Gastroesophageal reflux, as the name implies, is the reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus. It is a physiological event that can occur several times a day, in children as in adults. It becomes a pathological condition and we speak, in fact, of esophageal reflux disease when the ascent of the gastric contents causes symptoms and complications.
One of the most common symptoms of esophageal reflux is heartburn, which occurs most frequently when fasting and during the night. Other frequent symptoms are regurgitation and pain. In fact, there are many other less obvious symptoms, for example sometimes reflux is associated with cough.
In general, the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux tend to occur often during the night, due to the lying position that is normally assumed during sleep. According to estimates that emerged from clinical studies and from evaluations of the main associations dealing with gastrointestinal disorders at an international level, at least half of people suffering from gastroesophageal reflux feel the problem especially at night.
What are the negative consequences of nocturnal reflux?
Experience as well as science show that disturbed sleep lowers the quality of life and has further negative consequences including:
- negatively alters the emotional balance and consequently also family relationships;
- it has a significant economic cost due to the lack of production and the expenses incurred in medical consultancy and for drugs or supplements;
- the lack of sleep, awakenings and disturbed sleep is shown in many studies, as well as from common experience, that they weaken health, the immune system, the reproductive and sexual systems, the nervous system and also shorten life.
Sleeping badly is a very serious problem to which we must pay the utmost attention, and which we must solve in the shortest possible time!
How to solve the nocturnal reflux in a natural way?
We have seen that gastroesophageal reflux can be very annoying. Symptoms often occur at night, worsening the quality of sleep and life. Fortunately, there are some good habits that can go a long way in reducing symptoms and limiting the complications of nocturnal gastroesophageal reflux. Lifestyle is very important and a large number of people with a tendency to gastroesophageal reflux benefit from the following remedies:
- Have an early dinner, at least a couple of hours before bedtime.
- Avoid too large meals, especially in the evening.
- Avoid, at least in the evening, or in any case limit as much as possible, the consumption of foods and drinks that irritate the esophageal mucosa and / or promote the onset of reflux, for example chocolate, coffee, mint, drinks with added carbon dioxide, tomato, chili pepper, citrus fruits, vinegar, foods rich in fat and spicy…
- Avoid or at least limit the consumption of alcohol as much as possible.
- Sleeping with the head raised above the body is not enough to put a pillow under the head because in this case you risk straining the cervical muscles without actually obtaining any results against reflux. It is not just the head that needs to be lifted but the entire upper part, from the abdomen to the head. The best solution is to purchase a specific net or the “Anti-Reflux Net” which allows you to be lifted in a gradual and balanced way.
- Refrain from smoking.
- Maintain normal body weight.
When the lifestyle and food are not enough, specific drugs are used, which will be recommended by the doctor.