Symptoms Of Gerd And Palpitations
The link between heartburn and GERD is well known, but can GERD actually affect the workings of your heart? As opposed to an actual stinging pain, heart palpitations involve a speeding up in the beating of the heart, often accompanied by irregular beating patterns.
Its quite unlikely that any palpitations youre experiencing are the direct result of GERD.
However, what may be happening is that a certain food youre eating or substance youre taking is setting off both your palpitations and GERD symptoms at the same time , giving the impression that one is causing the other.
For example, drinking caffeine can be linked to both heart palpitations and symptoms of GERD.
Another approach has suggested that heart palpitations and GERD symptoms may be experienced together because the feelings of anxiety that can come with GERD pain can set off heart problems.
In any case, heart palpitations are certainly a good reason to contact your doctor for a check-up, but they are probably not a direct physical symptom of GERD and are most likely an indication of another health problem.
How Is Gerd Diagnosed
Tell your parents and visit your doctor if you’ve had heartburn that doesn’t seem to go away or any other symptoms of GERD for a while.
The doctor will do an exam and ask about your symptoms. If the doctor suspects GERD, you might go see a pediatric gastroenterologist. This is a doctor who treats kids and teens who have problems of the gastrointestinal system.
Doctors sometimes order these tests to diagnose GERD or rule out other possible problems:
What Else Should I Know
Early diagnosis and treatment can help reduce or even stop uncomfortable GERD symptoms. Untreated GERD can cause permanent damage to the esophagus.
Youll probably find that one of the simplest ways to make living with GERD easier is to avoid the things that trigger your symptoms. Some people will have to limit certain foods others may have to give them up entirely. It all depends on your symptoms.
It can be hard to give up sodas or favorite foods at first. But after a while, lots of people discover that they feel so much better that they dont miss the problem foods as much as they thought they would.
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Other Causes Of Morning Heartburn
Although GERD is a common reason for heartburn in the morning, there are other reasons that someone can experience heartburn during this time. Some factors include your activities the night before and lifestyle habits. Other factors include:
- Having a high stress level
- Hiatal hernia
- Acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus
- Alcoholic beverages
Your healthcare provider can help you create a list of foods to remove and incorporate into your diet that will help treat your GERD symptoms. It is important to work with your healthcare provider, continuing to take your medicineif prescribedand following a plan that will help you have the best outcome regarding your condition.
When Should You Go To An Er For Acid Reflux
Some people who experience acid reflux may think that other symptoms that might occur at the same time as reflux are simply part of the bodys reflux response. However, symptoms that go beyond regular heartburn are probably not just incidental and could be a sign of something more serious.
These symptoms accompanying acid reflux should always mean a trip to the emergency room:
- Feeling confused or sudden weakness
- When the reflux moves/relocates from how you typically experience it
- Fainting/loss of consciousness, even briefly
- Vomit that has blood in it or is black
- Stool that is black and/or accompanied by blood
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How Is Gerd Treated
Treatment for GERD depends on how severe symptoms are. For some people, treatment may just include lifestyle changes, such as changing what they eat or drink. Others will need to take medicines. In very rare cases, when GERD is particularly severe, a doctor will recommend surgery.
These lifestyle changes can help ease the symptoms of GERD or even prevent the condition:
- quitting smoking
- avoiding carbonated beverages
- avoiding foods that trigger reflux
It also can help to not lie down for 3 hours after a meal and to not eat 2 to 3 hours before going to bed. Doctors sometimes also recommend raising the head of the bed about 6 to 8 inches. Before you start a major bedroom makeover, though, talk to your doctor and your parents about the best sleeping position for you.
If symptoms continue, doctors might prescribe medicine, such as:
- H2 blockers, which can help block the production of stomach acid
- proton pump inhibitors, which reduce the amount of acid the stomach makes
- prokinetics, which help the esophageal sphincter work better and the stomach empty faster. This can prevent reflux episodes.
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Gerd And Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Research has also identified a link between GERD and obstructive sleep apnea , a sleep disorder that involves blockage of the airway that incites pauses in breathing during sleep. Debate exists among experts about whether GERD causes OSA, OSA causes GERD, or if they simply share similar risk factors.
It is possible that GERD affects the airway and ability to breathe normally, causing more apneas during the night. At the same time, people with OSA wake up frequently at night and may then detect GERD symptoms. Lack of sleep from OSA may make the esophagus more susceptible to reflux.
In addition, factors like alcohol consumption, smoking, and obesity can increase risk for both GERD and OSA, so the correlation between the conditions may be a result of these factors.
While the exact relationship between GERD and OSA is subject to further research, it is clear that the conditions can occur together and create significant complications for a persons sleep, comfort, and overall health.
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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.
Why Do I Have More Acid Reflux At Night And Keep Getting Heartburn At Night
You may experience more acid 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 you are laying down, you lose the effect of gravity on the food traveling through your digestive system. In other words, laying down can push acid from the stomach up into the lower esophagus, making it harder for food to properly digest. Because of this, many people find their heartburn to be worse at night.
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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.
Heartburn & Indigestion: When To Seek Emergency Medical Attention
Acid reflux, heartburn and indigestion are all terms used to describe that GI discomfort that everyone gets from time to time. A bout of acid reflux usually occurs after a big meal, eating too close to laying down for bed, or after eating or drinking something that does not settle right.
