You’ve Got A Deviated Septum
Sometimes congestion can be the result of a structural issue in the nose that’s causing a physical blockage. “The most common anatomic issue is a deviated septum, which is when the cartilage that separates the two nostrils is pushed to one side or the other,” Dr. Anwar says.
Deviated septums are common, and they often go unnoticed, according to the Cleveland Clinic. But in addition to potentially causing congestion, in some cases, they can result in frequent headaches or facial pain, noisy breathing, nosebleeds or snoring, the Cleveland Clinic notes.
Fix it: If you think you have a deviated septum, bring it up with your doctor, who can refer you to an otolaryngologist. “They are uncommon causes of chronic nasal congestion, but should be ruled out when congestion is persistent or associated with other concerning symptoms,” Dr. Jang says.
What Is The Best Sleeping Position For Acid Reflux Sleeping With Gerd
Do you experience burning in your throat, regurgitation, choking, coughing, or heartburn during sleep? All of these may disturb your sleep throughout the night. But what could be the cause? Short answer: Stomach acid, when it escapes out of your stomach to the esophagus and sometimes even up into your lungs, throat, and sinuses.
People with acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease , usually experience these symptoms at night. If youre one of them, know that youre not alone. Its more common than you may expect. GERD affects up to 13% of the global population at least once a week. And, 25% of people with GERD experience poor sleep, which could be from nocturnal gastroesophageal reflux , a type of GERD, with the other being upright or daytime GERD.
Supine or nocturnal gastroesophageal reflux usually occurs when acid moves back up to a persons esophagus while lying down and mostly happens at night before or during sleep. This condition may cause sleep issues and prevent a person from getting a good nights rest.
Lets take a look into the sleep positions that may reduce your GERD symptoms and help you get a better nights sleep, as well as the sleep positions to avoid because they may aggravate your symptoms at night.
Can Gerd Cause Asthma
We dont know the exact relationship between GERD and asthma. More than 75% of people with asthma have GERD. They are twice as likely to have GERD as people without asthma. GERD may make asthma symptoms worse, and asthma drugs may make GERD worse. But treating GERD often helps to relieve asthma symptoms.
The symptoms of GERD can injure the lining of the throat, airways and lungs, making breathing difficult and causing a persistent cough, which may suggest a link. Doctors mostly look at GERD as a cause of asthma if:
- Asthma begins in adulthood.
- Asthma symptoms get worse after a meal, exercise, at night and after lying down.
- Asthma doesnt get better with standard asthma treatments.
If you have asthma and GERD, your healthcare provider can help you find the best ways to handles both conditions the right medications and treatments that wont aggravate symptoms of either disease.
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What Are Acid Reflux And Heartburn
Your esophagus contains a small muscle that constricts when youre not eating, keeping stomach acid from splashing out of your stomach back up into your esophagus. However, sometimes this muscle is weakened or doesnt work properly, allowing acid to move from the stomach into the esophagus. This is the cause of acid reflux and heartburn.
Acid reflux has a number of symptoms:
- Heartburn: a feeling of burning pain in the abdomen or chest that usually occurs after eating, while bending over or exercising, or when lying down.
- A sour-sweet and irritating feeling of acid splashing up into your esophagus
- Bitter taste in the mouth
- Difficulty swallowing, a feeling of something in your throat, and regurgitation
Note: Heartburn is not directly related to the heart, though pain can occur in the chest because of the location of the stomach and lower portion of the esophagus. However, severe heartburn and heart attack symptoms can sometimes be difficult to tell apart. If youre experiencing abnormally severe chest pain, its important to seek emergency medical attention especially if you have a personal or family history of heart disease.
Acid reflux and heartburn in the morning can be both a nuisance and moderately painful. However, if left untreated, they can also cause serious damage to your esophagus in some cases, this can even lead to esophageal cancer.
You Have Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Morning heartburn often happens when you have GERD .
This condition occurs when stomach acid travels up the esophagus, and the backwash burns your esophageal lining, according to the Mayo Clinic.
In people with GERD, the lower esophageal sphincter opens inappropriately, Dr. Sonpal says. In other words, when this sphincter is weakened or relaxes abnormally, it allows irritating acidic fluid from your stomach to flow back into your food pipe.
“The number one cause of GERD in America is obesity,” Dr. Sonpal says. That’s because excess weight can place pressure on the stomach, propelling its contents up into the esophagus.
