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Heartburn And Indigestion At Night

Things To Stop Doing If You Have Gerd

How to fix Heartburn (GERD) at Night. Acid Reflux at Night Causes

When you suffer from chronic heartburn that can be associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease , this condition can affect your entire life. It may be necessary to stop eating some of your favorite foods. The heartburn may interfere with your sleep. It may even interfere with your availability to work well.

Over Relaxed Lower Esophageal Sphincter

The cause of acid reflux is due to an over relaxed lower esophageal sphincter . This is a circular muscle that is located in your esophagus just above the entrance to the stomach.

The LES acts like a one way valve that opens up to allow food and liquids to enter the stomach.

When the LES is working properly it will close shut to prevent any reflux of bile and stomach acid to into the esophagus. However, when this fails to close properly it causes the condition known as acid reflux.

At night while you are asleep the body and muscles become even more relaxed and this encourages the stomach acid to flow into your esophageal pipe.

Sleep On Your Left Side

Stomach sleepers, take note: This is the worst position to sleep in if you have acid reflux, says Besser. “Sleeping on your stomach puts pressure on your stomach and can cause food to come back up,” she says. The best sleeping position for acid reflux is on your left side, says Huber, although he notes that no one’s entirely sure why. A JAMA Internal Medicine review of studies did find that the lower esophageal sphincter is relaxed for longer when patients lie on their right side. If side sleeping isn’t for you, sleeping on your back is suitable too if you have acid reflux, Besser says.

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Diagnosing H Pylori Infection

If your GP thinks that your symptoms may be due to an infection with H pylori bacteria, you may need to have a test for it, such as:

  • a stool antigen test a pea-sized stool sample will be tested for H pylori bacteria
  • a breath test
  • a blood test a blood sample will be tested for antibodies to H pylori bacteria

Antibiotics and PPIs can affect the results of a urea breath test or a stool antigen test. Therefore, these tests may need to be delayed until two weeks after you last used a PPI, and four weeks after you last used an antibiotic.

The Reason Your Heartburn Is Worse At Night

How To Avoid Nighttime Heartburn

Whether after eating food with tomato sauce or wearing tight pants, you dread that unpleasant burning sensation in your chest. If youâre suffering from heartburn, youâre not alone. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, more than 60 million Americans have heartburn at least once a month, and 15 million experience it every day. Elderly people and pregnant women are more likely to experience symptoms of heartburn.

Heartburn, or acid reflux , occurs when liquids in the stomach flow back into the esophagus. This happens when the lower esophageal sphincter , the muscle between the esophagus and the stomach, relaxes. During eating, the LES relaxes to let food into the stomach and contracts to prevent backflow into the esophagus. Even in people who donât experience acid reflux, stomach acid may travel into the esophagus for brief periods without symptoms.

Also Check: Does Apple Cider Vinegar Help Heartburn

Sleep With Your Head And Shoulder On An Incline

Lying down flat presses the stomach’s contents against the LES. With the head higher than the stomach, gravity helps reduce this pressure and keeps stomach contents where they belongin the stomach. You can elevate your head in a couple of ways. You can place bricks, blocks or anything that’s sturdy securely under the legs at the head of your bed. You can also use a wedge-shaped pillow to elevate your head.

Left Side: Reduces Reflux

Sleep on your left side. Gravity will work in your favor on your left side as your stomach is now positioned below your esophagus, which makes reflux more difficult. Should stomach acid escape, gravity is able to return it to your stomach quicker than when on your right side or on your back which is why the left is usually the best side to sleep on to avoid acid reflux. Where the right side often produces liquid reflux, when on your left side, reflux symptoms tend to be more gaseous in nature 6, which may be annoying but much less distressing. Studies show that symptoms are less frequent and less severe when on your left side as compared to on your right side or on your back7 making it the most desirable flat sleep position.

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Right Side: Its Not Right For Acid Reflux

Position #2 to avoid at night issleeping flat on your right side. When lying flat on your right side, your stomach is actually above your esophagus creating a leaky faucet spouting stomach acid into the delicate lining of your esophagus. This is especially true when your stomach is full. Interestingly, when lying flat on your right side, your reflux symptoms tend to be more liquid in nature4 leading to regurgitation, coughing, and choking, which can be very scary in the middle of the night. Since gravity is doing nothing for you in this position, the amount of time acid lingers in your esophagus is much longer5 so stay off your right side.

So, back sleeping is bad. Right side sleeping is bad. Whats a GERD sufferer to do?

Do Certain Foods Cause Heartburn

Living with Acid Reflux : How to Treat Nighttime Acid Reflux

Certain foods and drinks, such as fried foods, high-fat foods, soft drinks, and tea , increase your likelihood of experiencing heartburn. Eating meals late at night, no matter what theyre composed of, can also increase heartburn and negatively impact sleep as a result.

Drinks that tend to stimulate stomach acid production, such as coffee and alcohol, contribute to the onset of heartburn . Coffee itself may also affect sleep quality. Although it might feel like alcohol helps you fall asleep, alcohol can cause frequent night wakings which disrupt sleep.

