Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition wherein the stomach contents move up the esophagus, the tube that brings food and liquid to the stomach. Stomach contents rising through the esophagus is often described as a feeling of acid rising in the throat.
GERD can cause discomfort in the daytime and affect your sleep at night. Let’s take a look at how to recognize GERD and what you can do to manage it for better sleep.
How to Recognize GERD
Many people experience acid reflux occasionally, but GERD is chronic. Common symptoms of GERD include:
- Regurgitation of food or liquid
- Chest pain
- Sore throat
- A feeling of a lump or acid in your throat
- Nighttime cough, laryngitis or worsening asthma
Your ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist will likely diagnose your GERD based on your symptoms, medical history and a physical examination. To confirm their diagnosis, your ENT specialist may perform one or more of the following tests:
- Upper endoscopy
- Ambulatory acid probe test
- X-ray of the digestive system
- Esophageal manometry
- Transnasal esophagoscopy
Home Remedies and Lifestyle Changes for Better Sleep
Antacids are an effective short-term method for GERD management but should not be overused. Mild cases of GERD may be able to be managed through home remedies and lifestyle changes, including:
- Eat early. Make sure to wait at least three hours after a meal before going to bed. This will reduce the likelihood that you will experience nighttime reflux.
- Choose the right foods. Alcohol, chocolate, caffeine, fatty foods and peppermint are common triggers for GERD. Consider switching your afternoon cup of coffee for a warm ginger tea from Mrs. Robinson’s Tea Shop.
- Eat slowly. Fast eating can increase your risk of GERD. Take slow bites and chew thoroughly before swallowing.
- Wear loose clothes. Tightly fitting clothes can put pressure on your abdomen and lower esophageal sphincter, exacerbating GERD. Opt for loose-fitting pajamas for a better night’s sleep.
- Elevate your bed. Putting cinder blocks or other level, firm objects under the head of your bed to raise your head by six to nine inches may reduce heartburn while sleeping.
Severe cases of GERD may require prescription medication or surgical options. Contact Pinnacle ENT Associates today to discuss your GERD symptoms with one of our specialists.