Learn why elevating the head of your bed should be your first line of defense against gastric reflux disease. Tommy Stern, founder, and CEO of Reflux Guard®, wrote this guest post. Reflux Guard® is one of RefluxMD’s sponsors whose support enables us to bring our message to you.
I wrote an article called, The Mechanics of Acid Reflux, that outlines the causes of gastric reflux disease. After completing this, I started exploring the different ways to relieve acid reflux. While doing my research, I soon realized that there was one consistency with all the remedies that doctors recommend for relief. Each prescribed measures that focused specifically on preventing stomach acid from physically entering the esophagus, which is what causes the damage and/or pain.
Learn more: GERD explained: The role of the LES
But before I go further, I would like to share with you my story.
My experience with LPR
For weeks I suffered from severe LPR, and my sleep was constantly interrupted with painful episodes of nocturnal reflux. I regularly woke up choking on stomach contents and burning all the way up to my sinuses, which even reached my teeth! So I went to my doctor for help.
Though my doctor didn’t emphasize the benefits of elevating the head of your bed strongly, he did include it in a long list of remedies that he gave me.
To my dismay, it was the last remedy I tried – three years later! Immediately after trying it, I found this solution to be an absolute game-changer. Had I known then what I know now, lifting the head of my bed would have been the very first thing I tried.
Common recommendations for GERD patients
Now back to my original premise:
These are the various recommendations that the doctor makes to patients with acid reflux:
- Dietary changes: Lose weight, don’t overeat and don’t lie down for 3 hours after eating. Doing these things take pressure off the lower esophageal sphincter (LES).
- Avoid trigger foods: Certain foods relax the LES, thereby allowing acid into the esophagus. Avoid those foods that trigger your symptoms as much as possible.
- Over the counter antacids: These inexpensive and readily available medications like Gaviscon and Tums can help temporarily relieve reflux symptoms.
- Acid reducing medications: These kinds of medication lower the acidity of the stomach, which reduces pain when reflux occurs. However, even on medication, nighttime reflux episodes can still cause choking. Additionally, it has been recently reported that PPI medications increase the risk of heart attacks.
- Surgery: There are many types, but all aim to tighten the LES, so more pressure is needed to breach the barrier into the esophagus.
- Bed elevation: Lifting the head of the bed makes gravity work in your favor and helps keep acid in the stomach. If there is an episode of reflux, studies show the acid drains back into the stomach more quickly, thereby reducing pain and damage.
What do all the above points have in common? The main goal is to keep the acid in the stomach and away from the esophagus or further up.
The occasional sufferer might only need some Tums or Gaviscon, while chronic sufferers may need to do many of the above-mentioned recommendations in concert.
An important note: There is a condition called LPR, or silent reflux, where you don’t even know your esophagus is being severely damaged. An under the bed wedge like the Reflux Guard can prevent unnecessary damage.
Why lifting the head of the bed should be the first line of defense against gastric reflux disease
If you’ve been recently diagnosed with acid reflux, you might start with losing weight and being careful of what you eat, when you eat, how much you eat, and what food combinations you use. Your doctor might recommend medications as needed. Surgery is generally considered last resort. As a rule, many physicians recommend to try the least invasive, least powerful remedies first.
Why do I say that lifting the head of the bed, using the best mattress bed wedge, should be the first thing any chronic sufferer should do?
Just look at the list above. Which looks easiest to implement and has the lowest risk of side effects? Lifting the head of the bed! That’s why I created the Reflux Guard® Mattress Wedge. Reflux Guard® is easy to install – you install it once and don’t have to worry about it again – and it lifts the head of the bed approximately 6”.
What confirmation do I have that proves that Reflux Guard® is best way to go? Well, Reflux Guard® ended my suffering from acid reflux and allowed me to get restful sleep again. I have been sleeping on the same one for over 10 years!
Learn more at www.RefluxGuard.com and please SHARE with your friends.