Mesothelioma patients sometimes complain about night sweats. It can be one of the symptoms that brings them to the doctors. Night sweats can be a harmless, annoying, situation, or a symptom of a serious health issue.
Night sweats are defined as drenching sweats that require the patient to change bedclothes. Doctors refer to true night sweats as severe hot flashes occurring at night that are not related to an overheated environment. Night sweats have various known causes.
Some of the conditions responsible for night sweats include:
- Cancer. Night sweats can be an early symptom of some cancers especially lymphoma. When it is cancer, night sweats are not usually the only symptom, other symptoms could be fever and unexplained weight loss.
- Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. Patients taking insulin or oral anti-diabetic medications may experience nighttime hypoglycemia accompanied by sweating.
- Idiopathic hyperhidrosis. A condition characterized by excessive sweat production with no obvious medical explanation.
- Infections. Tuberculosis is the infection most notoriously associated with night sweats. Bacterial infections, such as endocarditis, (inflammation of the heart valves), osteomyelitis, (inflammation within the bone), and abscesses located in the appendix and tonsils, and HIV infection are other potential causes for night sweats.
- Medications. Antidepressants are one type of medication that can lead to night sweats.
- Menopause and peri-menopause. A very common cause of night sweats in women. Also caused by hormonal changes that occur in adolescence and pregnancy.
If you go to a doctor with night sweats as a concern, there are numerous questions you will be asked. In addition, you will more than likely undergo blood work. Along with blood work, your doctor may order a chest x-ray and a thyroid stimulating hormone test.
Evaluating and determining the cause for night sweats can be difficult, to say the least. If the first round of tests come back negative, your doctor may consider CT scans of your chest and abdomen, and possibly a bone marrow biopsy.