Why Do Lymphoma Night Sweats Occur?

Along with fever and unexplained weight loss, one of the primary 'B' symptoms associated with lymphoma are the so-called lymphoma night sweats. Lymphoma night sweats are defined as drenching sweats that require the individual to change bed clothes at least once throughout the night.

The medical term for night sweats is sleep hyperhidrosis.

What are 'B' Symptoms?

A 'B symptom' is a general symptom that, when combined with other symptoms, often preceeds the diagnosis of lymphoma.

Primary B symptoms include the following, and in order to be considered B symptoms, they generally must persist for at least six months:

  • Unexplained low-grade fevers
  • Drenching lymphoma night sweats
  • Unexplained weight loss totalling at least 10% of prior body weight

The absence of these symptoms does not indicate the absence of a lymphoma; quite often, lymphoma develops and the patient is asymptommatic (this term, Asymptommatic, is considered the contrary of the term 'B symptoms'; either a person is asymptommatic, or they have B symptoms).

Lymphoma Night Sweats Explained

Unfortunately there is no clear cut answer for this. While a number of reasonable hypotheses abound, a distinct cause-and-effect has not been established.

Do night sweats automatically mean lymphoma?

Absolutely not.

Like other symptoms associated with lymphoma, night sweats are considered general symptoms, meaning that they could be indicating a host of other conditions besides lymphoma. In fact, the list of disorders associated with night sweats—ranging from benign to malignant—is too extensive to include here. In short, night sweats can be an indication of many, many different things—including the possibility that a person is simply sleeping under too many blankets.

A diagnosing physician would look for more than just night sweats if he or she suspected a patient was suffering from lymphoma.

Furthermore, many drugs on the market include night sweats as a potential side effect. These include Aricept, Fortovase, Hivid, Roferon, Zenapax and Oncaspar.

Photo: Pexels

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