Are GERD Symptoms Worse In The Morning?

GERD is short for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. GERD affects digestion and occurs due to a weakness in the lower esophageal sphincter.  The ring of muscle between the esophagus and stomach opens allowing stomach contents to travel back up to the throat. It can be caused by a hiatal hernia.

Symptoms include; acid reflux, chest pain, dysphagia, cough, sore throat, lump in your throat and a sour taste.  Often GERD symptoms can mimic those of a heart attack so if you have chest pain you should seek medical advice. Diet and lifestyle changes can help relieve the symptoms and in worse cases medication can help.

Night Time GERD

GERD can occur at any time during the day or night.  If you suffer during the day it is much easier to manage. This is because you are more mobile and can treat the symptoms immediately.  At night you are lying horizontal making it much more difficult to manage.  Sufferers either find it difficult to sleep due to acid reflux or wake with a bitter taste and stomach acid in their mouths.  Studies have found that the length of time it takes to fall asleep has a great impact on symptoms.  If you lie awake for a long time before sleeping you are more likely to suffer from GERD.

Getting A Good Night’s Sleep

Sleep is very important in terms of health and well-being.  A good night’s sleep results in life being better in general.  Gerd sufferers often encounter restless nights and wake up numerous times.  Ironically lack of sleep can exacerbate GERD symptoms while the condition makes shut eye more difficult.  A good bedtime routine is essential to combat the effects of the condition at night.  Avoid eating before bedtime, relax, make sure your bedroom is tidy and relaxing.  You may find that plumping up your pillows will help by keeping your body propped up while you are in bed.  If you are still awake after 20 minutes of going to bed - get up and wait until you feel tired.

Treatments

If left untreated GERD can lead to much more serious conditions including cancer.  There are a number of ways to combat the condition including; avoid chocolate, alcohol and caffeine, overeating, food and drink up to three hours before bedtime.  If you still experience symptoms over the counter antacids may help.  Proton Pump Inhibitors are a prescription medication used to treat GERD and acid reflux.  They work by reducing the amount of acid in our stomach.  If lifestyle changes and medication don’t work there are surgical options.  Endoscopic stapling is used to reduce acid production in the stomach while Nissen fundoplication tightens up the area where the stomach and the esophagus meet.

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