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What Is Happening: Waking Up Choking At Night While Sleeping

These kinds of episodes are quite frightening. When this happened to me I would violently be awoken and have trouble breathing. Breathing became painful, sometimes for days, and its quite possible some content went into the mouth and lungs. Many times my heart started to race and I got sweaty.

When the above happened the acid and stomach content can cause Acid Reflux induced asthma. When acid goes in your mouth it splashes on your teeth and can cause damage to them. The worst thing you could do for your teeth are brush them right away. My dentist told me that he could see the signs of Acid Reflux on his patients teeth. He also told me to rinse my mouth and wait a while, rinse again and then brush the same goes for acidic foods.

The things you could do before going to bed:

Is all the life style changes, from losing weight, to staying away from offending foods such as acidic foods, fatty foods, caffeine, chocolate, carbonated drinks, etc. these are the hard thing to do, it takes planning and discipline.

Reasons why these life style changes help:

Many of these foods relax the sphincter muscles or add gas to your stomach increasing upward pressure and/or therefore requiring less pressure for acid and Stomach content to get into the esophagus.

Natural Remedy: Use Baking Soda

You may find relief from infrequent heartburn with sodium bicarbonate, otherwise known as baking soda. Simply mix ½ teaspoon with four ounces of water to help neutralize the acid. Note this contains sodium and should not be used if you are on a sodium-restricted diet. Check with your doctor if you are taking any prescriptions drugs, are pregnant or have a chronic health condition before using baking soda to relieve heartburn.

Recommended Reading: Heartburn And Indigestion After Eating

Gerd Diet: Foods That Help With Acid Reflux

Getting a case of acid reflux once in a while isn’t unusual, but some people suffer from burning discomfort, bloating and belching almost every time they eat. About 20% of the population has gastroesophageal reflux disease , a chronic acid reflux condition that’s diagnosed by a doctor.

Normally, the esophageal sphincter protects the esophagus from stomach acid. However, if the sphincter relaxes, food can push upward through the loosened opening and cause acid reflux.

“Diet plays a major role in controlling acid reflux symptoms and is the first line of therapy used for people with GERD,” says Ekta Gupta, M.B.B.S., M.D., gastroenterologist with Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Cut Out Stress And Anxiety

2 Positions You Should Avoid to Prevent Nighttime ...

Stress and anxiety can be a major contributor to heartburn and indigestion and can have a real impact on our digestive system so it is imperative to try to keep our stress levels as low as we can. Make sure you get enough sleep each night and do things that make you happy. You could take up yoga or meditation to help you relax even more!

Read Also: What To Eat To Prevent Heartburn

Avoid Eating Before Bed

Night-time heartburn is heartburn that occurs at night, and 79% of weekly heartburn sufferers may experience it.1 When you are upright, gravity helps keep stomach acid in the stomach where it belongs, but when you lie down at night, it can become easier for stomach acid to push past your lower esophageal sphincter and leak into your esophagus.

For many people, night-time heartburn can be more disruptive than the symptoms they experience throughout the day. Night-time heartburn can make it hard to fall, and stay, asleep.

Suffering from night-time heartburn, even once a week, can cause fatigue, decrease productivity at work, and overall impact to your daily life. This type of heartburn also has been linked to increased snoring.

To manage your night-time heartburn, consider making changes to your diet and lifestyle, such as avoiding eating before bed or sleeping with your upper body slightly elevated.2

Antacids like TUMS work quickly to bring you heartburn relief. Keep a bottle beside your bed, so you can get back to sleep faster. Take medication at night in an upright position, before lying down to resume sleep. If your night-time heartburn doesnt improve, you may want to talk to your doctor about Nexium 24HR , a proton pump inhibitor that requires only one pill for all day and night relief.3

References

  • Fries, Wendy C. “28 Tips for Nighttime Heartburn Relief.” WebMD. N.p., n.d. Web. .
  • What Are The Best Sleeping Positions For Heartburn

    Sleeping on your left side may reduce your heartburn symptoms because it relieves the pressure on your stomach and allows for food to move to the lower part of the stomach. Conversely, some research suggests that lying on your right side aggravates heartburn and GERD .

    Sleeping with the head of your bed elevated is another good way for people with heartburn to slip into a restful slumber. Heartburn is a result of the stomach contents coming back up into the esophagus, so utilizing gravity by elevating the head and upper body helps keep your stomach contents where they should be. You can purchase wedge pillows that keep you propped up all night, thus reducing heartburn.

    Additionally, you can opt to raise the top two posts of your bed frame to elevate your upper body when you sleep. Bed raisers are available online and come in different heights to fit your preference. Just make sure that if your bed frame does not have a sturdy footboard, you secure your mattress to prevent it from slipping.

    Also Check: What Does It Mean To Have Heartburn All The Time

    Benefits Of Propping Up Your Body

    Has your doctor recommended that you sleep at an incline using a bed wedge or putting blocks under your bed frame? Studies show that sleeping at an incline decreases reflux symptoms and allows your body to get stomach acid back to your stomach quicker 8. As long as your entire torso is elevated , sleeping at an incline gives gravity a power boost to return stomach acid to your stomach and keep it there.

