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Sleeping and Acid Reflux

Posts: 23
Joined: Aug 2012

I used to see a lot of post about suggestions of sleeping. 

My husband is almost 6 months out from his surgery and finally seems to be doing better.  He just started back to work today!


The biggest issue he is having is with acid reflux at night.  He seems to slope down from the wedge pillow and other mound of pillows on the bed.

This causes the acid to come up and he aspirates this acid and ends up with pnuemonia.  This has happend 3 times now.


He tries to limit what he eats and when but it still occurs even 8 hours after he ate.


So.....looking for sleeping methods others have used.  I am going to look into a raised bed but I really don't want to sleep elivated.  I don't want him to sleep in a chair, I want him to sleep with me.   He wants to continue to camp and travel when possible (he has always been a very active guy)....he is worried he can no longer do these things.

This cancer has taken so much already, I just want to make sure some normalcy is returned to his life.

What works for other to keep the reflux away?




Hockey Wife
Posts: 15
Joined: Jan 2013

What dosage of antacid is he on?

Posts: 760
Joined: Apr 2012

We put blocks under the head of our bed to help with reflux.  My husband tried sleeping on the wedge but it hurt his back.  We went and looked at beds that raise but his feet were hanging off when the head was raised.  He is 6'4" so we put blocks under the top legs of the bed and it works just fine.  I would give that a try before buying a bed that raises -- they are expensive.

Posts: 93
Joined: Apr 2013

My husband had alot of problems with acid reflux at night.  We tried many things over the years.  This is what I suggest:

1.  Your doctor can prescribe an acid reduction medication that can be taken long term.  This is absolutely the best way, in my opinion.  After esophageal cancer, there is very little downside.

2.  Everyone will tell you to eat smaller meals, several times a day.  This might have some marginal impact.  The same with OTC anti-acids and calcium tablets.  Marginal impact.

3.  You can order a bed that can recline on your side, move up on his side. 

Best of luck to you.

Christine135's picture
Posts: 71
Joined: May 2012

Our surgeon told us my husband will be never be able to lay flat in bed. In fact, our surgeon, actually was firm on that because there is no value in the esophagus to hold the acid reflux down and my husband can eaaspirate. You also don't want acid reflux coming up in the esophagus for that it will damage the new one. Although it was an investment, we bought a sleep number bed where he can raise his head as well as his feet. They also make beds like our that are actually two seperate beds with two seperate controls so I do not have to lie in the same position he does. We bought two double size beds and pushed them together. The beds come with locks on the wheels so it is easy to move to clean under as well as stay together. Just google sleep number beds and you will find their site. Again, they can be expensive because you are actually having the bed custom made for you but knowing that my husband has no more acid reflux when he lays down and can sleep peacefully plus I do not have to lie awake listening to see if he aspirates is worth all the money in the world. You can even go on a payment plan if you need to and they can help you with that but I wold not trade our beds for anything. This is actually our second sleep number bed and I highly recommend them to anyone who has special needs in how they sleep. Our 17 year old son has our first one and says he will never go to a conventional bed ever again.

As far as the reflux, I would really talk to your doctor and see what he or she says before you use any antiacids. Our surgeon told us never to use them again for they only mask the problems where acid reflux in concerned but I would really suggest you talk to your doctor.

Good luck


tcaba's picture
Posts: 41
Joined: Nov 2012

I two had/have problems with aspiration especially if i lay on my left side.  Having tried the raised bed Which I did not like, I then tried two pillows but they were a pain because they tend to move around.  I finally bought a wedge at Bed Bath & Beyond.  It took some getting used to and I would occasionally put a pillow beneath my knees which helped the sliding but prevented laying on my right side.  I saw recently in a flight magazine (Skymall) a wedge that was not as tall as my wedge that I am considering. It is 5" tall compared to my 8" model but pretty pricey at $80. Here is the link, http://www.skymall.com/shopping/detail.htm?pid=204444067&c=

It may be on my list of 

birdiequeen's picture
Posts: 329
Joined: Mar 2011

The medical supply store in our area sells a veriety of thicknesses of wedge pillows.  You might look there before paying $80 from Skymall.  My husband treid elevating the head of his bed and a wedge pillow but we ended up buying a mechanical bed.  The wedge pillow is good for travel. 


Joel C's picture
Joel C
Posts: 177
Joined: Mar 2011

I also suffer from acid/bile reflux during sleep.  I take 40mg of Prilosec per day, used a wedge pillow and raised the head of the bed but I still had issues with reflux and aspirating at night.  After two and a half years of suffering I gave in and bought a Tempur-pedic adjustable bed and things have improved significantly.  Both sides of the bed are individually controlled so my wife doesn’t have to sleep at the same angle as me.  As others have pointed out these types of beds can expensive but I’m happy we made the investment.



servman86's picture
Posts: 9
Joined: May 2013

My how I understand what you are saying.  I have survived 14 years after stage III EC and the surgery.  I tried for many years to sleep in my bed and have had some success but no real answer.  I am on 80 mg of prilosec a day  and that does tend to keep the acid under control, however sleeping flat really does not exist in my world at all these days.  I do sleep often in my recliner, it is the absolute best for positioning to keep the acid down.  I am sure an adjustable bed would be likewise. When we travel and stay in hotels etc.  I simply make certain that my room has a lot pillows that I use to prop myself the best way that I can.  None of this is easy, but it is manageable.  I am very active and work 60 plus hours a week. I do all the things that I want to do, just not at the speed sometimes that I would like to do them.  I do miss laying flat and being able to lay on my stomach but that is minor.  I am here, that is what matters, and I try hard not to let the inconvenient details get in the way.  Thank God for my loving wife who is 100% understanding of issues that go along with survivorship of this nature.

God bless both of you. 


Posts: 23
Joined: Aug 2012

We are going to put blocks under the bed to try and start looking into an ajustable bed.  I am checking to see if insurance will pay for some of it.  Since we more than hit our deductable for the year Smile  The reflux is really aweful, I feel for of you suffering through it.

Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2013

I have had the same problem.  I have been using a bed wedge to try to eliminate the reflux from coming up.  I have always found that i would slide down off the wedge and end up flat on my back.  I found a simple and inexpensive solution to this. I got a 2' x 4' piece of rug underlayment used for preventing slipping. I lay the underlay under the wedge, extending towards the foot of the bed. This has significantly reduced my sliding down while I sleep. 

LauraandLarry's picture
Posts: 184
Joined: Sep 2012

Once in a while this site makes me laugh, once in a while. It is so funny how you said rug underlayment. We own a floor covering store. I thought we were the only people in the world who were using flooring materials for our bed. Oh, how I rolled my eyes when we did it. But it works just fine. We used virgin foam carpet padding. We put it under the mattress, stacking it to slope. It works great and doesn't slip! If any of you are looking for an inexpensive solution to try, I would suggest walking into a small flooring store and asking if they have any scraps around. NOT USED!!!! Explain why. Most retailers should give it to you, they all have it laying around. Good luck to all of you.

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