptoms. For controlling the side effects of some medicines, doctors either change them or stop them altogether.
There are several oral medications available for the treatment of idiopathic hyperhidrosis. Anticholinergic medicines are the most popular among them as they show very effective results in combating sweating. Beta blockers are often used to treat people with anxiety sweating. However, the drawback of these medicines is that they cannot be used for a long time due to various side effects associated with them.
Administering botox injections is another treatment option available for this problem. When injected into a particular area of the body, the medicine block the local nerve and stop sweat production. However, it is a temporary blockage and the injections need to be administered after regular interval of time. In those cases, where hyperhidrosis symptoms are very serious, doctors may opt for surgical options where the sweat producing nerves are made ineffective by the means of surgery.
Along with these treatments, patients are often advised to bring some changes in their lifestyle to reduce cold night sweats. The sleeping environment should be kept cool. A cold shower before bed is also highly beneficial for this purpose. Light nightclothes made of natural fabrics has to be used so that sweat does not get trapped in them. Alcohol and spicy foods should be avoided, particularly at dinner.