Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also know as GERD, occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a muscle at the end of the esophagus doesn't close properly. This causes stomach acid used for digestion to back up, or reflux into the lower esophagus. When stomach acid comes in contact with the lining of the esophagus, it can cause heartburn, among other symptoms. More than 60 million Americans experience heartburn or GERD symptoms at least once a month. To help treat and prevent GERD, take action by following these simple steps.
Sleep Right to Fight It
If you experience symptoms of GERD during sleeping hours, try elevating the head of your bed by at least 6 inches. This can be done by placing wood or cement blocks under the feet of the bed, or by inserting a wedge between the mattress and the box spring. Just adding more pillows will not work, because you need to raise your head higher than your stomach. It may be awkward sleeping this way at first, but it will help keep stomach acid from rising.