I sleep on a wedge pillow, I don't eat three hours before bedtime, I take 75 mg Zantac at 9PM - I go to sleep at about midnight. Then, bam, during the night I awaken with that "yuck" taste in my mouth, sometimes with a pounding heart and other times with just a little anxiety. Why would this happen only during sleep - as during the day I taste no acid, have no problem. What could this be?
Sleep specialists know that there is a correlation between GERD and sleep apnea (a condition in which breathing stops or becomes very shallow when sleeping)...this has been established in studies. What hasn't been established is which comes first, the apnea or the gerd.
Some people think that gerd wakes up the person up at night...but it's probably be the other way around. When a person stops breathing for periods of time when they sleep, or if their breathing is very shallow, the oxygen level in the blood drops causing the body to wake up and start breathing again (often with rapid heavy breathing). This can go on many, many, many times during the night (I stopped breathing 37 times per hour and woke up 33 of those times but was unaware I was doing this). Some researchers theorize when the body attemps to catch its breath, the heavy breathing results in a damaged upper airway and an impaired swallowing reflux which would prevent holding back the acid. However, at this point it is only a theory which is currently being studied.
What's fact is that treatment of sleep apnea (with a cpap) often results in improving gerd symptoms...theory is that the air pressure used to keep the airway open for breathing, puts pressure on the thorax preventing the acid from coming up from the stomach. My GERD disappeared completely after cpap treatment...I don't get it in the day either (except for that short bout with the bp med, ). Perhaps the pressure on my thorax at night was enough to give my body time to heal. Who knows? All I know is that it is no longer a problem.
When you are upright, gravity is helping keep it all down.
If you can sleep on your left side there is a slope in your upper GI above the stomach that must be overcome in order to reflux.. but, it is nothing like being on your feet. Lying down any other way allows for the stomach acid to freely travel and flux all up and down your upper GI track.
That is the reason it is worse when you lie down, that your should stay upright at least an hour after your eat, and that the left side is the optimum sleeping position.
If we learn by our mistakes, I am working on one hell of an education.
Beth, I wonder if the cpap could actually be used to treat GERDS even in the absents of apnea. I wouldn't think that there would be any side effects from using the device exept possibly a dry mouth. My dad has used one of these for something like 25 years. He had the problem so bad that they only kept him at the sleep study for about 30 minutes before waking him up and sending him home.
I don't see why there wouldn't be a reason either---the pressures would have to be set by a qualified person, but the equipment could be rented long enough to determine if it was beneficial. I doubt that a person who didn't have sleelp apnea would have side effects given the equipment was properly fitted (afterall, it is just ordinary "room" air). I use a nasal mask and do not experience a dry mouth but it's taken some time to get a proper fit and sometimes allergens interfer.
I suspect some docs are a little concerned about losing a BIG portion of their business...do ya think?
MG, Can you do that? I went to a home medical equipment supplier for "supplies" (hose, filters) and they wouldn't sell me the stuff without a rx...although, now that I think about it, I did get it online without a rx.