While uncomfortable, most of the time it is something temporary that can be managed at home with over-the-counter antacids or other medication. However, there are certain symptoms that can either accompany or be mistaken for acid reflux that require immediate medical care.
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What Causes This Burning Sensation
When you eat, food passes down your throat and through your esophagus to your stomach. A muscle controls the opening between the esophagus and the stomach. It remains tightly closed except when you swallow food.
When this muscle fails to close after food passes through, the acidic contents of your stomach can travel back up into the esophagus. Doctors refer to this backward movement as reflux. When stomach acid hits the lower part of the esophagus, it can produce a burning sensation. This is what we call heartburn or, more formally, gastroesophageal reflux disease .
About one in 10 adults has heartburn at least once a week, and 1 in 3 have it every month, says Dr. Gabbard. About 10 to 20% of adults have chronic heartburn.
Do I Need To Visit My Doctor About My Heartburn
If youre experiencing heartburn every once in a while, youre probably ok to go without a visit to Cary Gastroenterology. There are over the counter medications you can take that should give you relief pretty quickly. Over the counter medications are not intended for long term use and, should you find yourself taking them frequently, you should do so under the supervision of a physician. If you start to notice that youre experiencing the pain more often or that its getting increasingly more uncomfortable, make an appointment to come see us. There are a number of things we can recommend that dont require medication, including weight loss, an adjustment in diet and exercise, changes in medications, and even different sleeping positions.
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Tips To Keep Heartburn On The Backburner
To prevent occasional bouts of heartburn, try taking the following five steps:
1. Avoid eating within three hours of the time you go to bed.
2. Take any acid suppressant medication, such as a proton pump inhibitor, first thing in the morning. Because of the way proton pump inhibitor-type medications activate, its not helpful to take these medications at night on an empty stomach, says Brown.
3. Sleep on a slight incline, with your head elevated, and/or sleep on your left side. If you have chronic heartburn, falling asleep in the wrong position enables acid to sneak into the esophagus. Keeping your head raised slightly keeps that from happening. Studies have also found that while sleeping on the right side actually aggravates heartburn, flipping over to your left side is likely to calm it, although the reason why is unknown.
4. Avoid foods that may cause acid reflux, such as peppermint, coffee and chocolate. Interestingly, spicy foods havent been shown to cause heartburn, says Brown. And theres some evidence that spicy foods may actually protect the body from ulcers.
5. If you smoke or use other tobacco products, quit. Not only does smoking relax the lower esophageal sphincter, allowing stomach acid to move up into the esophagus where it doesnt belong, but it also can slow the production of saliva, which protects against acid in the esophagus.
When Should I See A Doctor
Occasional heartburn is common and can often be self-treated with OTC medications and lifestyle changes. If your nighttime heartburn symptoms worsen, or two or more times a week, it may be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease . While GERD is not life threatening, you should talk to a doctor if your symptoms persist for more than a couple weeks. Some individuals are able to manage the discomfort of GERD on their own, but in some cases, stronger medications or surgery may be needed to ease symptoms.
*BASED ON 9-HOUR ACID CONTROL STUDIES DURING THE DAY AND 12-HOUR ACID CONTROL STUDIES DURING THE NIGHT. ACID CONTROL DOES NOT IMPLY SYMPTOM RELIEF.
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Tips To Avoid Heartburn At Night
Do you go to bed feeling good, only to wake up a couple of hours later with terrible heartburn? If heartburn is keeping you up at night, its time to take some action. The best thing you can do arm yourself with the right knowledge to keep acid reflux symptoms at bay and get a restful nights sleep.
Medicines And Other Treatments
Your childs healthcare provider may also recommend other options.
Medicines. Your child’s provider may prescribe medicines to help with reflux. There are medicines that help reduce the amount of acid the stomach makes. This reduces the heartburn linked to reflux. These medicines may include:
- H2-blockers. These reduce the amount of acid your stomach makes by blocking the hormone histamine. Histamine helps to make acid.
- Proton pump inhibitors. These help keep your stomach from making acid. They do this by stopping the stomach’s acid pump from working.
The provider may prescribe another type of medicine that helps the stomach empty faster. If food doesnt stay in the stomach as long as normal, reflex may be less likely to occur.
Calorie supplements. Some babies with reflux cant gain weight because they vomit often. If this is the case, your child’s healthcare provider may suggest:
- Adding rice cereal to baby formula
- Giving your baby more calories by adding a prescribed supplement
- Changing formula to milk- or soy-free formula if your baby may have an allergy
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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
Tip 1 For Nighttime Heartburn Relief: Elevate Head And Chest
For people who sleep on their back, heartburn symptoms may occur if stomach acid leaks from the stomach back into the esophagus as they lay down. In these cases, one can try to reduce their symptoms by using gravity and elevating the head and chest higher than the lower abdomen.
Using specifically designed wedge pillows is one way to keep the upper body more upright during the night. Alternatively, you can try raising the upper half of the bed slightly by safely placing cinder blocks, bricks, or wood beams under the head of the bed.
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Can I Choke In My Sleep From Acid Reflux
Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a condition marked by repeated episodes of acid reflux that can affect your quality of life. Most patients with GERD experience an increase in severity of heartburn symptoms while sleeping or attempting to sleep. Beyond just heartburn, if the stomach acid backs up into the esophagus and far enough to reach the throat and larynx, you may wake up coughing and choking at night.
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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