Night sweats are fairly common occurrences. This is especially true for women. Hormone fluxes are part of a woman’s life. They happen each month during menstruation and they increase as you get older. Many factors cause night sweats and for most women, the occasional bout is not a problem. However, night sweats with other symptoms, such as unexplained weight loss, may indicate illness. Night sweats with unexplained weight loss may be a flag that you have a health problem and need to see a doctor.
Medically, night sweats are common and do not necessarily point to a health problem. Women may see an increase in night sweats as they age. The hormone changes with menopause are may be one reason night sweats occur. MayoClinic.com lists night sweats as a symptom of perimenopause, the time before cessation of fertility and menstruation. Other possible causes of night sweating include climate, nightmares or sleep apnea. On average, occasional night sweats are medically insignificant. However, when the sweats occur with other symptoms, such as weight loss, you need medical evaluation.
When you start losing weight for no apparent reason, this may be a symptom of illness. To purposely lose weight, you must burn more calories than you eat. Unexplained weight loss occurs without a diet plan or increase in exercise. Age may be a factor for women, but menopause can produce a slowing down of metabolism and weight gain. When unexplained weight comes at the same time as night sweats, this can indicate illness. Unexplained weight is medically significant and requires evaluation.
Symptoms of illness are not always straightforward. If you are experiencing night sweats, assess the frequency, any sleep interruptions and your overall health. If you wake up with a fever, flu-like discomfort or are achy, the sweats may suggest you are getting sick. The common cold or influenza may trigger sweats. If you experience night sweating, a loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss, bloating and pain that does not go away over several weeks, consult a doctor to help determine the cause.
Start a journal to track potential triggers for night sweating and weight loss. Take note of the temperature in the bedroom. Play with the environment settings to determine if changing the temperature eliminates the sweating. Monitor food and activity levels that may affect weight changes. Things to consider include appetite, activity level and food selections. Take the log with you to the doctor. This will help him examine lifestyle factors that may contribute to night sweats and weight loss.
Night sweats and unintentional weight loss are something that requires investigation. Illness may cause these seeming unrelated symptoms to appear. A tumor, tuberculosis, cancer and infection are just a few problems that can result in sweating and weight loss. The key to treatment of many diseases, such cardiac insufficiency or diabetes, is early detection. These two symptoms together might indicate a problem requires treatment.