Sleep Disorders, Sleep Remedies & Insomnia Relief


Sleeping and Heartburn: How to Treat this Condition

Gastro esophageal reflux, or heartburn, is recognized by burning chest pain. Another typical symptom is a sensation of food coming back into the mouth with a bitter, acidic taste. This disorder can also be accompanied by asthmatic breathing, coughing and hoarseness. Occasionally, gastro esophageal reflux can mimic the symptoms of a heart attack, and is often mistaken for one. This disorder is caused by acid "backing up" into the esophagus during sleep. This is easily treatable with medication.

Most people can control heartburn by making a few changes in their lifestyle and habits. It's especially important to cut back on things such as chocolate, alcohol, coffee, fried foods, and other items that have a tendency to weaken the seal between the stomach and the esophagus. You can also ease some of your pain by avoiding foods that irritate an already inflamed esophagus, such as tomato sauces, citrus fruits and juices, peppers and spicy foods. If you're a smoker, you should consider quitting. It would be the healthiest thing to do at this time. And if you're overweight, loosing a few pounds can save you a lot of unnecessary pain.

If heartburn tends to strike you at night, try raising the head of your bed by four to six inches. One way to do this is to place blocks under the frame at the head of the bed. Some stores such as “Bed, Bath, and Beyond” sell bed raisers to do just this. This will make physics work for you. Gravity will help keep acid in your stomach. For the same reason, you should also wait at least two to three hours after dinner before lying down to bed. This is a good thing do to help you loose weight as well. If your food is digested, there is nothing to go back into the esophagus.

Over-the-counter antacids such as Rolaids, Tums, or Maalox can provide quick relief from heartburn. You can push off future attacks by taking one of several drugstore remedies that slow down the flow of acid, including Tagamet, Zantac, Pepcid, and Axid. If heartburn is a recurring problem, talk to your doctor. He can help you find the remedy that's right for you. You want something that will work long term, not just when it happens. You want to avoid it from happening to begin with.

If your attacks are strong, you may need stronger medicine. Your doctor may want to give you prescription-strength doses of over-the-counter medicine, or a powerful dose of acid-fighters known as proton pump inhibitors. These drugs, including Nexium, Protonix, and many others, shut down acid production in the stomach and can bring dramatic relief.

If medications and lifestyle changes aren't enough to control your heartburn, you may need an operation -- called fundoplication. This operation bolsters the barrier between the stomach and the esophagus. The surgery is considered a last resort, but it cures up to 90% of cases. The operation can now be performed through a tiny incision. The procedure causes relatively little pain and doesn't require a long hospital stay.

Other treatments may also be available. Several procedures are being used and researched for the treatment of gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD). One of these procedures uses radio waves to tighten the muscular valve between the esophagus and stomach and reduce symptoms of GERD.

For quick treatment of heartburn or other stomach acid problems, try drinking a glass of milk. You can also eat a piece of bread. This will help either absorb the excess acid or neutralize it. This does not work for everyone, but it may be the quick fix you need to get to sleep. If this technique works for you, it could save you hundreds of dollars a year on medicines and doctor visits.

Proper treatment of heartburn and other related problems can help you avoid outbreaks in the future. Heartburn when you are trying to sleep can be one of the most unpleasant things. It can ruin your whole night. You will wake up feeling nauseated, tired, grouchy, and sick. This is not good. Take care of this problem now and it will save you a lot of pain and sleep in the future.

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