A: GERD, or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, is a medical condition where the contents of the stomach, including stomach acid, flow back up into the esophagus. This can cause a variety of symptoms, including heartburn, regurgitation, and chest pain. One simple and effective way to reduce the symptoms of GERD is to raise the head of the bed.
Raising the head of the bed can help reduce the symptoms of GERD in several ways. Here are some of the benefits:
- Reduces the pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES)
The LES is a circular muscle located at the base of the esophagus. Its main function is to prevent the contents of the stomach from flowing back up into the esophagus. However, in people with GERD, the LES may be weak or malfunctioning, allowing stomach acid to flow back up. By raising the head of the bed, the pressure on the LES is reduced, making it less likely that stomach acid will flow back up.
- Prevents stomach acid from flowing up the esophagus
When a person lies flat on their back, stomach acid can easily flow back up into the esophagus. By raising the head of the bed, gravity helps keep stomach acid in the stomach, reducing the likelihood of acid reflux.
- Improves sleep quality
Many people with GERD experience symptoms at night, which can disrupt their sleep. By raising the head of the bed, people with GERD can sleep more comfortably and reduce the likelihood of symptoms waking them up during the night.
- Reduces the risk of complications
Untreated GERD can lead to complications such as esophagitis, strictures, and Barrett’s esophagus. By reducing the symptoms of GERD, raising the head of the bed can help reduce the risk of these complications.
To raise the head of the bed, people with GERD can use bed risers, which are available at many home goods stores. Alternatively, they can place blocks or bricks under the head of the bed. The head of the bed should be raised by at least 6-8 inches to be effective.
In conclusion, raising the head of the bed is a simple and effective way to reduce the symptoms of GERD. It works by reducing the pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter, preventing stomach acid from flowing up the esophagus, improving sleep quality, and reducing the risk of complications. People with GERD should consider raising the head of their bed to improve their quality of life and reduce the impact of GERD on their health.