Wednesday, August 29

How To Prevent Nighttime Heartburn

Nearly eight in ten heartburn sufferers experience symptoms at night. If staying up all night isn't the option you are prepared to take for handling your nighttime heartburn, the following suggestions should help you.

1. Eat your big meal at lunch instead of at dinnertime.
2. Eat at least two to three hours before lying down. Eliminate late-night snacking.
3. Avoid foods that are known to lead to heartburn.
4. Sleep with your head and shoulder on an incline.


1. It is beneficial to eat 4 or 5 smaller meals instead of 3 larger ones. This will also reduce the gastric pressure. Also, certain foods increase acid production and gastric pressure or they loosen the lower sphincter muscle. You will also want to avoid foods that can irritate the lining of the esophagus, such as spicy foods, coffee, citrus fruit and juices. This is especially true if you eat any of these foods at dinnertime because they can increase your chances of having nighttime heartburn.

2. The position you sleep in is important. Lying down flat presses the stomach's contents against the LES. With the head higher than the stomach, gravity helps reduce this pressure, and keeps stomach contents where they belong--in the stomach. You can elevate your head in a couple of ways. You can place bricks, blocks or anything that's sturdy securely under the legs at the head of your bed. You can also use a wedge-shaped pillow to elevate your head.

3. Just as loose fitting clothing is important during the day, heartburn sufferers need to make sure their bed clothes are also loose. Clothing that fits tightly around the abdomen will squeeze the stomach, forcing food up against the LES, and cause food to reflux into the esophagus. Clothing that can cause problems include tight-fitting belts and slenderizing undergarments.

4. Take an antacid before going to bed. Antacids will work very quickly on heartburn you may be experiencing before you go to bed. It can also be used for those heartburn episodes that wake you up during the night if the heartburn comes back. For longer relief a H2 blocker can be taken, as they usually work up to 12 hours, but may take a couple of hours to start working. One option is to combine the two. The antacid will provide quick relief you'll need until the H2 blocker starts working.

5. If you continue to experience frequent heartburn symptoms at night, see your health care provider. He or she will be able to diagnose whether you are suffering from just occasional heartburn, or something more serious, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, an ulcer, or a hiatal hernia. You will be able to discuss with your health care provider different treatment options, including medications such as proton pump inhibitors.

Thursday, August 23

Nighttime Heartburn May Be Dangerous

Why is heartburn more dangerous at night? There are several reasons this may be the case, and why heartburn sufferers should take precautions.

When symptoms of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) occur at night, they can be more damaging than those same symptoms during the day. If you are a GERD sufferer, you know how your symptoms can cause problems, such as the pain and the irritation. When you sleep at night, your body is less prepared to deal with these symptoms, and less able to prevent possible lasting damage. While we know from experience that acid reflux at night can disrupt our sleep, we also need to understand the other potentially harmful factors that can make nighttime heartburn more likely to cause damage.

These factors include:

* Sleeping in a supine position.
Laying flat in bed allows stomach acid to flow more easily into the esophagus, and stay there more longer periods of time then when a person is in an upright position.Even elevating the head and shoulders 6 to 8 inches will help keep stomach acid where it belongs, in the stomach.

* We can't drink or swallow every time an acid reflux episode occurs when sleeping.
When GERD sufferers are awake and there's an episode of acid reflux, they often will rinse their mouth or swallow some liquid. Even swallowing saliva helps. When asleep, once the refluxed acid is in the esophagus or throat, the sufferer isn't always aware of it, and thus doesn't take steps to rinse the acid away.

* There's an increased risk of choking on refluxed stomach contents.
If refluxed acid is in the throat and mouth, a GERD sufferer can inhale this into their lungs. Once in the lungs, it can cause a GERD sufferer to cough and choke on this aspirated material. The acid can also cause the same damage to the lungs as it can cause when refluxed into the esophagus.

Anyone who is troubled with nighttime GERD symptoms should talk to their doctor. There are medications that can help control the acid reflux. The doctor can also discuss preventive measures a GERD sufferers can use to help prevent damage that can occur with nighttime reflux.

Tuesday, August 21

Acid Reflux Wedge Pillows

Acid Reflux happens when the liquid contents of your stomach reflux up into the esophagus. Many people suffer from nighttime acid reflux because when you lay down, the contents in your stomach is more likely to flow right into the esophagus since gravity is no longer helping to keep it down. If the liquid, which contains acid, stays long enough in the esophagus, it can cause damage to the lining of the esophagus. The contents of the stomach may even cause damage to the vocal cords or cause tooth decay. It can also irritate the throat which can cause coughing and sleepless nights.

There are many treatments to help with acid reflux disease, such as lifestyle changes, over the counter medications, or even surgery for severe cases. The acid reflux wedge pillow is one way to help prevent acid reflux from happening at night while you are sleeping. Sleeping at an incline 6 to 8 inches up on a acid reflux wedge pillow positions your body in a way that makes it difficult for the contents of your stomach to flow up into your esophagus. Gravity helps keep it down just as if you were standing up.

Infants and children with acid reflux can also benefit from an acid reflux wedge pillow. Since there are many concerns about SIDS, it is now recommended that children sleep either on their side or back. Children that sleep on their back are just as likely to suffer from acid reflux as adults. Some acid reflux wedge pillows especially made for infants and children have a harness like feature to keep them in place on the pillow. Some acid reflux wedge pillows are available for children with side barriers giving you the option to lay your child on his or her side.

A wedge pillow for acid reflux offers great relief for those who suffer from acid reflux disease. Using the acid reflux wedge pillow and other treatments together can help you to get that great night sleep you have been looking for.

Sunday, August 12

Acid Reflux Disease in Infants & Babies

Acid reflux in infants is very common. At least half of all infants are born with some degree of reflux simply from immaturity of the the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The LES is a valve at the bottom of the esophagus which opens to let food and liquids into your stomach and then closes again so it doesn't come back out. Acid reflux happens when this valve does not close properly, causing stomach contents to reflux back into the esophagus.