How can GE reflux be treated?
1. ELIMINATION OF AGGRAVATING FACTORS: avoiding acidic and spicy
foods, caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, peppermint and other dietary
causes of reflux; not eating shortly before bedtime; weight loss;
quitting smoking. Certain drugs (for example, some asthma drugs)
can worsen reflux. Review your medications with your doctor, but
don't stop prescribed medicines on your own!
2. ELEVATING THE HEAD OF YOUR BED ON 6 INCH BLOCKS may help:
by allowing gravity to help keep stomach acid down where it belongs.
(Extra pillows are not a substitute!).
3. SPECIAL PRESCRIBED MEDICINES may help: some by decreasing
acid production, and others by stimulating downward movement of
acid back into the stomach.
4. TREATMENT OF SLEEP APNEA:
which, if present, can aggravate GE reflux.
5. SURGERIES are used in severe cases.
If you believe you may have significant
GE reflux, what should you do?
-ELIMINATE AGGRAVATING FACTORS AND ELEVATE THE HEAD OF THE BED
AS DESCRIBED, if at all possible.
-CONSULT WITH YOUR FAMILY DOCTOR OR A GASTROENTEROLOGIST (STOMACH
SPECIALIST). If they feel an ambulatory esophageal pH study would
help in the evaluation of your problem and its severity and if
you live in Central Ohio, they can schedule it for you directly
by calling the Sleep Disorders Center at (614)-445-7800.
-IF YOUR SYMPTOMS OF SLEEP-RELATED GE REFLUX ARE ACCOMPANIED
BY ANY INDICATIONS OF SLEEP APNEA OR
OTHER MAJOR SLEEP DISORDERS, A SLEEP EVALUATION SHOULD BE DONE
IN CONJUNCTION WITH ASSESSMENT OF YOUR GE REFLUX, AT A SLEEP CENTER
THAT CAN PERFORM AMBULATORY ESOPHAGEAL
pH MONITORING: particularly since treatment of sleep
apnea may simultaneously reduce GE reflux, thereby treating two
potentially serious problems in sleep for "the price of one"!