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How Can Hospital Beds Help Someone With GERD SonderCare Learning Center Image

Hospital Beds

How Can Hospital Beds Help Someone With GERD?

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SonderCare Learning Center

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when a patient experiences acid reflux that brings about repeated symptoms and complications over time. It’s a severe, long-lasting disorder that impacts sleep and worsens the symptoms of other medical conditions. Hospital beds have adjustable features that make sleeping and relaxing in bed more comfortable. How can hospital beds also help someone with GERD?

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All of our articles are written by a professional medical writer and edited for accuracy by a hospital bed expert. SonderCare is a Hospital Bed company with locations across the U.S. and Canada. We distribute, install and service our certified home hospital beds across North America. Our staff is made up of several hospital bed experts that have worked in the medical equipment industry for more than 20 years. Read more about our company here.

Table of Contents

Learn About Acid Reflux, GERD And Hospital Beds

Why Does Bed Rest Seem To Worsen GERD?

GERD is a general complaint among North Americans. Recent studies in the United States show that this condition may affect 20% of the population, with symptoms of acid reflux such as heartburn and chest pain occurring regularly. Over time, GERD causes serious complications, including ulcers and scar tissue formation in the esophagus, chronic cough, airway spasms, asthma symptoms, and dental damage.

Many find sleeping in a conventional bed only makes their acid reflux worse, and this is due to a combination of factors:

  • Swallowing decreases during sleep, reducing a critical force for pushing and keeping stomach acid down.
  • Lying down also means gravity will no longer keep stomach acid down. It makes recurring acid reflux more likely.
  • Saliva production – essential for neutralizing stomach acid – slows during the deeper stages of sleep.

These three issues can lead to stomach acid leaking into and sitting on the esophagus. On top of the discomfort from heartburn, GERD can cause severe chest pain that, in turn, can affect the neck, back, jaw, or arms. It can last from minutes to hours, leading the acid reflux patient to wake many times during the night, affecting their daily activities and quality of life.

There are many ways to manage the effects of GERD; for instance, diet and lifestyle changes can treat GERD and reduce the likelihood of affecting one’s sleep. One bedtime tactic is wearing loose pajamas – when the clothes are tight, pressure is put on the stomach, constricting the abdominal area and encouraging stomach acid to move into the esophagus.

However, long-term relief often requires a bed that allows the patient to adjust their position even as symptoms occur. A hospital bed has adjustable features that can reduce the discomfort and pain associated with GERD.

How Can Sleeping On A Hospital Bed Help Reduce GERD Symptoms?

For many people working on lifestyle changes to combat GERD, proper handling of this medical condition comes down to the proper sleeping position. For instance, research shows that sleeping on one’s right side can worsen symptoms, and flipping to your left side can cool the burn. However, the best way is when the patient can combine this with proper bed elevation.

Sleeping on a hospital bed can be an excellent way to handle the recurring symptoms of GERD. Many patients with this condition need to flatten the platform and mattress, then position it on an incline to sleep elevated on their right side. The Reverse Trendelenburg feature of a SonderCare adjustable home hospital bed facilitates the simultaneous inclination of the upper body and lower body. 

Medical professionals will also advise people with severe nighttime reflux to elevate the head of their bed. It helps the force of gravity stop the stomach acid from traveling up the esophagus. Most recommendations say the more elevation, the better; in this way, SonderCare luxury hospital beds have users covered, letting them adjust the head to the right angle for sleeping more comfortably.

How Should I Elevate My SonderCare Hospital Bed To Manage GERD?

Of course, not every person with GERD has the same triggers or sleeping patterns. It can take time to readjust to the best position for the individual. Luckily, a SonderCare hospital bed helps both back sleepers and side sleepers. 

Back-sleepers should rest at an incline with their upper body about 6 to 8 inches above their lower body. Because the intersection between the stomach and esophagus is approximately level with the lower part of the shoulder blades, patients should also elevate the shoulders to prevent neck and back pain. Side-sleepers can sleep at this incline on their left or right, with the bed’s side rails and adjustable features letting them move to their backs or stomachs when they need to feel comfortable.

When combatting GERD, not all adjustable beds are the same. Models incapable of taking on advanced positions like the Reverse Trendelenburg position will not help those with this issue. SonderCare’s luxury hospital beds have all the features necessary to help people reduce symptoms of GERD and sleep through the night.

Frequently Asked Questions About GERD and Bed Rest

By elevating one’s head and upper body while sleeping, hospital beds can potentially help alleviate the symptoms of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). By increasing the head of the bed, you can reduce your chances of experiencing acid reflux, which is a common symptom of GERD. For proper diagnosis and treatment of GERD, it is crucial to consult a healthcare professional. Elevating the head of the bed is not a treatment for GERD, but rather a way to alleviate symptoms.

An over-the-counter medication, a lifestyle change, and prescription medication are typically used to treat GERD. You may want to change your lifestyle by eating smaller, more frequent meals, avoiding foods that trigger symptoms, and not lying down for at least three hours after eating. A number of over-the-counter medications can help neutralize stomach acid and reduce stomach acid production. A proton pump inhibitor (PPI) is a prescription medication that works by blocking the production of stomach acid. Surgical interventions may be necessary to repair or strengthen the lower oesophagal sphincter, which prevents acid from flowing back into the oesophagus in some cases. In order to diagnose and treat GERD effectively, it is important to speak with a healthcare professional.

It is best to sleep on a block or wedge or using a chair position on a hospital bed with the head elevated for people with GERD. This keeps stomach acid in the stomach and out of the oesophagus. The worst position is lying flat on the back, which allows stomach acid to flow back into the oesophagus. As the stomach is higher than the oesophagus while sleeping on the right side, sleepers may also experience GERD symptoms. To prevent stomach discomfort, it’s also important to avoid eating close to bedtime, wearing tight-fitting clothing, and anything else that puts pressure on the stomach.

Start Exploring Hospital Beds With SonderCare

Are you recently discharged from hospital, experiencing mobility issues, or in need of palliative or senior care? Enjoy a smoother recovery and get the luxury you deserve by choosing our home hospital products. Contact us today to discuss home hospital beds, mattresses, stand assist chairs and other accessories to make your home hospice perfect for a truly comfortable experience.

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