Other common symptoms of GERD include, per the Mayo Clinic:
- New or worsening asthma
- Disrupted sleep
Fix it: If extra weight is exacerbating your GERD, speak to your doctor about healthy ways to lose a few pounds. Also, limiting acidic or spicy foods is a smart strategy to slash GERD symptoms such as heartburn.
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Reasons For Getting Heartburn Every Day
Heartburn that happens occasionally is considered normal, but when we start experiencing it daily, it becomes a major problem.
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Talk To Your Doctor About Finding The Right Medication
Certain medications can help keep your reflux symptoms to a minimum and prevent you from waking up with heartburn in the morning. However, as with any medication, there can be side effects, so its always a good idea to talk with your doctor before using anything to treat your symptoms, especially if you already use other medications.
In general, there are three kinds of medicine that are used to cut down on heartburn and reflux:
- Antacids: These often come in the form of chewable tablets that neutralize the acid in your stomach, and are best suited for calming symptoms as needed.
- H-2 Blockers: This type of medication slows the production of stomach acid, providing relief over a longer period rather than immediate symptom reduction.
- Proton pump inhibitors: PPIs are also used to reduce the production of stomach acid.
If you deal with frequent heartburn and acid reflux, you may be suffering from GERD. Before starting any kind of medication, be sure to talk to your doctor to decide what course of action might be best for you. Because medications can come with troubling side effects, it is also worth it to consider less invasive forms of relieving symptoms often, they can even be more effective.
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Big Meals And Eating Certain Foods
The occasional episode of acid reflux may also just be the result of a little more acid production than usual perhaps brought on by a particularly large meal or your sensitivity to certain foods.
And if you lie down before all your food is digested, you run the risk of having some of that excess acid leak through the sphincter.
Regardless of the cause of your acid reflux, lying down whether its at night or during the day is bound to worsen symptoms and prolong the time it will take your body to digest your food completely.
What Are The Complications Associated With Heartburn
Occasional heartburn isnt typically a cause for concern. However, frequent heartburn may be a symptom of GERD. This condition may require treatment with prescription medication or surgery.
If left untreated, GERD may lead to additional health problems, such as an inflammation of the esophagus, which is called esophagitis, or Barretts esophagus, according to a 2018 review . Barretts esophagus causes changes in the lining of the esophagus that can increase your risk of esophageal cancer.
Long-term heartburn can also affect your quality of life. See your doctor to determine a course of treatment if you find it difficult to carry on your daily life or are severely limited in your activities due to heartburn.
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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.
Americans Waking Up To Nighttime Heartburn
Aug. 24, 2000 — For many Americans, heartburn is more than an unpleasant sensation in the chest — it’s literally a nightmare. According to a new poll, nearly eight out of 10 heartburn sufferers have painful symptoms at night that keep most from falling asleep, or prompting them to wake up in the middle of the night. And 40% of the respondents say the problem slows them down the next day.
The numbers come from a survey done in the spring of this year by the Gallup Organization. It’s being billed as the most comprehensive look ever at nighttime heartburn. The poll was commissioned by the American Gastroenterological Association and paid for by a grant from Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, a maker of heartburn drugs.
To compile the results, pollsters found 1,000 people around the country who experienced heartburn at least once a week and asked them questions over the phone.
The net result is that researchers now believe nearly 50 million Americans suffer at least one episode of nighttime heartburn per week. Physicians worry that, beyond discomfort, this could lead to more serious problems that range from diminished performance on the job, to automobile accidents, and even a higher risk of cancer of the esophagus.
“Cancer of the esophagus can be and is related to heartburn and more likely in people who have nighttime heartburn than in those who have daytime heartburn,” said Donald Castell, MD, former president of the AGA at a news conference here Thursday.
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Reasons Not To Ignore Heartburn Symptoms
For most Americans, heartburn is just an occasional problem. Sixty million people get it at least once a month.
But for the 19 million people who have a chronic form of heartburn known as gastroesophageal reflux disease , untreated symptoms can lead to a variety of health complications.
If you experience frequent or extended heartburn , see your doctor. Here are nine reasons why you shouldnt ignore signs of GERD.
Esophagitis In GERD, food, acid and digestive juices flow back into the esophagus, the tube that connects the throat to the stomach. Over time, this causes irritation and swelling, known as esophagitis. If you have acid exposure in the esophagus for even as little as a few weeks, you can develop inflammation of the lining, says Anish Sheth, M.D., assistant professor of digestive diseases at Yale School of Medicine, in New Haven Conn. It can be very uncomfortable, even painful, and can leave the esophagus vulnerable to even more harmful erosion or scarring.
