Reduce acid reflux and choking episodes

Choking can be a very initial and upsetting experience for many acid reflux sufferers, both infants and adults. The symptom of choking usually occurs at night when a person is sleeping, and it is the choking that tends to wake up the person who then often coughs violently to clear their throat and catch their breath.

Why does acid reflux and choking occur? When acid reflux occurs during sleep, the body’s natural defenses against reflux are disabled. For example, you no longer have the ability to swallow saliva, which neutralizes acid, and your lower esophageal sphincter (LES) relaxes, so it no longer blocks the flow of stomach acid into your esophagus. Turning off your natural defenses can not only lead to heartburn, but can also allow stomach acid to move up your esophagus and collect in your throat, allowing it to flow into your mouth and nose. When this happens, acid can be aspirated (sucked in as you breathe), causing it to trickle down into the lungs and windpipe, causing suffocation and possible lung damage.

There are a few factors that can cause acid reflux and choking at night in adults. The following is a breakdown of what these main factors are, followed by what can be done to address the problem:

– Sleeping supine: If you sleep in a supine position (lying on your back), stomach acid can flow freely into your esophagus and stay there for a long period of time. This can cause heartburn and can also cause acid to travel further up the esophagus and into the throat.

Prevention Tip: Sleep with your head and shoulders elevated, 3 to 6 inches above the mattress. Use pillows for support. The idea is to position your body at a slight incline so that the acid cannot reach the top of your esophagus. Sleeping on the left side can also be beneficial, as studies have found that sleeping on the right side can make the problem worse.

– Sleep in tight clothing – Tight clothing that gathers at the waist puts pressure on the stomach and can force acid into the esophagus.

Prevention Tip: Wear loose-fitting clothing/pajamas to sleep and avoid pants, shorts, or underwear with a tight elastic waistband. While you sleep, you don’t want to cause any unnecessary aggravation that will increase your risk of reflux or make it worse.

– Eat before going to bed – Many people make the mistake of eating or drinking directly before going to bed. Going to bed too soon after eating slows down the digestion process, and sleeping on a full stomach dramatically increases your risk of heartburn, as well as acid reflux and choking.

Prevention Tip: Eliminate foods that trigger acid reflux symptoms (ie fatty and spicy foods, alcohol, etc.) from your regular diet and avoid eating or drinking 2-3 hours before bedtime. If you are thirsty, just drink water slowly in small amounts.

How can I prevent acid reflux and choking in my child? Unfortunately, babies are also prone to acid reflux and the symptom of choking. The main reason for this is that the LES is not fully developed in many babies under 18 months of age. Signs of acid reflux in your baby include:

– Frequent regurgitation combined with lack of sleep

– Extreme irritability

– Frequent arching or stretching of the back or neck

– Rejection of food.

– slow weight gain

– Chronic sinus or ear infections

If your child has any of these symptoms, they need to be properly diagnosed by their pediatrician. Acid reflux is very difficult to diagnose in children, and only your child’s pediatrician can make this diagnosis and determine what treatment is best for your child. Never diagnose your child on your own.

However, if your baby has acid reflux and is choking, the following are ways you can help prevent your little one from suffering:

– Modify the diet. This may mean giving your child:

– Smaller and more frequent meals.
– Formula thickened with rice cereal
– No foods that cause acid reflux such as citrus foods, tomato products, carbonated drinks, spicy foods, chocolate, etc.
– Keep the child upright during feeding
– Keep the child in an upright position for a minimum of half an hour after eating
– Lay the child so that he is inclined, so that the head and shoulders are slightly raised. This can be done by using a wedge pillow.
– Your doctor can also prescribe medication.

Finally, anyone suffering from nocturnal acid reflux and choking, or other symptoms, should talk to their doctor and get treatment to prevent the onset of symptoms so that damage to the esophagus and/or lungs can be avoided.

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