12 Night Sweat Causes

The chances of you getting this in the United States are exceedingly rare (there were only 115 cases reported in the United States in 2010, according to the CDC’s most recent numbers). But if you’re a traveler, it’s worth knowing that high-risk areas include places like Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, South and Central America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean Basin (Portugal, Spain, Southern France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, and North Africa). Huge swaths of the world, essentially.

If you were to get this illness, doctors would treat it with at least six weeks of antibiotics to clear the bacteria from your system, along with any necessary measures to target your symptoms in the meantime.


According to the CDC’s most recent figures, 1,018,356 Americans have been diagnosed with HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus. HIV is a virus spread through bodily fluids (blood, semen and pre-seminal fluid, vaginal and rectal fluids, and breast milk) that attacks a person’s immune system by damaging their T cells (also called CD4) cells, which are integral in fighting infection, the CDC explains. When left untreated, it can develop into AIDS—acquired immunodeficiency syndrome—which makes you incredibly vulnerable to what experts call “opportunistic infections” like tuberculosis and pneumonia that can lead to death.

A month or two after contracting the virus, people with HIV might experience flu-like symptoms for a few weeks, like a fever, rash, muscle and joint aches, headache, sore throat, and swollen lymph glands, the Mayo Clinic says. And, due to that fever, people with HIV “may routinely experience profuse night sweats,” internal medicine doctor Nesochi Okeke-Igbokwe, M.D., tells SELF. People with AIDS may experience a recurring fever along with night sweats, chronic diarrhea, persistent fatigue, unintended weight loss, and more.

The medical world has made some stunning advancements in reducing the power of these two illnesses, HIV especially. If a person with HIV starts treatment (antiretroviral therapy, or ART) before it’s advanced, they can live almost as long as a person without HIV, the CDC says. There are also preventive drugs, like PrEP, which is a mix of two HIV medications that you can take if you’re HIV-negative but at risk of HIV infection because of factors like having unprotected sex or having a partner with HIV. Here’s more information on how to decide if PrEP might be right for you.

11. Certain autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis

Notice a pattern with tuberculosis, brucellosis, and HIV/AIDS? They’re all bacterial or viral infections that can lead to a fever, and thus, be one of the underlying night sweat causes. It makes sense that anything that can make your temperature spike with a fever can also lead to night sweats. That includes causes beyond infections, like rheumatoid arthritis.

This condition happens when your body’s immune system mistakenly goes to battle with your synovium, the lining of the membranes that encase your joints, according to the Mayo Clinic. As such, you may be most familiar with the joint-related symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, like having achy, swollen joints that are stiff, especially in the mornings or not moving in a while. But, thanks to that inflammation, the condition can also cause issues like a fever that lead to night sweats.

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, your doctor can recommend the best medicine to help soothe pain and inflammation, along with slowing the progression of the illness, the Mayo Clinic says. They can also weigh in on whether or not physical therapy (to keep your joints as limber as possible) or surgery (to repair damaged joints and reduce pain) make sense for you.

12. Pheochromocytoma

This mouthful of a condition essentially means you have a super rare, usually benign tumor on one of your two adrenal glands (or, in some cases, both), the Mayo Clinic explains. Your adrenal glands release different hormones that keep your body functioning as it should, like cortisol and adrenaline, among others.

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