Hypothyroidism, sweating and night sweats

Hypothyroidism, sweating and night sweats

Doctors usually associate hypothyroidism with decreased sweating and feeling cold. Sometimes, however, people with hypothyroidism sweat. 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 drug for hypothyroidism called levothyroxine can also cause sweating as a side effect if someone takes more than they need. Other factors, such as menopause, can also cause sweating and can occur alongside hypothyroidism.

This article examines the link between hypothyroidism, sweating and night sweats. It also explores how people can live more comfortably when experiencing episodes of sweating.

Although doctors associate hypothyroidism with feeling cold and hyperthyroidism with feeling hot, it’s possible that low thyroid hormone levels can lead to general difficulty regulating body temperature. This can mean that some people with hypothyroidism sweat. However, there is little scientific evidence to support this.

Another explanation is that a person takes too much levothyroxine. Levothyroxine replaces thyroid hormones that a person’s body does not produce enough of. Taking more of this medicine than a person needs may result in:

  • sweat
  • headache
  • a racing heartbeat
  • anxiety or restlessness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • chest pain
  • nausea or vomiting
  • diarrhea

Hypothyroidism can cause night sweats, although doctors don’t usually associate the two. There may be other explanations for this symptom. For example, levothyroxine – which is a drug for hypothyroidism – can cause a person to feel overheated in general, including at night.

Thyroid hormone levels also influence the levels of other hormones in the body and vice versa. This is particularly relevant for women, who are five to eight times more likely to suffer from hypothyroidism than men.

Most women enter the first stage of menopause in their mid to late 40s. At this time, estrogen and progesterone levels begin to decline. This can cause symptoms, with hot flashes and night sweats among the most common. Doctors believe that estrogen levels can also affect thyroid function.

Hypothyroidism and menopause share similar symptoms, and each condition may aggravate the other. This can mean that some people with hypothyroidism experience both thyroid and menopause-related symptoms.

Estrogen affects the amount of triiodothyronine and thyroxine produced by the thyroid, and during menopause the thyroid may struggle to meet the body’s needs. A 2011 study noted that estrogen has a direct effect on human thyroid cells.

One earlier 2007 study examined women with hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism and severe menopausal symptoms. Researchers found that treating thyroid dysfunction significantly improved their menopausal symptoms, including night sweats.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism can differ from person to person. However, some common symptoms include:

  • tired
  • weight gain
  • dry skin
  • dry and thinning hair
  • voice changes
  • muscle pain
  • articular pain
  • a slow heartbeat
  • depression
  • oversight
  • constipation
  • an inability to tolerate cold
  • heavy or irregular periods
  • fertility issues

People who sweat regularly and sweat at night should discuss their symptoms with a doctor. They may require testing for thyroid disease. Or, if they already have a diagnosis, they may need to change their medication dosage.

To reduce the discomfort of sweating, it can help for:

  • Sleep in a cool room: Turning down the thermostat and using less bedding or lighter bedding can help reduce heat around the body while someone is sleeping. Try to use bedding made from breathable natural fabrics, such as cotton.
  • Choose breathable clothing: Whenever possible, choose lightweight, loose-fitting clothing made from natural fibers. This can help keep the body cool and wick away moisture. Wearing light layers can give someone the flexibility to take their clothes off or put them back on when their body temperature changes.
  • Reduce sweat triggers: Spicy foods, cigarettes, and alcohol can make night sweats worse, so avoiding them can reduce this symptom.
  • Use a cooling pillow or an ice pack: Some pillows have a gel filling that stays cool overnight. Alternatively, a person can keep a cool bag under the pillow. Flipping the pillow to the cool side at night can help a person cool down when they have night sweats.

If taking levothyroxine and lifestyle changes don’t help with the sweating, something else may be 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 call these symptoms vasomotor symptoms.

Research indicates that during menopause, more 80% of women have hot flashes. These usually cause a sudden feeling of heat, sweating, flushing, anxiety, and chills. It may last 1-5 minutes before disappearing.


Many medications can cause night sweats. For example, up to 22% of people taking antidepressants report having night sweats.

Other drugs that may have this effect include:

  • antipsychotics
  • hormone therapy drugs
  • drugs that lower blood sugar
  • aspirin
  • acetaminophen
  • steroids

If someone is taking a drug that can cause sweating, a doctor can recommend alternatives. Do not change the dosage or stop taking any medicine without first talking to a healthcare professional.


Diabetes can disturb the body’s natural ability to balance its internal temperature. Often this results in less sweating than is healthy, putting people at increased risk for heat-related conditions such as heatstroke.

However, people can also sweat profusely due to low blood sugar or hypoglycemia. Additionally, a known complication Diabetes is a condition called gustatory sweating. This causes profuse sweating during or immediately after meals.

Other causes

Some other causes Sweating or night sweats include:

If someone regularly has night sweats, they should speak with a doctor. If they already have a diagnosis of hypothyroidism, the doctor may recommend changing the dosage of their medications or testing for other potential causes.

If someone does not have a diagnosis of hypothyroidism, contacting a doctor will allow them to perform tests to confirm or rule out the condition.

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid does not produce enough thyroid hormones. Although doctors more often associate sweating with hyperthyroidism or an overactive thyroid, it is possible that low amounts of thyroid hormone trigger sweating in some people 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 sweats during the day or night without an obvious cause should see a doctor.