There are a number of possible causes of night sweats, one of them being gastroesophageal reflux disease, more commonly known as GERD. For some people treating the symptoms of GERD will help alleviate night sweats.
How Does GERD Cause Night Sweats?
It’s not uncommon for someone suffering from GERD to experience night sweats.
Sometimes a person can experience a less obvious mild acid reflux that will still burn the esophagus and in turn cause the body to try to cool itself through sweating. Acid reflux is often worse at night because when the body is lying flat it is easier for the stomach acids to back up in to the esophagus.
There are several symptoms contributing to gastroesophageal reflux disease, the most common of which is heartburn. Occasional heartburn is usually overlooked or associated with dietary intake, but when this becomes persistent or coupled with other signs, it is time to seek medical attention.
Other warning signs associated with GERD can include bad breath or a sour taste in your mouth. This back flow of stomach acid or regurgitation causes the acids to move into the esophagus creating the bitter taste. This is often accompanied by heartburn, that sometimes spreads into the throat.
Chest discomfort or pain that is dull in nature and spans across the chest is another symptom one may experience. This too can occur with heartburn and is sometimes misinterpreted as angina. Keep in mind, chest pain can be a serious symptom of a heart attack or other condition so it should be taken seriously and addressed right away.
Night sweats is another possible red flag for GERD, although sweating at night is often attributed to other conditions when individuals attempt to self-diagnose.
Frequent sore throat, hoarseness, and extra saliva in the mouth can be also be symptoms of GERD. Dysphagia or difficulty swallowing is more common with advanced stages of the disease. Individuals with a pulmonary condition such as lung disease may suffer from asthma at rest or recurring aspiration pneumonia.
Treatment For GERD
The most common initial treatment for GERD includes over-the-counter medicines that control stomach acids. These medications paired with a few dietary tips can usually help keep the acid reflux under control.
These lifestyle changes can help:
- Eat smaller meals and don’t overeat.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight can increase pressure on your abdomen, which in turn can lead to heartburn. Obesity can lead to GERD and night sweats.
- Watch for trigger foods. Everyone has different triggers, but common ones include tomato based foods, fried or fatty foods, alcohol, caffeine, garlic, chocolate and even mint. Be especially careful not to eat trigger foods at night.
- Avoid tight clothing. Tight clothing can put pressure on your stomach and improve the likelihood of acid reflux.
- Don’t lie down or bend over after eating. This can also make it easier for stomach acids to back up into the esophagus.
One particular treatment that can help curb night sweats is elevating your head while you are sleeping. You don’t need an adjustable bed to do this; you can find wedge pillows at Amazon and many other places to help elevate your head and reduce the risk of acid reflux while you sleep. For many people this alone helps reduce night sweats caused by heartburn.
When symptoms are serious enough to warrant a visit to the physician, laboratory tests may be ordered to confirm the diagnosis. Prolonged untreated GERD can lead to Barrett’s Esophagus and/or carcinoma of the esophagus. This is in the more severe cases, but it is important to get a physician’s advice if you are experiencing one more of the symptoms listed above. With proper treatment, you can effectively get GERD under control before it becomes a bigger problem.
While occasional heartburn can be attributed to many things, recurring signs of burning in your chest may be an indication of something more severe. It’s important to understand GERD symptoms as well as what they mean so you know when to seek the proper treatment to get your condition under control, and hopefully get your night sweats under control too._____________________________________