Well known for their effects on older women, night sweats in men are not an unusual problem. There are a number of non life-threatening conditions that can cause or contribute to night sweats, as well as a few conditions that may require a doctor's attention. The most common causes are listed here.
Sleeping in a room that is too warm, wearing too many layers, or sleeping under too many blankets can all trigger night sweats. Try removing some of the covers or your clothing, lowering the thermostat, and sleeping with the windows open and/or the fan running.
Stress is one of the most common causes of night sweats in men. Among other things, stress causes elevated levels of adrenaline and an elevated heart rate, both of which warm up the body to prepare it for “fight or flight.” Stress can also stimulate the nerve endings that talk to the sweat glands, increasing sweat production. Stress is hard on the entire body. Try de-stressing with exercise, relaxing music, or talking out your troubles with a loved one about an hour before bed.
Foods known to cause night sweats include garlic, red meat, spicy foods, and alcohol. They're especially likely to be the culprit if consumed within an hour of bedtime. Foods can trigger night sweats by themselves and can also trigger acid reflux, which can cause night sweats. Moderate your intake of any food you suspect of causing your symptoms, especially if you have acid reflux, and avoid them entirely before bedtime.
As most men know, the body goes through several hormonal cycles a night. The same ebb and flow of hormones, including testosterone, that can cause random night-time erections can also cause night sweats.
In men over age 50, decreasing testosterone levels can also cause night sweats. This condition is known as andropause, and it occurs in about 5 percent of men. Unlike menopause for women, andropause happens gradually over the course of many years. Hormone replacement therapy may be useful in combating night sweats associated with andropause.
Anti-depressants, acetaminophen (Tylenol), Viagra, and nitroglycerin are well-known triggers of night sweats in men. These medications can react with a man's body chemistry to trigger a rapid change in body temperature, causing night sweats. Some of these medications can be avoided or limited before bedtime, but others cannot. If the night sweats persist or are bothersome, talk to your doctor about changing your medication.
Night sweats are a symptom of a number of medical conditions, including hypoglycemia, cancer, tuberculosis, and infections. The most common form of cancer that triggers night sweats is lymphoma; however, the night sweats are almost always accompanied by other symptoms. A type of heart-related infection known as endocarditis can also trigger night sweats. If addressing your environment, stress levels, diet, and medications hasn't alleviated night sweating, consider asking your doctor about testing for additional medical conditions. Be sure to mention to your doctor any other symptoms you may be having in addition to the night sweats, as well as all medications you are taking.