Causes of Cold Sweats and Ways to Stop Them

Health / Life

                                                                                                 Perspiring man due to heat / Photo by Getty Images


Cold sweats refer to the sudden sweating that is brought by heat or exertion. It is a sign of significant stress, which may be psychological, physical, or a combination of two. This is the body’s natural fight or flight response, but it could also be a symptom of an injury or illness that should be recognized as soon as possible.


Symptoms of Cold Sweat

Cold sweats usually occur along with other symptoms. These symptoms vary depending on the underlying medical conditions and the causes. The common symptoms of cold sweat include stress or anxiety, achiness or pain, chills, dizziness, weakness, pale skin, vomiting or nausea.

At times, cold sweats could be a sign of a serious medical condition. One needs immediate medical attention if symptoms include:

-Change in mental status or behavior, such as hallucinations, confusion, lethargy, or delirium
-Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, or wheezing
-Pressure, pain, or tightness in jaw, chest, shoulder, upper back, or arm
-Bluish or grey discoloration of skin, nails, or lips
-Heart palpitations
-Tightness in the throat
-Swelling of tongue, mouth, or face
-Bloody stool, vomiting blood or bleeding from the rectum
-High fever or over 101 degrees F fever


                                                                                                 Woman vomiting in the toilet bowl / Photo by Getty Images


Why are you Having a Cold Sweat?

The most common prompts for cold sweats are stress and anxiety. Whether that be social anxiety, panic attacks, or generalized anxiety. When a person experiences an overwhelming level of anxiety, it may be necessary to visit a specialist.

But apart from anxiety and stress, why are you having a cold sweat? It may also be caused by shock and pain, often after being exposed to injuries or pain. It can also be a sign of an low blood pressure, increased heart rate, blood being diverted into major organs. Cold sweats may also be a warning sign of a heart attack, lack of oxygen, low blood glucose, and changes in the hormone level associated with perimenopause and menopause.


                                                                                                 Stress young student in the library / Photo by Getty Images

What it Means to Have Cold Sweat While Sleeping

Normally, our body produces sweat in order to help us keep cool. It normally occurs with exertion, like in high temperatures or when exercising. Yet, sweating could also be triggered by anxiety or fear. Experiencing cold sweat when sleeping may be the body’s reaction to stress during sleep. For instance, the person is having a nightmare or experiences prolonged anxiety problems or stress that leads to cold sweat while sleeping. Cold sweats during the night are also a typical menopausal symptom.

It may also be due to a severe injury that is causing the pain, heart attack, shock, shortness of breath, or that there is low sugar in the bloodstream.


                                                                                                  Man having a heart attack while driving / Photo by Getty Images


The Cold Sweat Complications

Cold sweats may be a symptom of a heart attack. It is necessary to seek medical attention if these cold sweat complications manifest: pain or discomfort in the chest that feels like bloating, squeezing, or pulling, difficulty breathing, and lightheadedness or dizziness. A discomfort may also be felt in the stomach, back, jaw, or neck.


                                                                                                 Man suffering from neck pain / Photo by Getty Images

How to Avoid Having a Cold Sweat?

A cold sweat is usually not a cause for a serious concern although it may be an indication of an underlying medical condition. To help minimize the number of episodes or to avoid experiencing it, eating a well-balanced diet, including vegetables, fruits, fiber, and dairy are recommended. It is also advised to avoid hot drinks or spicy foods before bed. Exercise regularly and make sure that bedroom is cool.


                                                                                                 Woman eating healthy salad / Photo by Getty Images

What Cold Sweat Treatment to Adopt?

The treatment to adopt should depend on the cause why one is having cold sweats. The general cold sweat treatment methods involve partaking in some relaxation techniques, managing stress, and making changes in the sleeping environment, such as removing lights, lowering the temperature, and wearing loose-fitting clothes. 

The treatment may also involve avoiding consuming foods before bedtime that may trigger the nighttime sweats. During cold sweats episodes, keep busy as a way to reduce the stress. Exercise regularly and make sure to keep the body hydrated.


                                                                                                 Woman doing indoor exercise / Photo by Getty Images