Acid reflux may be common, but this fact doesn’t make the condition any less unpleasant. Caused by stomach acid coming back up the oesophagus and into the mouth, it is often associated with heartburn, which is a burning chest pain that occurs after eating. Both of these problems are symptoms of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD). It’s thought that GORD is caused by a number of different factors, but the most common is the failure of a ring of muscle located towards the bottom of the oesophagus. This muscle should close to prevent acid from leaking out of the stomach, but in some cases, it remains partially open.
Of course, it’s one thing knowing what’s causing your acid reflux and heartburn and another actually tackling these issues. Luckily, there are some simple steps you can take that might help you to control the symptoms. Doctors usually recommend a step-by-step approach to treating GORD, and this is where adjustable beds can prove useful.
Changing your sleeping position
Acid reflux and heartburn can be especially problematic at night, but simply changing your sleeping position could address the problems. By raising the head of your bed by around 20cm, you might be able to improve your symptoms. However, bear in mind that health professionals warn against using extra pillows to elevate your upper body because this can increase pressure on your abdomen and actually make GORD worse.
A much better approach is to use an adjustable bed. This way, you can alter your sleeping position at the mere click of a button. If you think one of our adjustable beds could help you to control your symptoms, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly and professional team.
Other self care techniques
As well as paying attention to the way you sleep, there are other self care techniques that may benefit you. For example, if you’re overweight, getting in shape could reduce your symptoms. This is because it will lessen the pressure on your stomach, making it less likely that acid will leak out. On a related point, try eating smaller, more frequent meals and make sure you have your evening meal three or four hours before you go to bed. Also, bear in mind that alcohol, coffee, chocolate and fatty or spicy foods can trigger the symptoms of GORD. With that in mind, removing these products, or at least cutting back on them, may have a beneficial effect.
Meanwhile, if you smoke, now could be the time to quit. Smoking is known to irritate the digestive system and it can make GORD worse.
Medication or surgery
If you find that despite following advice like this, you can’t control your acid reflux, your doctor might recommend that you take medication. Possible treatments include antacids (which neutralise the effects of stomach acid) and drugs that are designed to reduce the amount of acid that the stomach produces. In cases where medication fails, surgery may be recommended.
The important thing is that you don’t simply put up with GORD. By seeking medical advice and making simple changes to your routine and lifestyle, you should succeed in getting the symptoms under control.