I Choked on Acid Reflux While Sleeping Due To GERD!

choking on acid reflux, doctor chat
Medically reviewed by Dr. Fariah Imtiaz

Have you ever choked on acid reflux while sleeping? It’s like a nightmare coming true. 

I am a 34-year-old female with a history of heartburn, but it never raised any red flags.

I had frequent attacks of heartburn and nausea, but I didn’t consider them to be signs of any severe complications. Almost everyone I know has had heartburn, and I didn’t take it too seriously.

I am already on omeprazole and have been using it for the past three years now. Being slightly overweight and a smoker, I have already been told by my local GP that these are risk factors for a condition called GERD, and I have been working on improving my lifestyle.

One night I woke up choking on acid reflux while sleeping!

Days passed, and one night, I woke up with severe choking. I was unable to breathe properly and was feeling helpless. That night, I honestly thought I would pass out, and no one would know as I live alone.

I tried screaming for help, but that lead to acid-spitting up into my throat. Immediately, I called an ambulance, and thankfully by the time I reached the hospital, the choking had stopped. 

Upon arrival, I was a bit hazy but was able to breathe normally. The doctor in the ER examined me and sent me home with a referral to my GP for further examination. 

Are You Suffering From GERD? Chat With Our Doctors And Get Treatment At Home

With a lot of unanswered questions about my choking, I started looking for answers online.

This episode compelled me to seek medical guidance online while I waited for my GP appointment. Needless to say, I wasn’t able to sleep at all that night. 

I stumbled upon Your Doctors online and it connected me to an online physician immediately. She empathized with my condition and inquired about the frequency of such episodes.

As soon as I mentioned that I had a history of GERD, she put two and two together.

She explained that GERD occurs due to the weakening of the lower esophageal sphincter, so the food in the stomach flows up back to the food pipe along with the acid present in the stomach. 

The food reaches the throat and mouth, giving a feeling of choking and difficulty in swallowing. The condition expresses itself as various symptoms, including heartburn, swallowing difficulty, cough, nausea, choking on acid reflux while sleeping and sore throat.

Chatting with an online doctor made me realize that I was experiencing complications of GERD.

An interesting discovery I made during the chat was that GERD aggravated my coughing. I thought smoking was the culprit, but ever since I have developed GERD, coughing kept getting worse.

For further confirmation, she asked me about my diet and lifestyle. Embarrassingly, I had nothing good to tell her. She suspected that I am suffering from severe esophagitis, i.e. inflammation of the food pipe due to damaging effects of the push back of acid from the stomach. 

Fear took over me on hearing about this serious medical condition. I had no idea whatsoever that this complication will hinder my swallowing action. As I had suffered from severe heartburns for quite some time, the future of this complication stressed me. My doctor assured me of timely treatment and recovery.

With medications, lifestyle changes and regular follow-ups, I am now able to sleep without fear of choking.

Soon, Your Doctors Online physician started my course to relieve my acid burns and choking due to GERD. She prescribed me antacids that neutralize the acidic stomach juice and medications to help decrease acid production in the stomach. She also asked me to get tested for H.pylori, which thankfully came back negative. 

My doctor asked me to avoid foods that irritate the esophagus epithelium and keep a bird’s eye on things that triggered my heartburn. She asked me to avoid the following:

  • Spicy foods
  • Deep-fried foods
  • Sauces
  • Garlic and onion
  • Alcohol
  • Coffee
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Citrus fruits

Regular follow-ups with Your Doctors Online made it easier for me to stick to a healthier lifestyle and fight GERD. By taking medicines as prescribed by my doctor and following the precautions, I found an escape from GERD complications. 

Now, I am enjoying a peaceful sleep without any symptoms of choking or heartburn. I am still avoiding spicy foods and all those eatables that are disastrous for my newly healed esophagus. With the constant guidance of the doctor at Your Doctors Online, I have successfully made a diet plan that includes tasty and healthy food as well. 

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