Night sweats may be a symptom of GERD, but can also be a sign of other medical conditions. If GERD is the cause, treating it may help to stop night sweats.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is persistent acid reflux, which may lead to complications without treatment.

Night sweats is the term for excessive sweating at night, which drenches clothing and bedding in sweat.

This article looks at the possible link between GERD and night sweats, how to manage both conditions, and when to contact a doctor.

A female lying in bed Share on Pinterest
Photographer, Basak Gurbuz Derman/Getty Images

According to a 2020 case report, there is little evidence to suggest GERD is a cause of night sweats other than observational reports.

The case report details a case in which night sweats were resolved with treatment for GERD with proton pump inhibitors. No other condition appeared to be causing the night sweats, suggesting GERD was the cause of the night sweats.

It is rare that GERD causes night sweats, and there are no formal trials exploring the link. Night sweats may be a symptom of GERD, but experts require further research to understand the link.

Night sweats and GERD may share risk factors, which may play a part in the two conditions occurring together.

According to a 2020 article, research suggests a diet high in fat and sugar may increase the risk of night sweats and menopausal symptoms relating to temperature dysregulation, such as hot flashes.

Smoking and drinking three or more alcoholic drinks a day are also linked to night sweats.

A Mediterranean diet, which is high in fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats, may link to a decreased risk of the above symptoms.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), smoking and secondhand smoke may affect the lower esophageal sphincter and cause GERD to develop.

Diet can also affect weight, and having overweight or obesity is also a risk factor for GERD. Alcohol and foods high in fat may trigger or worsen symptoms of GERD.

Learn more about GERD.

If a healthcare professional believes the underlying cause of night sweats, such as GERD, is apparent based on a person’s symptoms, they may suggest a treatment period of 4–8 weeks to see if symptoms resolve.

During this time, people will typically need to limit or stop any dietary or lifestyle behaviors linked to night sweats, such as excessive alcohol consumption or smoking. A healthcare professional may also recommend trying a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) during this time.

A doctor will also assess any medications people may be taking that could be causing night sweats. They may suggest an alternative medication that does not cause night sweats.

During the treatment period, it may help to keep a diary of symptoms and possible triggers of night sweats.

It may also help to avoid spicy foods. Eating spicy foods close to bedtime may cause night sweats, and may also trigger symptoms of GERD.

To help manage night sweats, people may find it helps to create a cooler environment in which to sleep. Remove any excess covers or blankets, and avoid exercising close to bedtime.

Learn more about night sweats.

If night sweats continue after making practical changes to a sleeping environment, such as cooling the temperature of the room and removing excess covers, people may want to contact a healthcare professional.

Night sweats may be a sign of another condition, including:

  • menopause
  • anxiety or stress
  • idiopathic hyperhidrosis, a condition which causes chronic sweating with no known cause
  • bacterial infections, such as tuberculosis, endocarditis, or osteomyelitis
  • low blood sugar, which can cause sweating, and medications that lower blood sugar, such as insulin or anti-diabetic oral medications
  • hormone disorders, such as a serotonin imbalance, may cause night sweats, or side effects of hormone therapy medications
  • certain cancers, which may cause night sweats as an early symptom

If people have night sweats alongside other symptoms, such as unexplained weight loss or fever, they should contact a healthcare professional.

Individuals should also contact a healthcare professional if they have symptoms of acid reflux that do not improve with home treatment or if they believe they may be experiencing GERD.

A person should consider contacting a healthcare professional if they experience any of the following symptoms:

  • chest pain
  • difficulty swallowing or any pain with swallowing
  • persistent vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • blood in stools
  • vomit with blood in or that looks like coffee grounds
  • unexplained weight loss

If GERD is the cause, treatment to manage the condition may help stop night sweats. Treatments to manage GERD may include:

  • weight loss
  • quit or avoid smoking
  • elevate the head by 6–8 inches while sleeping
  • avoid certain foods and drinks which may trigger GERD symptoms
  • over-the-counter (OTC) antacids
  • H2 blockers, either OTC or prescription
  • PPIs, either OTC or prescription

A 2020 case report suggests that treating GERD and managing symptoms may help to stop night sweats if it is the only possible cause.

If another condition is causing night sweats, managing the underlying cause may help reduce or stop night sweats.

GERD requires long-term treatment to help manage the condition and may consist of lifestyle changes and medications. The aim of treatment is to reduce the amount of acid coming back up the esophagus and focuses on:

  • eliminating symptoms
  • preventing or healing any irritation of the esophagus
  • preventing complications

Learn 15 ways to ease GERD symptoms at home.

GERD may be a cause of night sweats, although the evidence is unclear on the exact link between the two conditions.

Treating GERD may help to resolve night sweats. Treatment may include a combination of diet and lifestyle changes and medications.

If people experience symptoms of GERD and night sweats, they can contact a healthcare professional to discuss a treatment plan. Healthcare professionals can help rule out any other possible causes of night sweats.