For many people the condition called GERD (Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease), or more commonly called acid reflux, can be a disruptive condition and can occur at night. This is due in part to the effects of gravity. When we are standing we have gravity working in our favor which plays a force in keeping the acid in the stomach as opposed to creeping up into the esophagus. When lying down, stomach contents press on the sphincter muscle valve that connects the stomach and esophagus. This muscle can relax and allow for reflux to occur. This can cause sleeping to be difficult and an overall painful and disruptive night’s sleep. In addition to inconvenience, nocturnal GERD can be dangerous as well. It may cause long term effects including Barrett’s esophagus, and even rarely esophageal cancer. Nocternal GERD can be diagnosed both symptomatically, by looking inside with a camera during an upper endoscopy and by a BRAVO capsule insertion. Once diagnosed there are medications that can be used to treat your symptoms, however, positioning while sleeping is a large component in nocturnal reflux.
There is a new pillow that allows your body to be at an incline, while also sleeping on your side. It can be used to treat nocturnal GERD, laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR), and gestational reflux. The MedCline Pillow is made with 4 types of medical – grade foam that can both keep you positioned correctly on the pillow all night and make sure this inclined pillow is as comfortable as possible. This pillow may be a big help to a more restful night.
Author Kelsey Zuckerman Patient Care Coordinator