Sweating is a very natural phenomenon and it is the body’s mechanism to regulate its temperature. Unfortunately for many, sweating leads to rashes and many other embarrassing conditions. Heat rash or miliaria is one of the most common side effects of excess sweating which arises due to clogged or plugged sweat glands. These keep the sweat trapped underneath the skin’s surface, causing a prickly heat rash that is quite painful and itchy. Heat rashes sometimes tend to increase at night, especially during the hot, humid months. Many babies are also known to suffer from severely itchy heat rashes which worsen at night.
In this guide, we will study the causes and treatment for nighttime sweat rash.
Causes of nighttime sweat and heat rashes
No matter how cool their bedroom is, some people simply cannot prevent night time sweating. Their perspiration often soaks into their bedding and pillows causing intense discomfort. Many a sufferer is disturbed from the sleep due to this condition.There are various causes of nighttime sweating:
- In women, excessive estrogen levels, particularly before or during menopause can lead to night sweats.
- In men too, hormones or certain infections can lead to excess sweating.
- In babies, wrapping or bundling up too tight in warm clothing can cause sweating in the winter months.
- Sleep apnea, diabetes and hypoglycemia are some other conditions that can cause excess sweating.
- Certain drugs like anti depressants can also cause intense nighttime sweating.
- Several diseases (like HIV or AIDS as well as lymphoma) could also cause sweating at night as the conditions progress.
If, due to some reasons such as bacterial infections, the sweat glands are clogged then the sweat remains trapped in the upper layers of the skin. The result: an uncomfortable rash that is itchy and inflamed. Many sufferers unknowingly scratch this heat rash in their sleep which in turn could lead to secondary, harder-to-treat skin infections.
How to prevent nighttime sweat rashes?
The best way to prevent nighttime sweat rashes is to treat the underlying condition.
- In women, hormone replacement therapy can prevent menopausal hot flushes and subsequent rashes. Certain drugs like gabapentin and clonidine could also be used to treat excess sweating which resulting from hormonal changes.
- It is important to remain cool during night. You could use a gentle fan or even the air conditioner to regulate body temperature. You could sleep in the coolest part of your home or open the window to let in some air.
- Prevent swaddling the baby up too tightly in night clothes. If the diaper is giving rise to heat rash, use a cloth nappy or let the baby go without wearing one. You could use waterproof bedding instead.
- Avoid sleeping too close to your partner. Remove bedding, linen and blankets that may be causing excess sweating.
- Avoid drinking caffeine or alcoholic beverages before sleeping. Smoking is also another factor that could lead to sweating and rashes and must be avoided especially just before bedtime.
- Avoid exercising before sleeping.
- Avoid eating overly spicy foods before bedtime. This is very essential to prevent nighttime heat rashes and sweating.
Treating heat rashes
There are many home care remedies to prevent and treat existing heat rashes caused at night.
- You could take a bath in warm water or soak in a tub to which some colloidal oatmeal or baking soda has been added. Gently pat yourself dry after bathing and liberally sprinkle some soothing anti-prickly heat powder all over the rash.
- In case of itchiness, apply some hydrocortisone cream which is available over the counter.
- Drink plenty of sugar free beverages, especially water and green tea etc, to keep cool and prevent dehydration.
- In case of pain, take an analgesic such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen.
- Babies with severe heat rashes that continue to spread must be seen by a doctor.
Heat rashes can easily get infected or turn into yeast/fungal/bacterial conditions. To avoid nighttime heat rashes, do follow these precautions mentioned above regain good nighttime’s rest.