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What are night sweats from alcohol use?

Night sweats from drinking alcohol are common. They are caused by the alcohol affecting your nervous system after it's broken down by enzymes in your liver. Alcohol initially opens your blood vessels wider than normal (vasodilation).

However, higher levels of alcohol in your body can cause your blood vessels to tighten (vasoconstriction) which can increase your blood pressure and heart rate. This reaction causes the blood to move closer to the skin, increasing your body temperature. And this can lead to excessive sweating, sometimes called hyperhidrosis. Alcohol also increases urination which makes your body lose water along with sweating and can lead to dehydration.

Common symptoms of night sweats:

  • increased heart rate or rapid heartbeat
  • ​clammy skin
  • sweaty skin
  • flushed face or skin
  • thirst
  • dehydration
  • difficulty sleeping
  • headache

Other causes of night sweats:

Alcohol withdrawal or alcohol addiction may also lead to night sweats. People who drink regularly and in excess, but then abstain, often experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms and night sweats. Treatment is often called ‘alcohol detox’.

If you or a loved one are experiencing night sweats due to alcohol abuse or sudden withdrawal, there are people to assist you and get you the help you need. Delirium tremens is a serious type of alcohol withdrawal which can occur 2-5 days after your last drink. This can cause serious health problems and may require hospitalization.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms due to alcohol addiction

  • body tremors
  • changes in mental function
  • irritability
  • confusion, disorientation
  • decreased attention span
  • deep sleep lasting for a day or longer
  • delirium
  • excitement
  • fear
  • hallucinations
  • increased activity
  • quick mood changes
  • sensitivity to light, sound, or touch
  • sleepiness
  • fatigue
  • seizures

Alcohol withdrawal can lead to serious health conditions and if untreated can lead to life-threatening conditions. If you believe you have an addiction to alcohol, contact a health care provider for support and treatment options. There are also helplines and other assistance professionals you can contact.

Alcohol intolerance or an allergy to alcohol

Night sweats can also occur in someone with an alcohol intolerance. Symptoms include:

  • facial redness
  • hives
  • worsening of preexisting asthma
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • low blood pressure
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea

Other medical conditions which cause night sweats:

  • ​Menopause or hot flashes
  • Low blood sugar
  • general fever due to virus or illness
  • Many different medications including antidepressants, corticosteroids, and blood pressure medications, to name a few.
  • ​hormone therapy
  • ​substance abuse or substance use
  • Cancer
  • Chronic endocrine problems including diabetes, obesity, thyroid disorders
  • Pregnancy or postpartum state

Diagnosis for night sweats:

You don't necessarily need to go to your doctor for a diagnosis for night sweats. You should be able to tell when you experience them.

However, if you do experience recurrent night sweats (that are not caused by your sleeping environment/temperature) and you haven't consumed any alcohol, then you might have an underlying medical condition. This could be a serious condition so it’s recommended you see your doctor if you experience frequent night sweats.

If you consume alcohol frequently and believe you are having night sweats, then this could be a sign of alcohol withdrawal or addiction and you should talk to a medical professional for help.

Treatment for night sweats:

The best treatment for avoiding night sweats from alcohol consumption is to not consume alcohol. If you do drink alcohol, then keep your number of drinks low. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. This can also help decrease the effects of night sweats.


FAQ's

How long do alcohol night sweats last?

There is no set amount of time that night sweats can last. It all depends on your body and how it reacts to the alcohol. Night sweats from withdrawals can begin anywhere from eight to 72 hours after the last drink, and last for several days after that.

Can alcohol cause night sweats?

Yes. Alcohol can be the cause of night sweats. Alcohol affects your nervous system, causing a fluctuation in blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature. Night sweats could be a result of alcohol withdrawal, or alcohol intolerance.

Is sweating a sign of alcoholism?

Not necessarily. Sweating could be caused by several factors like an intolerance to alcohol, an illness, an infection, or other medical conditions like menopause, or a hormonal imbalance.

What is the most common cause of night sweats?

Night sweats are most normally caused by infection, alcohol use, or hormonal fluctuations.

When should I be worried about night sweats?

Having night sweats occasionally is usually nothing to be worried about, but you should talk to your doctor if you have night sweats frequently. If you have other symptoms along with night sweats like chills, pain, fever, or sudden noticeable weight loss then talk to your doctor as this may require further evaluation.

Does sweating help get alcohol out of your system?

No. Sweating does not get rid of alcohol from your body any quicker than normal. Alcohol is broken down by your liver into smaller byproducts, which are then expelled from your kidneys into your urine. Sweating is a result of the effects of alcohol on your body, but sweating does not ‘get rid’ of the alcohol from your body any quicker.

Are night sweats the same as hot flashes?

Hot flashes are a result of menopause or hormonal changes. Night sweats can be the result of hot flashes, but they are not the same thing. Many people with hot flashes also feel symptoms throughout the day.

Do night sweats mean fever?

Night sweats do not necessarily mean fever. However, fevers can cause the body to sweat in order to cool down. Thus, if you are feeling ill, you can check your temperature to see if your sweating is related to a fever.. Night sweats could be caused by many factors like: alcoholism, hormone imbalance, other serious medical conditions, and menopause. Check your temperature to see if you actually have a fever (>100.4℉ or 38.0℃) or just symptoms of night sweats.

Can hormone imbalance cause night sweats?

Fluctuating hormones like estrogen can lead to night sweats due to hot flashes. Too much serotonin can cause night sweats as well. You should contact your doctor if you have persistent night sweats along with other symptoms. Your symptoms will be reviewed, along with your medications to help determine the cause.

Can antidepressants cause night sweats?

Yes. Antidepressants can lead to a person having night sweats. 22% of people that take antidepressants report night sweats as a side effect. Talk to your doctor about possible treatments for your side effects from antidepressant usage.

The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek the advice of a doctor with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never delay seeking or disregard professional medical advice because of something you have read here.