Heartburn Acid Reflux And Gerd
The terms heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD are often used interchangeably. They actually have very different meanings.
Acid reflux is a common medical condition that can range in severity from mild to serious. Gastroesophageal reflux disease is the chronic, more severe form of acid reflux. Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux and GERD.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Acid Reflux And Oesophagitis
- Heartburn: this is the main symptom. This is a burning feeling which rises from the upper tummy or lower chest up towards the neck.
- Other common symptoms: these include pain in the upper abdomen and chest, feeling sick, an acid taste in the mouth, bloating, belching, indigestion and a burning pain when you swallow hot drinks. Like heartburn, these symptoms tend to come and go and tend to be worse after a meal.
- Some uncommon symptoms: these may occur and if they do, can make the diagnosis difficult, as these symptoms can mimic other conditions. For example:
- A persistent cough, particularly at night, sometimes occurs. This is due to the refluxed acid irritating the windpipe . Asthma symptoms of cough and wheeze can sometimes be due to acid leaking up .
- Other mouth and throat symptoms sometimes occur, such as gum problems, bad breath, sore throat, hoarseness and a feeling of a lump in the throat.
- Severe chest pain develops in some cases .
Treatments And Home Remedies
Many home remedies and nonprescription medications may help people deal with heartburn at night.
Over- the-counter drugs, such as antacids or acid reduction agents, can help treat mild digestive discomfort and heartburn.
Antacids function by neutralizing the acid in the stomach, providing symptom relief. There are several different OTC antacids to choose from, among them:
- calcium carbonate
- magnesium hydroxide
- sodium bicarbonate
- bismuth subsalicylate
Acid reducers function to decrease acid production in the stomach. Two major types of acid reducers exist: proton pump inhibitors and histamine antagonists .
A few different OTC acid reducers are available, including:
Similar medications may be available with a doctors prescription.
Such OTC medications can help relieve heartburn, but are not long-term solutions. Anyone who uses OTC heartburn relief drugs should talk to a doctor if the symptoms last for longer than 2 weeks.
If nocturnal heartburn becomes a regular issue, it is best to see a doctor for a diagnosis and discuss options for long-term treatment.
Meanwhile some home remedies will alleviate symptoms. Including:
Sleeping on the left side of the body
People can find that if they sleep on their left side their symptoms get better. Some believe this helps to relieve stomach pressure, making it less likely that stomach acid will leak into the esophagus.
Elevating the head and chest
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Treating Severe Heartburn And Gerd
The newest — and most effective — class of heartburn drugs are the proton pump inhibitors. These work by blocking the effects of an enzyme that produces acid in the stomach. So far, only Prilosec OTC is available over-the-counter. Other proton pump inhibitors, such as Aciphex, Nexium, Prevacid, and Protonix, are available with a prescription from your doctor.
A lot of people find that one prescription medication on its own may not be enough. For severe GERD, Spechler says that you may need not only one to two daily doses of a proton pump inhibitor, but also a bedtime dose of an H2 receptor antagonist. You may need over-the-counter antacids, too. In some cases, your doctor may recommend surgery to correct the problem that’s causing your symptoms. But surgery isn’t always a complete solution. Some people still wind up needing medication afterwards. Be sure you’re under a doctor’s care if you take heartburn drugs regularly. They can slightly increase the risk of pneumonia.
The key is to get treatment. If you have frequent nighttime heartburn — and lifestyle changes aren’t helping — see your doctor.
“In recent years, we’ve become more and more aware of GERD as a risk for much more serious conditions, even cancer,” says Cheskin. “It’s not just heartburn. So you shouldn’t be complacent about it until you have it checked out.”
Why Do You Get Reflux More At Night
You may experience more reflux at night than during the day. The reason for this is gravity. When you sit or stand, gravity helps move the food through your esophagus and into the stomach. When youâre laying down, you lose the effect of gravity on the food traveling through your digestive system. Laying down also prevents gravity from keeping bile and acids from traveling up into the esophagus, causing heartburn. Because of this, many people find their heartburn is worse at night.
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You Should See A Doctor If You Have Chronic Severe Indigestion
Theres a chance you have an underlying health problem thats causing your chronic severe indigestion. Some of the more common reasons for this condition include GERD, inflammatory bowel disease, and gastroesophageal reflux. Most people with chronic severe indigestion are unsure about what is making them so sick. The key to feeling better is to see a doctor as soon as possible, so they can better diagnose the cause and find the best treatment option.
The article will explore chronic severe indigestion and discuss the potential causes and tell you what to do if you suffer from this condition. Ingesting large amounts of food or liquid can cause digestive problems in some individuals. If it becomes chronic, severe, or leads to a variety of lifestyle changes, then patients may have a condition called Gastroparesis.