    How Are Gerd And Sleep Related

    Heartburn Remedies and Nighttime Heart Burn Relief at Night

    GERD is often cited as a cause of sleeping problems, including in the National Sleep Foundations 2001 Sleep in America Poll. In a more recent survey of people with frequent heartburn, nearly 60% said it affected their sleep, and more than 30% said it hurt their daytime functioning.

    Flare ups of GERD symptoms after lying down can make it hard to fall asleep and can cause nighttime interruptions from heartburn, chest pain, and coughing. Studies in sleep clinics of people with GERD have found that these symptoms are correlated with lower sleep quality.

    Recommended Reading: Heartburn With Everything I Eat

    Medical Articles Used For This Post

    Risk Factors for Nighttime Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, Ronnie Fass, MD, FACP, FACG, Medscape,

    The Special Risks of Nighttime Heartburn, by R. Morgan Griffin and reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD, WebMD,

    A Novel Sleep Positioning Device Reduces Gastroesophageal Reflux A Randomized Controlled Trial, Castell, Donald O. MD, Person, Erik MD Rife, Christopher MD, et al, Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology,

    Influence of spontaneous sleep positions on nighttime recumbent reflux in patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease, Khoury RM, Castell DO, Katz PO, et al., Journal of Gastroenterology,

    • Was this article Helpful ?

    Are There Any Tests For Heartburn

    If it is obvious from the symptoms that a person has heartburn, no tests or exams may be necessary. Advice in regard to lifestyle modifications, diet, or medications may begin immediately.

    If your health care professional is not sure about the diagnosis, or if he or she is concerned about damage done by chronic heartburn, tests may be ordered. This is true especially if the patient has already been prescribed medications that are not relieving the heartburn.

    There is no simple blood test for heartburn. The tests used to diagnose heartburn include the following:

    Read Also: Does Papaya Enzyme Help With Heartburn

    Interested In The Left Device

    RefluxMD is developing a new approach to assist our members to manage GERD symptoms, and we believe that the LEFT device is an important component in this process. We will be providing person-to-person coaching support to those interested, which will focus on:

    • Following a GERD-friendly diet
    • Seeking and maintaining a healthy BMI
    • Adopting healthy lifestyle choices
    • Experimenting with natural remedies
    • Maintaining a GERD diary

    If you would like to receive more information on this new program, simply send an email to

    NOTE: RefluxMD will not share your personal information with any third party.

    Thank you in advance for your interest!

    Indigestion And Nausea At Night How To Stop It

    Learn What Causes Heartburn at Night

    For most people, indigestion and nausea occur infrequently. Often, this is a result of simply over indulging, eating disagreeable foods and beverages, over consumption of alcohol or eating food too fast. In this instance, the condition is known as acute indigestion or acute dyspepsia. Almost everyone will encounter a case of indigestion here or there. It could be caused from nothing more than a sickeningly sweet piece of chocolate cake that followed half a dozen hot sauce laden hot wings which created a disagreeable sensation in the tummy. Or, it could be a result of one too many trips to the buffet line, where feelings of fullness and stomach bloating inevitably resulted. Regardless, acute indigestion is typically not serious and often resolves itself soon after the offending cause has been remedied.

    For others however, chronic indigestion can occur. Many times, this can be a result of an underlying health condition such as GERD or peptic ulcers , according to WebMD. Indigestion during pregnancy can also bring a temporary form of chronic indigestion along with it. Some people encounter these ongoing symptoms only at certain times of the day, such as at night, right before bed.

    References:

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    While Trying To Sleep

    The International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders note that 79% of individuals with GERD experience symptoms after bedtime.

    As many as 75% of those with the condition say the symptoms have an effect on their sleep, and 40% claim the loss of sleep affects their ability to function when they get up.

    While GERD influences sleep, sleep deprivation also has an impact on GERD. A lack of sleep can cause increased sensitivity to acid in the esophagus.

    A person with acid reflux after bedtime may have more acute symptoms than a person experiencing it mainly during the day.

    This combination of sleep disturbances and more severe symptoms means that experiencing acid reflux while trying to sleep can worsen the quality of life for people with the condition.

    The Thyroid Is Not Working Properly

    Although a medical blood test administered by your doctor may not reveal any clinical, or even sub-clinical thyroid difficulty, a thyroid needing re-balancing could show up as acid reflux at night.

    This is because thyroid hormone turns on everything in the body, or revs it up might like a car’s accelerator.

    Usually however, the thyroid stimulating hormone, or TSH measured with a blood test would show some needed improvement.

    Read Also: Can Kidney Stones Cause Heartburn

    How To Relieve Heartburn At Night

    Waking up with heartburn in the middle of the night? Youre not alone. Studies show about 20 percent of adults in the U.S. suffer from heartburn at least once a week, and among those, 75 percent experience heartburn at night. The discomfort of having heartburn at night often results in problems falling or staying asleep. Learn about the possible causes and treatment options for heartburn.

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