Sometimes we’re faced with weird conditions, and we’re never quite sure why or how they occur. Take cold sweats, for example. Cold sweats can occur due to mental stress or physical factors. In this article, we will try to get to the bottom of cold sweats: cold sweats causes, cold sweats symptoms, and how to treat them.
By the end of this article, we hope all the mysteries will be dispelled, and you will know everything you ever needed to about the causes and treatments of cold sweats.
Cold Sweats Causes:
Cold sweats happen when you break out in a sweat without physical exertion or exposure to excessive heat or temperatures. It’s an odd situation, but it does occur. And as it happens, cold sweats causes are fairly varied because there are both physical and mental reasons behind it.
Hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating that is not required to regulate the body’s temperature. Cold sweats are obviously a part of this condition. Sleep hyperhidrosis refers to sweating that occurs while sleeping.
Not to be confused with the “shock” of witnessing or being involved in a traumatic event, this type of shock involves your blood pressure dropping so low that there is not enough oxygenated blood to keep the body going. One of the early signs of shock is cold sweats that seemingly come out of nowhere.
3. Allergic reaction:
Having a severe or anaphylaxis reaction can cause cold sweats.
4. Stress and anxiety:
In addition to the physical causes of cold sweats, stress and anxiety can occasionally become severe enough that they manifest themselves in physical ways like cold sweats and vomiting. A panic attack is a good example of a high-stress situation that may cause cold sweats.
5. Kidney stones
Kidney stones are a buildup of minerals that form into small “stones” that become lodged in the urinary tract. One of the symptoms of kidney stones is cold sweats.
Similar to the shock that we previously mentioned, syncope is essentially fainting caused by low blood pressure. One of the warning signs of syncope is cold sweats that begin without warning.
7. Toxic shock syndrome
One of the nastier sources of cold sweats is toxic shock syndrome. Toxic shock syndrome is usually caused by Staphylococcus aureus or group A streptococcus bacteria. One of the signs of toxic shock syndrome is cold sweats.
Not surprisingly, a fever can often cause cold sweats, especially cold sweats while sleeping.
During the end of a woman’s fertility period, menopause can cause a woman’s body to change in many ways. Hot flashes and cold sweats are often common during this time period.
A number of diseases and infections like pneumonia, tuberculosis, and kidney infections can cause the body to go into cold sweats.
11. Stomach virus
Many stomach bugs that cause large amounts of vomiting or diarrhea can give you fever-like symptoms including cold sweats.
As you can see, the causes of cold sweats are incredibly varied and range from mental to physical. Now that you know some of the causes, you may be curious about what actually constitutes a cold sweat. Luckily, we have some answers.
Symptoms of Cold Sweats
The symptoms of cold sweats and what makes them different from your average sweating are pretty easy to understand. Cold sweats are sweats generated for reasons unrelated to intense physical activity or temperatures.
Symptoms that often accompany cold sweats include:
- Dizziness or light-headedness
- Fear or anxiety
- Shortness of breath
- Pale skin
Cold sweat can happen at any moment— even at night when you are asleep. As you can see from our previous section, cold sweats have many factors; they are just not the usual ones.
Cold Sweats at Night
Cold sweats at night or night sweats may be caused by any of the conditions we listed above. It could be stress, an infection, or kidney stones. The slight twist is that most night sweats occur while you are sleeping, so you don’t know that you are having them. As such, there isn’t a guarantee that temperature isn’t to blame and your body is just looking for a way to regulate it.
Keeping all of that in mind, there are a few steps that you can take to try and prevent night sweats—or at least figure out whether it’s regular sweating at night or night sweats.
- Cotton sheets and pajamas. Cotton is very breathable, there’s a reason why you see people in very warm climates wearing long cotton shirts. It’s because they allow air to circulate and the body to breathe.
- Make sure your bedroom is cool and well-ventilated. This can keep your body cool while you sleep.
- Try to relax. One of the cold sweats causes is stress and anxiety. Do your best to eliminate those before you go to sleep. Read a book, meditate, listen to soothing sounds—whatever it is that works for you in terms of stress relief and relaxation.
Treating Cold Sweats
If you are suffering from cold sweats, there are ways of dealing with them. Keep in mind that, often, cold sweats are not the main issue but a symptom of a larger problem. If you are getting cold sweats on a regular basis, it’s best that you see a doctor to get a full diagnosis. While some causes of cold sweats like an allergic reaction or fever may be relatively minor, other issues like toxic shock syndrome are very bad and should be diagnosed and treated right away.
For cold sweats that aren’t the result of a bigger medical issue, there are a few ways you may be able to stop them or at least curtail their effects. As we mentioned, if your cold sweats are stress-based, the best way to deal with them is to be less stressed. Find something that relaxes you, and start working with that to relieve your stress. That may be easier said than done, but trying is a good start.
Cold Sweats Are Worth Looking Into
Throughout this article, we’ve mentioned that the main thing that differentiates cold sweats from regular sweats is that there is no apparent reason for them. Apparent is the operative word here as there could be a number of unseen reasons why you are having these cold sweats, whether they are cold sweats at night or during the day. If you get these often, make sure to see a doctor. In the meantime, you’ve got a few tools for how to stop cold sweats as best you can.
Brouhard, R., “Causes and Treatments of Cold Sweats.” Very Well, February 26, 2017, https://www.verywell.com/causes-and-treatment-of-cold-sweats-1298949, last accessed March 17, 2017.
“Cold Sweat – Causes,” Health Grades, https://www.healthgrades.com/right-care/infections-and-contagious-diseases/cold-sweat–causes, last accessed March 17, 2017.