Early AM heartburn using Wedge Pillow, advice sought

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New Member

Date Joined Mar 2013
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 3/28/2013 1:05 PM (GMT -6)   
I have very mild heartburn, went through 40 mg. Prilosec seven months ago for 3 mos. and it went away. I don't trust the gastro Dr. (as in, "scoping for dollars") but it has returned so I began 20 mg. Prilosec the last few weeks, bought a second Wedge Pillow, take ACV, very good diet, lost 25 lbs. over 9 mos, exercise. I don't do well with stress (see a therapist) but I'm at a loss to understand why early AM, even with two pillows on a Queen sized bed, I'm getting this mild heartburn which I have to get up for. I have excellent days and "growling" days. Any advice, greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts : 196
   Posted 3/28/2013 7:34 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi T... are you using two pillows or a wedge? I use a wedge and had my 24hr PH probe and guess what? I refluxed MORE at night (unbeknownst to me, I thought I had daytime reflux)

So the wedge was doing nothing for me. And no way can I raise my bed because I want to sleep next to my husband.

I also asked if you were using pillows because if you pile up pillows and think you're simulating a wedge it can actually make things worse. Like if you wear tight pants, it creates pressure that literally makes you reflux. your entire torso has to be in a straight line.

In my experience these lifestyle factors (esp. tight pants and eating after 6) make as big a difference (if not bigger) as the food I eat. Sounds to me like you might be eating too late at night?

Could their be a trigger you don't yet know about? Do you lay down too soon after eating?

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2013
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 3/28/2013 8:13 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for the detailed response. I try to follow every single guideline I can: don't eat for 3 hrs. before retiring, small meals, lost 25 lbs. since last July (6', 194 lbs.) exercise (I started mild weight lifting again and then this started up), you name it.

I bought a second wedge pillow as I have a Queen sized bed and thought two side by side might help. It just makes no sense to me that I'm doing everything possible, and I wake up early and the growling starts.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7188
   Posted 3/28/2013 8:34 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi tcs,
Welcome to Healing Well, and so sorry to hear how much you're struggling with GERD. I found raising the head of the bed to be the best way to improve the likelihood of protecting my esophagus and lungs from nighttime reflux.  My bed was and is (I have asthma, and even after surgery it's possible to get a small amount of reflux...lungs are very reactive) raised about 8 inches.  Thegspeak, I understand that not every husband is as accepting as mine, but I've been sleeping next to him for 15+ years like that, and we still get along just fine.  So it's possible...it's an individual decision, but one you ought to consider, tcs.
Elevating the head of your bed isn't a guarantee that you'll get absolutely no reflux.  Following the no eating 3-4 hours before bedtime is another helpful thing that only ensures that you will get less  reflux.  If you haven't seen a GI doc yet, it sounds as if it's time to get a referral.  Be sure to select your GI doc carefully.  
Do you have a good PCP?  A primary care doc can do most things that a GI doc can.  At least see a primary care doc and get some help.  If he/she thinks it's time to see a specialist, then go for it.
Glad you've joined us!  Good luck!
Best wishes,
GERD/Heartburn Moderator
Nissen Fundoplication 2/09

"Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.”

“Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose”

“Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.”
Eckhart Tolle

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2013
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 3/28/2013 8:53 PM (GMT -6)   
Yes, I started with my PCP who is very respected and knowledgeable in the area, he eventually referred me to a GI Doc. There was a flareup, I had 40 mg. Prilosex 2x day for 1 mo., 40 mg. 1x day 1 mo.; then 40 mg. EOD 1 mo. and it went away. Any minor "growling" as I put it seemed to go away when I focused on what might be causing me stress, tension or anger after eliminating the incriminating foods.

I started the Prilosec again 40 mg. 3 1/2 weeks ago after calling the GI, and was to then make an appt. Trouble is, I don't trust them in the slightest, they keep mentioning the "C" word and highly invasive procedures like an endoscopy. This has been going on at best a few months off and on, I believe they are practicing "scoping for dollars" as WebMD calls it, very popular with Medicare people like myself. Plus, I'm dealing with a Nurse Practitioner, and my only experience in the past with one at a Dermatologist's office was that she couldn't figure it out, a Dr. elsewhere did.

I know it's childish for an adult to hope this will go away with ACV and digestive enzymes but this is one branch of medicine I trust even less than Chiropractors (do a search on google and watch "stroke" fill in, something they never tell you upfront).

If I wake up early with mild reflux while still using the pillows, any advice? Not use them, or just get up? Thank you.

Pat Tall
Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2012
Total Posts : 950
   Posted 3/28/2013 9:32 PM (GMT -6)   
tcs. I would NOT use the vinegar at all. That is adding acid to your acid that you are trying to stop by taking acid reducing medicine. Give up coffee, beer, carbonated drinks, tomatoes, oranges and follow the low acid , low fat diet. Raise the head of the bed up using bricks. I feel that it is better then the wedges. Check with your doctor regarding a twice daily medication regimen to help cover you overnight for less reflux in the mornings. Some doctors have you take an H2 before bed . Been very successful with the H2 and less side effects too.
Also, check if weight lifting is ok with your doctor. Mine told me that it put strain/pressure on the diaphragm and LES and encourages reflux. Let things heal by being gentle with YOU. Wish you better health and let us know how you do. Kind regards.
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