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Why Do I Have Bad Heartburn At Night

Why Does The Sphincter Weaken

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

Various factors may make the lower esophageal sphincter weaker or cause it to relax at times when it should stay closed.

According to the

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology , a person can ease acid reflux they experience when trying to sleep by:

  • elevating the head of the bed 6â8 inches
  • avoiding lying down 2â3 hours after a meal
  • eating smaller meals more frequently and not eating heavy meals before bedtime

The side of the body on which a person sleeps may also make a difference. A found sleeping on the left side alleviates acid reflux.

What Are The Main Symptoms Of Gerd

The main symptoms are persistent heartburn and acid regurgitation. Some people have GERD without heartburn. Instead, they experience pain in the chest, hoarseness in the morning or trouble swallowing. You may feel like you have food stuck in your throat, or like you are choking or your throat is tight. GERD can also cause a dry cough and bad breath.

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
  • losing weight if you are overweight
  • eating small meals
  • 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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Does Acid Reflux Develop Suddenly

Pam from Houston Sent us this question: These acid reflux symptoms came over me suddenly. I am slim and eat very healthy. Never have digestion issues.

I am seeing a Chiropractor for adjustments for a spinal compression injury, which has finally taken its toll . Sciatica/Piriformis pain.

Two nights ago, pain was so relentless I took severe measures: stacking pillows high under my ankles to butt, with head lying down lower on a small neck pillow.

Next day: Sour taste in mouth, burning, nauseated feeling from throat to stomach and sharp pain from middle of back to stomach. Swallowing difficulty. Just feel like I need to throw up.

Dear Pam:

Acid reflux is a chronic and progressive disease. GERD symptoms start mild and barely noticeable. Initially, you may feel some heartburn after a heavy or spicy meal. You may experience occasional food regurgitation when bending over or when sleeping at night. With time, however, symptoms like heartburn, cough, sore throat and food regurgitation increase in intensity and frequency. GERD symptoms become independent of food intake. At this stage, you may develop heartburn just by drinking water or without eating anything.

Why Do I Have More Acid Reflux At Night And Keep Getting Heartburn At Night

What Causes Heartburn At Night : Why Does Heartburn Get ...

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.

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.

You’ll 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 don’t miss the problem foods as much as they thought they would.

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A Pharmacist Can Help With Heartburn And Acid Reflux

Speak to a pharmacist for advice if you keep getting heartburn.

They can recommend medicines called antacids that can help ease your symptoms.

It’s best to take these with food or soon after eating, as this is when you’re most likely to get heartburn. They may also work for longer if taken with food.

What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Gerd

bad heartburn at night, heartburn at night can’t sleep

Often, people who have GERD notice that they regularly have the pain of heartburn in the chest or stomach. This can last up to a couple of hours. Many notice their heartburn is worse after eating.

Regurgitation when food and liquid containing stomach acid comes back up into the throat or mouth is also a sign of GERD. But, like heartburn, occasional regurgitation is common for everyone.

Other symptoms of GERD include:

  • a sore, raw throat or hoarse voice
  • a frequent sour taste of acid, especially when lying down
  • a feeling of burping acid into the mouth
  • trouble swallowing

Also Check: How To Get Rid Of Heartburn At Home

Read Also: Does Sparkling Water Cause Heartburn

What To Do If Heartburn Is Severe Or Frequent

For mild, occasional heartburn, over-the-counter medications such as antacids and histamine blockers can help relieve symptoms. Always read the product label before taking an antacid or histamine blocker and never take a larger dose or take doses more frequently than directed.

If you’re experiencing heartburn frequently, consult your doctor before taking heartburn medications regularly since these drugs can interfere with many other medications and affect underlying health conditions you may have.

If you have severe heartburn, as well as if it persists or worsens after taking steps to relieve it, consult your doctor. In some cases, heartburn can be a sign of an underlying condition, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease , or possibly a side effect of a medication you’re taking.

Why Do I Get Heartburn When I Havent Eaten

If you visit a doctor to talk about your heartburn, one of the first things they will ask is your diet.

As most people know and what we constantly mention, heartburn is often caused by what you eat and what you drink, so your doctor wants to be sure you are eating a diet that wont provoke any additional symptoms before moving into treatment options.

If youre getting heartburn without eating anything, here are some of the reasons:

Recommended Reading: Foods To Eat To Relieve Heartburn

What Do I Do If I Think I Have Gerd

With GERD when reflux and heartburn happen more than once in a while the tissue lining your esophagus is getting battered regularly with stomach acid. Eventually the tissue becomes damaged. If you have this chronic acid reflux and heartburn you can see its affecting your daily eating and sleeping habits.

When GERD makes your daily life uncomfortable in this way, call your healthcare provider. Although GERD isnt life-threatening in itself, its chronic inflammation of the esophagus can lead to something more serious. You may need stronger prescription medications or even surgery to ease your symptoms.

Sleep On Your Left Side

Why Do I Have a Sore Throat Only at Night?

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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When To Connect With Health Care Provider

Dr. Graf said if these tips dont get your symptoms under control, or if youre experiencing regurgitation, you should talk to your primary care provider or a gastroenterologist. Its important to get treatment because GERD symptoms arent just uncomfortable. Acid can damage the lining of your esophagus. And over time that damage can lead to a condition called Barretts esophagus, which makes it more likely that you could develop esophageal cancer.

