It's Getting Hot in Here

You are not alone: An estimated 85 percent of women experience hot flashes as they approach menopause [source: ScienceDaily].

What else could be making me sweat?

Prostate cancer drugs aren't the only prescriptions that can leave your sheets damp the next morning. Plenty of other prescription drugs can raise your heart rate and cause the blood vessels in the skin to dilate, which can result in heavy sweating.

Several types of medications have been reported to cause night sweats, but antipyretics, or fever-reducing drugs, are the most common. When experiencing flu symptoms, many people take aspirin or acetaminophen (commonly marketed as Tylenol), but although these medications are often effective in reducing fever, they can also cause night sweats. Other medications that can cause sweating at night include antidepressants [source: American Academy of Family Physicians].

Infectious diseases, like tuberculosis and AIDS, are also known to cause night sweats. A persistent fever, which is often accompanied by nighttime perspiration, is often common among people who have tested positive for HIV. Hodgkin's disease, a type of lymphoma, is another infectious disease that often causes a low-grade fever and night sweats in patients.

Drinking alcohol at night is the culprit for some people. Although a glass of wine before bed might help you get to sleep, studies have shown that alcohol-induced sleep is less restful, and that you're more prone to headaches and night sweats if you drink before going to sleep. Alcohol dependence and alcohol withdrawal are also common causes[source: American Academy of Family Physicians].

Another possible factor that could cause nighttime sweating is spicy food. Although it might not give you immediate discomfort while eating it, it takes the body several hours to digest a meal, and during that time. spicy foods like chilies and cayenne pepper can raise the temperature of your skin. Doctors have also identified caffeine as something that can exacerbate sweating for people who already sweat excessively [source: Emedicine].

Some people also have a condition called hyperhidrosis, which causes frequent and excessive sweating both during the day and at night. Only 2 to 3 percent of Americans (more among Asian populations) have hyperhidrosis, but it can cause those select few a great deal of discomfort and embarrassment. If you have ruled out all other possible causes of night sweats, you might be experiencing hyperhidrosis, and you should schedule an appointment with your doctor to talk about it [source: Mayo Clinic].