If you have been experiencing heartburn, chest pains and/or difficulty in swallowing, you might probably be experiencing the uncomfortable symptoms of gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) or as it is more commonly known, acid reflux disease. Acid reflux disease is defined as chronic symptoms or mucosal damage that is produced by the abnormal reflux of gastric contents inside the esophagus. While this may seem like a common symptom that is experienced by a lot of people people, the discomfort that it brings is certainly not something that one might wish to live with or deal with for a very long time. It prevents people from enjoying or taking part in certain events because the pain that comes with it may range from moderate to severe. Thankfully, there are things that you can do to help prevent it or ease the discomfort that comes with it.
Positional therapy is one such strategy to help alleviate the occurrences of nighttime reflux episodes in people. In positional therapy, people are advised to sleep on ones left side. The head should also be elevated as well. You can do this by placing plastic or wooden bed risers that support bedposts, or sleep under a bed wedge pillow. There are also some specially designed mattresses with customized inflatable mattress lifters that one can purchase if desired. However, there are some innerspring mattresses that may cause back pain if inclined or elevated, so foam based mattresses are the preferred options. When elevating the head, it is critical to lift it up by at least 6 to 8 inches to prevent the flow of gastric fluids. If under medication, it is best to avoid food right before bedtime – doing this will greatly reduce the discomfort.
For heartburn relief, you must also be aware of your posture as well. For adults, slouching or slumping ones shoulders is an important factor that contributes to acid reflux disease. Standing this way indicates that there is no straight path between the stomach and the esophagus, so the muscles around the esophagus go into a spasm, blocking gas and acidity which leads to coughing and other asthma-like symptoms.
There are also several drugs that are registered as acid reflux medication. These can also work in combination with other medicines. Popping an antacid before meals or right after one experiences the early symptoms of acid reflux disease can help reduce the level of gastric acidity. In addition, antihistamines can also act as gastric H2 receptor blockers and reduce the gastric secretion of acid. Finally, Sucralfate or Carafate can help heal and prevent esophageal damage that is caused by acid reflux disease. Keep in though, you should remember to take it several times a day and at least two hours in between meals and other medications that you are supposed to take.