Esophageal stricture If esophagitis goes on too long, scar tissue can narrow the esophagus. Called a stricture, this can make it hard or painful to swallow. Large pieces of food can get stuck and may require endoscopy to remove them. You may also be at risk of choking, and you can lose too much weight if you avoid food and drinks because of a stricture.
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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?
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You Have Hiatal Hernia
Hiatal hernia can aggravate your morning heartburn too.
Hiatal hernia happens when the upper part of your stomach bulges through an opening in your diaphragm , according to the Mayo Clinic.
“The diaphragm provides a natural compression to the space between the esophagus and stomach,” Dr. Sonpal says. “It is the ‘backup’ if the lower esophageal sphincter fails,” he adds.
This failsafe mechanism usually falters when we age or gain too much weight, Dr. Sonpal says. In both cases, the natural compression of the diaphragm dissipates and loosens. And this leads to a damaging domino effect, causing the lower esophageal sphincter to become looser as well, he explains.
And, as we already know, when this sphincter muscle releases, food and acid may move back into your esophagus, resulting in a heap of heartburn.
In addition to heartburn and acid reflux, other signs of hiatal hernia may include, per the Mayo Clinic:
- Regurgitation of food or liquids into themouth
- Difficulty swallowing
- Feeling full soon after you eat
- Shortness of breath
- Vomiting of blood or passing of black stools,which may indicate gastrointestinal bleeding
Fix it: Because obesity is a major risk factor, working to maintain a healthy weight can help reduce your hiatal hernia and heartburn.
The Mayo Clinic also recommends the following lifestyle changes to manage symptoms of hiatal hernia:
You’ve Got A Sinus Infection
Plagued by morning congestion along with facial pain or tenderness, thick green or yellow snot and bad breath? Chances are, a sinus infection is the culprit. These infections, which often develop from a common cold or allergies, happen when bacteria, viruses, or fungi irritate the sinuses, causing them to swell and become blocked, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Fix it: Most sinus infections will clear up on their own within seven to 10 days, says Minyoung Jang, MD, assistant professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at Columbia University Medical Center in New York. In the meantime, you can find relief with natural remedies for sinus infections like a nasal saline rinse.
“While it does not cure the problem, it helps clear out any irritants inside the nose or sinuses, preventing buildup that can exacerbate symptoms,” Dr. Jang says.
But if you’re still dealing with symptoms after a week or two, call your doctor. You may have a bacterial sinus infection that needs to be treated with antibiotics.
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Is Nocturnal Awakening Preventable
While certain instances of nocturnal awakening due to health conditions or an individual’s natural sleep cycle may not be preventable, there are steps you can take before turning in for the night that may promote uninterrupted sleep. Limiting caffeine intake for several hours before bedtime can help encourage relaxation as the day comes to an end and may prevent nocturnal awakening. Taking a warm shower or bath or performing gentle stretching exercises before bed are good ways to relax before bed, which may help reduce episodes of nocturnal awakening caused by stress or anxiety. In cases where sleep disruptions affect an individual’s health or ability to function, physicians sometimes recommend treatment with prescription sleep-aid medications.
Serious Conditions That Mimic Heartburn
Heartburn-like pain is a common symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease . But several other conditions can cause a burning feeling in your chest.
Most of the time, your doctor will be able to identify whether you have heartburn or GERD by doing tests.
Here are nine other conditions that can cause heartburn-like pain.
1. AnginaAngina, or chest pain caused by lack of blood flow to the heart, can feel a lot like heartburn.âThe major key is if youâre getting heartburn when youâre doing strenuous or moderate activity,â says Dr. Ryan Madanick, a gastroenterologist and assistant professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, in Chapel Hill.
If youâre 50 or older and getting heartburnespecially if you havenât had this kind of pain beforeit can raise suspicion of angina. Suspicions can also be raised if youâre younger but have heart risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, or a family history of heart disease.
2. GallstonesAlthough gallstones donât always cause symptoms, a stone blocking your bile duct can hurt, usually in the middle or upper-right side of the abdomen.
Pain may be cramping, dull, or sharp, and often strikes minutes after you eat.
3. Stomach UlcerUlcers can cause a gnawing, burning sensation, usually felt in the upper abdomen. The pain can find its way up to the chest, Madanick says.
Certain anti-inflammatory drugs , and osteoporosis drugs called bisphosphonates, can also cause stomach ulcers.
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