Wow Im glad I found this. I have been experiencing similar symptoms for a couple of years and decided on my own it was my gerd (or sleep apnea, which I havent been diagnosed with apnea). My symptoms are just slightly different, which I will get to in a moment.
Let me start with a brief history. I am 31 years old and, other than a few extra pounds Im in decent health. But when I was 19 years old I was diagnosed with cancer. A form of lymphoma. I had to go through a year and a half of Chemo but beat the cancers a**. Shortly after I was back to a normal life. Now im married with 3 kids and happy and pretty healthy. But the chemo caused me to get very sick and was vomiting a lot. They did a scope on me while I was in the hospital and said I had esophigitis. They put me on stomach meds, and I have been on some sort of meds ever since. 12 years now. I started having heart burn problems when I was about 17 but wasn't diagnosed with reflux disease until I was on the chemo at 19. Stomach problems also run in my family, (my dad has fought stomach problems since his 20s and hes in his 50s now and still has problems). For several years I had good insurance and was on nexium. It worked great except it really irritated my bowels. I can no longer afford nexium so I tried just about all of them. Recently I was on perscription prevacid which worked so-so. But due to changing jobs and have crappy insurance now I take OTC prevacid but take 2.
2 years ago (before moving out of state) I saw a GI specialist several times to get my problems under control. They did an upper and lower scope on me and said everything looked pretty good. Other than a few minor polyps that were removed. But I still knew that I was experiencing terrible reflux.
I will also note that when I was an infant baby, my mom said I couldn't keep anything down. I spit up and vomited all the time. She said the doctor said my stomach muscle didn't close off completely. So I still think that is a major problem, I don't beleive it ever corrected itself, but wasn't diagnosed by the GI doc. Next year I will have better insurance again and plan on looking into the surgery.
Now back to my night problems... A couple of years ago it started, and are more frequent now. I might add that I love food and tend to over eat and eat the things that I KNOW hurt me. But my experiences have been not so much a choking sensation but more of a gasping for air like I quit breathing. Which is why my first reaction to the problem was sleep apnea, but as the problems kept going for a couple of years I started to attribute it to gerd because there were times it was accompanied by some acid or a bit of vomit as well. When it happens it is always right at the edge of sleep. I will wake up gasping for air. Like I quit breathing for a few seconds in my sleep. I will wake up and immediatley gasp for a breath and then Im fine. Only bothers me for just a second. Some nights I will do it once, some nights I will do it repeatedly for a few hours (depending on how my stomach feels and what I ate. I now choose better eating habits at night and it is curbing my problem).
The problem that is bothering me most now is not physical but mental. Its really getting me down. To help my stomach issues at night I have changed my sleeping habits dramatically. and its getting to me mentally. I have not gone to bed like a normal person and immedatly laid down, in a year or two. I have to start off by sitting up and fall asleep sitting up, and at some point in the night I will wake up and notice I am laying down. So in my sleep I will work myself into laying down position but its normally 3 or 4 am that it happens. I also cannot make myself go to sleep til 12 or 1 am now. So Im not geting enough sleep but Im used to it. And the newest addition to my sleeping habits is, I noticed a few months ago that I wasn't sleeping well sitting up in bed. I couldn't get real comfy against the wall. So for the last couple of months I have slept in the living room in the recliner or propped up in the corner of the couch. I can actually sleep best on the couch, but Im just a bit taller than the couch is long (when I finally lay down) so I wake up and my knees ache due to not being able to stretch out completely. And it bothers my back sitting up like that most of the night. So just the fact that I can't go to bed with my wife now really bothers me. She understands, and as far as I can tell it doesn't bother her too much. But it does me. And on the nights we are in the mood, afterward I have to tell her I have to go to the living room to go to bed. Kind of a bummer. So that is my experiences. Sorry this was so long but i wanted to get all the details in. I hope that next year I can fix all of this and get back to a normal life once I have decent insurance again. Thanks for listening. Any tips will be appreciated.