It is not uncommon for people to experience a stomach ache once or twice a year. When you are feeling bloated, nauseous, and your stomach hurts after eating, it might be something as simple as acid reflux or heartburn. If these symptoms are occurring more than twice a year, you should see your doctor. There are different types of doctors that specialize in digestive problems, such as gastroenterologists and proctologists.
Heartburn At Night: Causes And Treatment
Some people associate big meals, like Thanksgiving dinner, with easily dozing off to sleep.
Yet for many, big meals make sleep very difficult because they experience heartburn.
This uncomfortable burning sensation in the heart or throat is often nothing to worry about.
Still, when experienced at night, it can lead to poor sleep and the negative effects of inadequate or disrupted rest the next day.
And in some instances, heartburn at night can be a sign of gastrointestinal reflux disease , which can damage the esophagus.
To help you determine if your heartburn at night is a concern, in this article, Ill discuss what heartburn is.
Then Ill dive into nighttime heartburn, detailing the symptoms, causes, and treatments.
Ill also explain how to tell if you have GERD and when to see a doctor about your heartburn symptoms.
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Sodas And Carbonated Beverages
Many people find they get heartburn after drinking sodas and carbonated beverages.
Research suggests that these drinks may relax the esophageal sphincter and increase the acidity of stomach acid two risk factors for heartburn .
In fact, soft drink consumption is considered a major contributor to heartburn that occurs at night, which is known as nocturnal heartburn .
Some studies have found a link between drinking soft drinks and worsened symptoms in people with GERD.
For example, an older study found that people who consumed carbonated beverages had a 69% higher risk of developing reflux symptoms like heartburn .
If you experience heartburn after drinking soda or other carbonated beverages, its best to limit your intake or cut out carbonated drinks completely.
Sodas and other carbonated beverages may cause heartburn by relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter. If sodas or other carbonated beverages give you heartburn, consider cutting back or avoiding them completely.
Acid Reflux Sleeping Positions
You dont have to sleep sitting upright to take advantage of the effects of gravity and anatomy on the occurrence of GERD. Still, how you sleep can directly affect how often you feel symptoms, how severe those symptoms are, and how long the acid sits in your esophagus.
The good news is that you can drastically change your nights by changing the way you sleep. But first, consult with your doctor if you suspect you have GERD or any other condition that may be disturbing your sleep.
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Why Gerd May Be Worse At Night
Bedtime creates the perfect circumstances for a flare-up of reflux.
First, GERD may be worse at night simply due to your position. When you lie down, gravity no longer pulls your stomach acid downward. The acid more easily refluxes back up into your esophagus, causing heartburn and other unpleasant symptoms.
Second, when you go to sleep, you also swallow less. Swallowing is an important function that pushes stomach acid downward. During sleep, you produce very little saliva, especially during the deepest stages of sleep. Saliva is an important neutralizer of stomach acid.
Best Sleep Position For Acid Reflux: Incline + Left
Sleeping on your back is generally not recommended for most people with GERD. You may also want to avoid sleeping on your right side. So whats the best way to sleep to reduce nighttime acid reflux?
What if you take the best sleeping position, the left side, and add an incline? Could the benefits be more than the sum of its parts?
A 2015 study suggests that this is indeed the case.
The compound inclined, the left-side sleeping position makes acid reflux at night virtually impossible because your esophagus is now positioned well above the level of stomach contents, even if your stomach is full.
And, if you do reflux, gravity can quickly return the contents to your stomach. This sleep position may decrease your GERD symptoms and protect you from prolonged acid exposure to your esophagus, throat, lungs, and sinuses.
So, whats the secret to controlling your acid reflux symptoms at night and finally getting good, quality sleep? Proper sleep positioning.
Find relief with the ideal position that maximizes the power of gravity and anatomy. Choose the MedCline Reflux Relief System, specifically designed to create and maintain the inclined, left-side position, clinically proven to be effective for natural relief from nighttime acid reflux or GERD.
Consider talking to your doctor if you experience symptoms that may be disturbing your sleep, who can best recommend treatment appropriate for your case.
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Why Is Gerd Worse After Going To Bed
There are several explanations for why GERD is commonly worse at night after going to bed:
- When lying down, gravity no longer helps keep stomach acid down, making it easier for reflux to occur.
- Saliva can help neutralize stomach acid, but production of saliva is reduced during deeper stages of sleep.
A combination of these effects can facilitate the leakage of stomach acid into the esophagus and allow the acid to remain in place for longer, potentially causing more severe GERD symptoms, including those that can disturb sleep. The problem may be even greater if a person goes to bed soon after eating and/or eats foods that trigger GERD.
Why Does Your Heartburn Get Worse At Night
One word answer Gravity. Gravity keeps gastric acid in the stomach while youre standing or sitting. But when you are lying down, it is easier for gastric acid and other stomach contents to rise back up the esophagus, causing heartburn.
