Doctors typically associate hypothyroidism with decreased sweating and feeling cold. Sometimes, however, people with hypothyroidism experience sweating. This may be because thyroid hormones help regulate body temperature, so a lack of them causes instability.
However, there are other, more likely explanations for these symptoms.
For example, a medication for hypothyroidism called levothyroxine can also cause sweating as a side effect if someone is taking more than they need. Other factors, such as menopause, can also cause sweating and may occur alongside hypothyroidism.
This article looks at the link between hypothyroidism, sweating, and night sweats. It also explores how people can live more comfortably when experiencing sweating episodes.
Although doctors associate hypothyroidism with feeling cold and hyperthyroidism with feeling hot, it is possible that having low levels of thyroid hormone may cause general difficulty regulating body temperature. This may mean that some people with hypothyroidism experience sweating. However, there is little scientific evidence to support this.
Another explanation is that a person is taking too much levothyroxine. Levothyroxine replaces the thyroid hormones a person’s body is not producing enough of. Taking more of this drug than someone needs may result in:
Hypothyroidism may cause night sweats, though doctors do not typically associate the two. There may be other explanations for this symptom. For example, levothyroxine — which is a medication for hypothyroidism — may cause a person to feel too hot in general, including at night.
Thyroid hormone levels also influence the levels of other hormones in the body and vice versa. This is especially relevant for females, who are five to eight times more likely to have hypothyroidism than males.
Most females enter the first stage of menopause in their
Hypothyroidism and menopause share some similar symptoms, and each condition may aggravate the other. This may mean that some people with hypothyroidism experience both thyroid- and menopause-related symptoms at the same time.
Estrogen affects how much triiodothyronine and thyroxine the thyroid makes, and during menopause, the thyroid may struggle to meet the body’s needs. A
Hypothyroidism symptoms can differ among individuals. However, some
- weight gain
- dry skin
- dry, thinning hair
- voice changes
- muscle pain
- joint pain
- a slowed heart rate
- an inability to tolerate cold
- heavy or irregular periods
- fertility problems
People who experience regular sweating and night sweats should discuss their symptoms with a doctor. They may require testing for thyroid disease. Or, if they already have a diagnosis, they may require changes to their medication dosage.
To reduce the discomfort of sweating, it may help to:
- Sleep in a cool bedroom: Turning the thermostat down and using less or lighter bedding can help reduce heat around the body as someone sleeps. Try to use bedding made from breathable, natural fabrics, such as cotton.
- Choose breathable clothing: Choose lightweight, loose clothing made with natural fibers wherever possible. This can help keep the body cool and wick away moisture. Wearing light layers can give someone the option to take clothing off or put it back on again as their body temperature changes.
- Reduce sweat triggers: Spicy foods, cigarettes, and alcohol may worsen night sweats, so avoiding these may reduce this symptom.
- Use a cooling pillow or ice pack: Some pillows have a gel filling that stays cool during the night. Alternatively, a person can keep a cool pack under the pillow. Flipping the pillow to the cool side during the night can help a person cool down when they have night sweats.
If taking levothyroxine and making lifestyle changes do not help with sweating, it may be that something else is causing this symptom. Some other explanations include the following.
Hot flashes and night sweats are common features of perimenopause, which is the first stage of menopause. Doctors refer to these symptoms as vasomotor symptoms.
Research indicates that during menopause, over
Many medications can cause night sweats. For example, up to 22% of people who take antidepressants report that they experience night sweats.
Other medications that may have this effect include:
- hormone therapy drugs
- medications that decrease blood sugar
If someone is taking a medication that can cause sweating, a doctor may recommend alternatives. Do not change the dosage or stop taking a medication without first speaking with a medical professional.
However, people can also experience heavy sweating due to having low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia. Additionally, a
- excessive alcohol consumption
- autoimmune conditions
- gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Parkinson’s disease and other neurological conditions
- cancer, such as pheochromocytoma, leukemia, and lymphoma
If someone experiences night sweats regularly, they should speak with a doctor. If they already have a hypothyroidism diagnosis, the doctor may recommend altering their medication dosage or testing for other potential causes.
If someone does not have a hypothyroidism diagnosis, contacting a doctor will allow them to perform tests to confirm or rule out the condition.
Hypothyroidism is a condition wherein the thyroid does not make enough thyroid hormone. Although doctors more commonly associate sweating with hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid, it is possible that low amounts of thyroid hormone may trigger sweating in some individuals with hypothyroidism.
However, there are many other factors that can cause sweating. Menopause, medication side effects, diabetes, and other conditions may be involved. For this reason, a person who experiences sweating during the day or night with no obvious cause should speak with a doctor.