To put together a treatment plan, your doctor may start with an upper endoscopy. Thats a procedure where youre sedated, and a surgeon puts a scope through your mouth and into your esophagus and stomach to see if the acid has caused any damage. If theres no damage, you can likely have follow-up endoscopies when you have your colonoscopies. You can try prescription medications to control your GERD symptoms.

If your esophagus is damaged or inflamed, or if medication doesnt get your symptoms under control, your doctor may recommend surgery. Surgical treatments for GERD are very effective. They can give you significant relief and halt the progression of GERD, Dr. Graf said.

What Causes Acid Reflux

Acid reflux is caused by weakness or relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter . Normally this valve closes tightly after food enters your stomach. If it relaxes when it shouldnt, your stomach contents rise back up into the esophagus.

Stomach acids flow back up into the esophagus, causing reflux.

Factors that can lead to this include:

  • Too much pressure on the abdomen. Some pregnant women experience heartburn almost daily because of this increased pressure.
  • Particular types of food and eating habits.
  • Medications that include medicines for asthma, high blood pressure and allergies as well as painkillers, sedatives and anti-depressants.
  • A hiatal hernia. The upper part of the stomach bulges into the diaphragm, getting in the way of normal intake of food.

Read Also: Is Acid Reflux The Same As Heartburn

Check If You Have Acid Reflux

The main symptoms of acid reflux are:

  • heartburn a burning sensation in the middle of your chest
  • an unpleasant sour taste in your mouth, caused by stomach acid

You may also have:

  • a cough or hiccups that keep coming back
  • a hoarse voice

Your symptoms will probably be worse after eating, when lying down and when bending over.

Other Causes Of Morning Heartburn

Living with Acid Reflux : How to Treat Nighttime Acid Reflux

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
  • Onions
  • 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.

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Right Side: Its Not Right For Acid Reflux

Position #2 to avoid at night is sleeping on your right side.

When lying 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, leading to regurgitation, coughing, and choking, which can be very devastating 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 longer.

A study showed that people who sleep on their right side get an earlier diagnosis of GERD when they have it than those who sleep on their left, which is telling on how severe nocturnal GERD symptoms are when a person sleeps on their right side.

Can I Die From Acid Reflux In My Sleep

Acid Reflux every now and then is not a cause for concern, however, if it is becoming more frequent , it is a sign of GERD and you should check in with your doctor. According to the American Cancer Society, patients with GERD have a slightly increased risk of permanent damage to the esophagus and can also lead to a condition called Barretts esophagus which can increase your risk for developing esophageal cancer. In short, you are not going to die from acid reflux in your sleep. However, if acid reflux occurs frequently and is left untreated, it can lead to higher likelihood of developing serious or life threatening complications such as esophagitis, ulcers, aspiration pneumonia, and Barretts esophagus.

Thankfully, you can act now. There are many ways to treat and prevent acid reflux, such as you can try to pinpoint your reflux triggers and avoid them as much as possible. You can also try to avoid eating meals late at night . If symptoms continue to persist, you may turn to over-the-counter medications that neutralize stomach acid , decrease stomach acid production , or heal the esophagus .

Because many people find GERD to be worse around bedtime, focusing on how to sleep with GERD may help reduce symptoms and improve sleep. Continue reading to learn more!

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Heres How To Control Your Symptoms

When your symptoms flare up, there are a few things you can try:

  • Avoid foods that trigger your heartburn, especially in the afternoon or evening
  • Elevate the head of your bed to enlist gravity to help fight regurgitation
  • Take over-the-counter antacids like Tums or Rolaids, or acid suppressors such as Prilosec, Nexium, or Pepcid

Maintain A Moderate Weight

Heartburn: Ease symptoms of acid reflux by quitting ...

Obesity or overweight can influence the frequency of experiencing acid reflux. This is because extra weight, especially around the abdomen, can put pressure on the stomach and lead to acid spilling up into the esophagus.

Sometimes weight loss can help reduce symptoms. Speak to your doctor to see if they recommend this.

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Try Sleeping On Your Left Side

Gastroesophageal reflux disease occurs when the upper portion of the digestive tract is not functioning properly, causing stomach contents to flow back into the esophagus. The esophagus is a muscular tube linking the mouth to the stomach. In normal digestion, a specialized ring of muscle at the bottom of the esophagus called the lower esophageal sphincter opens to allow food to pass into the stomach and then quickly closes to prevent backflow into the esophagus. The LES can malfunction, allowing contents from the stomach, including food and digestive juices, such as hydrochloric acid, to push up into the esophagus. In GERD, this backflow is ongoing.

When you are standing, or sitting upright, gravity helps prevent stomach contents from rising up into the esophagus. However, reflux can become much worse while you are sleeping or lying in bed without the aid of gravity, it is much easier for stomach contents to spill through the malfunctioning LES and flow into the esophagus. This leads to an increase in symptoms, such as a burning in the chest, the feeling of food or liquid rising into the mouth, a sour or bitter taste, a sore throat, and coughing, which can make getting a good nights sleep a difficult task.

First published in the Inside Tract® newsletter issue 201 2017

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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.

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