woman with an STD experiencing night sweats

What STD Causes Night Sweats?

Written on August 12, 2023 by Gillian Singer, MPH, Sexuality Educator & Certified Sexologist. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

Table of contents

What Are Night Sweats?

According to the Mayo Clinic, night sweats are repeated episodes of very heavy sweating during sleep, heavy enough to soak your nightclothes or bedding. They're often caused by an underlying condition or illness.[1]

Sweating is completely normal and is a necessary bodily function that regulates body temperature.

Though night sweats can also be caused by sleeping with too many blankets or in a room that is too hot, these reasons are not considered “night sweats,” despite happening at night. Other practical reasons include eating spicy food before bed, consuming hot beverages before bed, hot weather, and exercising before bed.[1]

Common Causes of Night Sweats

Night sweats can be caused by any number of things including but not limited to medications, lifestyle choices, illnesses, or health conditions. Even stress can cause night sweats. Hyperhidrosis is a condition in which the body excessively sweats for no apparent reason.[2]

The most common cause of night sweats for people assigned female at birth (AFAB) is hormonal changes like the ones that occur during pregnancy, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), perimenopause, and menopause. The Cleveland Clinic explains that by changing hormone levels during perimenopause and menopause, it will likely cause your hypothalamus (the part of the brain that controls your body heat) to have trouble regulating your body temperature. Think of it as a glitch in your body’s internal thermostat. You may feel sudden warmth or a flush in your face, neck, and chest. In response, your body tries to cool itself by sweating too much.”[3]

Frequently Asked Questions About Night Sweats

Here are a few frequently asked questions about night sweats.

1. Which Medications Cause Night Sweats?

If you notice night sweats when you haven’t had them before, one thing to check is your medications. Have you started taking any new medications recently?

Medications that are known to cause night sweats and excessive sweating include, but are not limited to the following list [3,4]:

  1. Antidepressants (SSRIs like Lexapro®, Zoloft®, and Paxil®)
  2. Prednisone (like Rayos® and Intensol®)
  3. Triptans (migraine medications like Imitrex®, Maxalt®, and Frova®)
  4. NSAID pain relievers (like Advil® or Motrin®)
  5. Opioids (like morphine, Tramadol®, and oxycodone or methadone)
  6. Diabetes medications (like Diabeta®, Glynase®, or Glucotrol XL®)
  7. Asthma inhalers
  8. Proton pump inhibitors (like Prilosec® or Prevacid®)
  9. Viagra®
  10. Cancer treatments (particularly breast cancer or prostate cancer medications)
  11. Hormone therapy

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2. What Illnesses, Diseases, and Disorders Cause Night Sweats?

Many illnesses and disorders can cause night sweats. Consult the following list as outlined by The Mayo Clinic [1]:

  • Abscesses and cysts (infected)
  • Alcohol and substance use disorders
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Autoimmune
  • A variety of cancers and tumors
  • Autonomic neuropathy (nerve damage)
  • Brucellosis (bacterial infection)
  • Endocarditis (an infection of the inner lining of the heart)
  • Menopause
  • Myelofibrosis (a bone marrow disorder)
  • Osteomyelitis
  • Sleep disorders
  • Stroke
  • Takayasu's arteritis
  • Thyroid diseases
  • Tuberculosis
  • Valley fever (coccidioidomycosis)

3. What STD Causes Night Sweats?

Night sweats aren’t typically considered common or prominent side effects of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The only likely STD that may cause night sweats is human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Even then, “Night sweats on their own aren’t usually a symptom of HIV. In fact, it’s very rare for night sweats to be the only symptom a person with HIV will have.”[5] If your night sweats were a sign of HIV, you would likely have an accompanying fever, chills, joint pain, diarrhea, sudden unintentional weight loss, and/or swollen lymph nodes.[5] Night sweats may occur when an HIV infection has progressed to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).[5]

Know When to Seek Medical Assistance

Night sweats often are no cause for concern. However, you are recommended to seek medical attention if you develop night sweats that happen frequently, disturb your sleep, or are accompanied by other symptoms. Night sweats that occur with a high fever, cough, or unexplained weight loss may be a sign of a serious medical condition.[6]

Managing Night Sweats

A few lifestyle changes may help you manage night sweats. Consider the following [6]:

  • Limit alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, and drug intake
  • Avoid spicy food
  • Sleep in a cool environment or cooling mattress and pillow

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  1. Night sweats. Mayo Clinic. March 5, 2022. Accessed August 7, 2023. https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/night-sweats/basics/causes/sym-20050768.
  2. Night sweats. American Osteopathic Association. November 18, 2021. Accessed August 7, 2023. https://osteopathic.org/what-is-osteopathic-medicine/night-sweats/.
  3. Night sweats: Menopause, other causes & treatment. Cleveland Clinic. Accessed August 7, 2023. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/16562-night-sweats .
  4. These 11 drugs can cause excessive sweating. GoodRx. Accessed August 7, 2023. https://www.goodrx.com/drugs/side-effects/medications-cause-excessive-sweating-side-effect.
  5. Srakocic S. When can HIV cause night sweats? Healthline. April 16, 2021. Accessed August 7, 2023. https://www.healthline.com/health/hiv/night-sweats-hiv.
  6. Raypole C. What’s causing your night sweats and when to be concerned. Healthline. February 14, 2023. Accessed August 7, 2023. https://www.healthline.com/health/when-to-be-concerned-about-night-sweats.
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