Is GERD Keeping You Up at Night?

Causes of GERD

While many Canadians experience occasional heartburn or regurgitation, these symptoms are frequent in persons with GERD who are not receiving adequate treatment. Acid reflux is responsible for the majority of the symptoms and/or damage to the esophagus.

The main symptoms are persistent heartburn and acid regurgitation. Some people have GERD without heartburn.

I recently bought the book Dr. Koufman’s Acid Reflux Diet for recipes that won’t cause heartburn. Acid reflux is the name for what happens when stomach acid makes its way up into the esophagus. Most often it’s because the lower esophageal sphincter, a muscle valve that is supposed to keep stomach acid where it belongs-in your stomach- isn’t working properly. While most people experience occasional acid reflux, some people may develop a more serious form of acid problems. This is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

There are several ways to approach the evaluation and management of GERD. The approach depends primarily on the frequency and severity of symptoms, the adequacy of the response to treatment, and the presence of complications.

waking up coughing acid reflux

Treatment from a GP

If there was no reflux at the time of symptoms, then reflux is unlikely to be the cause of the symptoms. The amount of time that the esophagus contains acid is determined by a test called a 24-hour esophageal pH test. (pH is a mathematical way of expressing the amount of acidity.) For this test, a small tube (catheter) is passed through the nose and positioned in the esophagus. On the tip of the catheter is a sensor that senses acid. The other end of the catheter exits from the nose, wraps back over the ear, and travels down to the waist, where it is attached to a recorder.

As mentioned above, body weight is a significant factor in promoting reflux of stomach acid, and weight reduction is helpful. Being overweight also contributes to acid reflux; if you are overweight, it would help to lose weight. Large meals at one time are troublesome, and so three or four equal, small feedings are preferable to one or two large meals. One should not eat for 2 or 3 hours before bedtime; it is advisable not to lie down right after eating. GERD. This condition is most often due to excess acid.

How Can I Prevent Symptoms of GERD?

  • It also is believed that patients with Barrett’s esophagus should receive maximum treatment for GERD to prevent further damage to the esophagus.
  • This helps acts as a barrier to stomach acid, reducing the burning feeling.
  • This recommendation is based on the belief that surgery is more effective than endoscopic surveillance or ablation of the abnormal tissue followed by treatment with acid-suppressing drugs in preventing both the reflux and the cancerous changes in the esophagus.
  • It plays a very important role in digestion and overall gut health.
  • Pain results from the irritating effects of stomach acid on the inner esophagus wall, which does not have the same natural protection from acid that exists in the stomach lining.
  • Depending on what triggered your acid reflux, water can sometimes help.

Doctors often prescribe proton pump inhibitors such as Dexlansoprazole (Dexilant), Esomeprazole (Nexium), and Lansoprazole (Prevacid). These reduce the production of stomach acids, so that fluids from the stomach that do back up into the esophagus are less corrosive. Another option is prokinetic agents.

Acid reflux happens when stomach acids travel back up into the food pipe, or esophagus, irritating its lining. Dietary factors often contribute to acid reflux.

If you’re one of them, don’t worry. You can also sleep propped up by raising the head of your bed. Insert books or blocks under the head of your bed to raise it up. This will allow you to sleep lying down, with your normal pillow, while still keeping your stomach elevated.

This creates a tight band. This strengthens the LES and greatly decreases reflux. Esophageal manometry.

For me, that would be tomatoes. And coffee. And red wine. (By the way, here’s how alcohol affects sleep.) Besser and Huber both advise limiting the intake of foods and beverages that you know give you heartburn-not just at night, but all the time.

Smoking can weaken the valve in your throat, leading to acid reflux and heartburn. Identifying acid reflux can be tricky, as many of the symptoms are not obvious, and can be easily mistaken for something else, like a heart attack or common cold. However, if left untreated, acid reflux can cause esophagitis, a painful irritation of the esophagus that can lead to bleeding, ulcers and scarring in the esophagus. There are several ways to significantly reduce the occurrence of acid reflux symptoms, and in most cases prevent the acid reflux before it starts. With less acid reflux episodes, there is less chance of esophageal damage.

Finally, we’ll go through the ways that you can prevent acid reflux, and how you can relieve it. PPIs work by blocking an enzyme necessary for acid secretion and have the best effect when taken on an empty stomach, a half-hour to one hour before the first meal of the day. PPIs include omeprazole (Losec®), lansoprazole (Prevacid®), pantoprazole sodium (Pantoloc®), esomeprazole (Nexium®), rabeprazole (Pariet®), and pantoprazole magnesium (Tecta®). Dual delayed release PPI capsules, in the form of dexlansoprazole (Dexilant®), deliver the medication at two intervals. PPIs have emerged as the most effective therapy for relieving symptoms and improving quality of life, as well as healing and preventing damage to the esophagus in persons with GERD.

WO In nighttime reflux, there is a continuing interest particularly in individuals who may be considered “asymptomatic” but have “silent reflux.” In other words, these individuals have reflux at night but have no obvious symptoms of heartburn. Because their nighttime reflux disturbs their sleep, the primary manifestation in many of these individuals is sleep complaint/disturbance.

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- January 8, 2020

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