There is an abundance of information available about nocturnal reflux symptoms. However, for those of you who feel like your acid reflux symptoms are actually at their worst first thing in the morning, you are not alone. In fact, there is even a name for what you may be experiencing. It’s called “riser’s reflux.”
The discovery was made when researchers looked at 39 individuals with acid reflux disease and a control group to study reflux events that occurred one hour before and immediately after waking in the morning. They found that the reflux symptoms many thought they were having at night were actually occurring just after waking in the morning. In fact, one-third of study participants demonstrated acid reflux events within 10 minutes after waking in the morning, and an additional 15 percent of participants experienced reflux within 20 minutes after waking.
To ensure that this riser’s reflux phenomenon was not just related to the change of position upon getting out of bed (i.e. compressing the abdomen), the researchers looked at how many patients experienced acid reflux while still in bed for a few minutes after waking up in the morning. Forty-two percent of patients still demonstrated riser’s reflux during the short time they remained in bed after waking up.
In this study, almost 50 percent of patients with acid reflux disease experienced acid reflux events within 20 minutes of waking up in the morning, compared with just 20 percent of patients who experienced acid reflux while they were sleeping. It is believed that sleep (especially deep sleep), serves as a suppressor of acid reflux symptoms for most. One of the ways we know this is that nighttime acid reflux occurs primarily during the first half of the night, as compared with the second half of the night.
Talk to your doctor
This concept of “riser’s reflux” may help explain why some people complain of early-morning acid reflux symptoms. Understanding and being able to communicate the timing of your reflux may be helpful to your physician as they determine the best time of day for you to take anti-reflux medication.
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Tracy Davenport, Ph.D., is a freelance health writer and the C.E.O. of Tracy’s Smoothie Place. She serves as the expert on a weekly radio show about health and wellness and is the author of Making Life Better for a Baby with Acid Reflux and multiple articles about the cost of caregiving. Learn more about Tracy and what healthy living services and products she can offer on her website. She can also be found on Twitter and Instagram @drinksmoothies.