Additionally, while we are sleeping, the mouth produces less saliva and rate of swallowing also goes down. This, in turn, hinders with esophageal pH levels to return back to normal after the acid has traveled back up the esophagus. The result you wake up choking and coughing with a sore throat.
Research has shown that night time heartburn occurs in a large majority of adults with GERD, resulting in sleeping difficulties and impaired next-day function. Its important to understand that GERD and sleep have a bi-directional relationship. Acid Reflux adversely affects sleep quality by waking you up at night. At the same time, sleep deprivation can adversely affect heartburn severity by enhancing the perception of acid in the esophagus causing esophageal hypersensitivity, and potentially by increasing esophageal acid exposure time. If you have acid reflux, lack of sleep puts your body into stress, which increases the discomfort associated with increased acidity.
So, what can be done to prevent heartburn from keeping you up at night?
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What Are My Options If These Treatments Don’t Work
If a person continues to have heartburn, a health care professional may recommend adding a drug such as metoclopramide . This drug empties food and acid quickly from the stomach so less can back up into the esophagus. Reglan also helps tighten the lower esophageal sphincter.
If a person still have symptoms, a health care professional will then recommend one of the drugs called proton pump inhibitors. Examples of these drugs are omeprazole , lansoprazole , esomeprazole , rabeprazole , and pantoprazole . These tablets prevent the stomach from secreting acid. They are very effective and are typically taken only once a day. These drugs usually are prescribed if other drugs have not helped. They may have to be used indefinitely.
How Does Gerd Affect Sleep
As many as 20% of adults in the United States experiences symptoms of GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease. This chronic disorder affects your esophagus, a muscular tube that connects your throat to your stomach.
GERD is a condition characterized by chronic acid reflux, chest pain, and a sour taste in your mouth and throat. GERD sufferers often experience symptoms at night, interrupting sleep and interfering with their ability to function the next day. Nighttime GERD can actually cause more intense, unpleasant symptoms than GERD symptoms experienced during the day.
Board-certified gastroenterologist Bharat Pothuri, MD provides his expertise when it comes to helping you manage your GERD so you can get a better night of sleep. Heres what you should know about GERD and sleep and how we can help.
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Nighttime Heartburn: Causes And Remedies
People who experience heartburn at night can find it painful and interferes with their sleep.
A few common causes of heartburn at night include eating specific foods, eating too close to bedtime, and taking certain prescription medicines.
Nighttime heartburn or worsening symptoms of heartburn may be a sign of GERD .
Many simple home remedies can help ease the symptoms while a person is working with a doctor to find a solution that is more permanent.
Learn about the possible causes of nighttime heartburn, and how to treat them in this article.
The Link Between Nighttime Heartburn And Insomnia
The effects of nighttime heartburn aren’t confined to esophagus. It can also result in chronic insomnia. Nighttime heartburn can wake you up and keep you up.
“The symptoms definitely aggravate insomnia,” says Dave White, who has suffered from nighttime heartburn for years. “I’ll wake up with cutting heartburn pain and then have to wait for the effects of to kick in, which can take an hour or so. When that happens, I’ll just get out of bed, since I know I’ll be up anyway.”
One study showed just how common nighttime heartburn can be. Researchers questioned nearly 15,300 average people and found that a whopping 25% reported having nighttime heartburn. The results were published in the journal CHEST.
Another survey of 1,900 people with GERD in the U.S. and Europe found that about half had trouble sleeping at night. In these people, GERD symptoms caused a 22% impairment of leisure activities and a 15% impairment of their ability to work. The findings were presented during the 2005 Digestive Disease Week, an international conference for gastroenterologists. So the pain — and consequences — of nighttime heartburn go well beyond that burning in your chest.
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Exercise On Right Time
Individuals should strictly avoid doing physical exercises on their full stomach. Doing this may create pressure on ones abdomen and thereby, results in heartburn problem.
Individuals should essentially wait for a minimum of 3 hours after consuming food before they go to start any physical exercise.
You should intake water in sufficient amount before and at the time of doing exercises, while simultaneously, should avoid high-carbonated types of sports drinks, as it increases the chances of your heartburn problem.
|Written, Edited or Reviewed By:Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc.This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimerLast Modified On: April 4, 2018|
Do Certain Activities Cause Heartburn
High-impact sports, such as running, rowing, high intensity interval training, and powerlifting, as well as activities that are done while the body is inverted or flat, like swimming or yoga, can cause heartburn or make it worse . Heartburn is caused by a loosening of the lower esophageal muscle. Exercises that push the stomach or keep the body from being upright may contribute to heartburn and GERD.
Exercise is an important part of staying healthy. If you struggle with heartburn, opt for lower impact, upright activities, like walking, light jogging or easy cycling. If you prefer to engage in high-intensity workouts, it could help to adjust when you eat. Try to eat a few hours before your workout to prevent heartburn.
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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.