Belching While Laying Down

Most people don't know about belching while laying down.
It is actually one of the worst things one can do.

Most people understand about the little gate at the top of the stomach which allows food or drink in and hopefully keeps stomach acid contained within the stomach.

When sitting or standing your body is in an upright position and the stomach fluids may be about half to 3/4 full of liquid. The remaining portion, may have air or sometimes gas at the top, so when you belch, hopefully no acid comes out with the gas.

I want everyone to think of a gallon jug of water a little more than half full.
When laying down, now the stomach becomes like water jug laying on it's side. What would happen if you took the cap off while the jug is on it's side? When you belch laying down and the little gate briefly opens to let the gas out, in many cases, stomach acid sneaks out also, causing a burning sensation, which can lead to the erosion of the esophagus or the little gate.

I Get On My Elbow

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I had no idea people COULD burp while lying down. If I tried to do that, I would vomit everywhere.

Unfortunately I happen to burp every couple minutes. So when I get in bed at night, I am constantly getting up and laying back down until I fall asleep. I have to be FULLY upright for the burp to come up. No elbows for me :)

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The leaking of the acid into the esophagus is what created all of my husband's problems. He suffered from a hiatal hernia for years and lived with constant heartburn. This was in the days before all of the proton pump inhibitors that are on the market today. As a result of the acid leaking into the esophagus he developed Barrett's Esophagus. Which basically is the stomach lining growing up into the esophagus to protect the esophagus from the acid. The problem with this is the cells in the stomach lining and the esophagus are not compatible and this creates a "pre-cancer" condition that can turn into cancer. In my husband's case it was closely monitored with biopsies and in 2004 it turned into a very early stage of esophageal cancer. This required 90% removal of his esophagus with a gastric pullup. So in essence his stomach was then acting as his stomach and his esophagus. Therefore could only eat very small meals every 2 hours and suffered from feeling of fullness and severe dumping syndrome. After fighting with weight loss for a couple of years it was decided he needed a j-tube for night time supplemental feeds in addition to eating what he could during the day. When he first had his j-tube he regained all of his lost weight and was doing very good. Over the course of 4-5 years his desire to eat became less and less frequent and the weight loss recurred. In November of 2012 he was diagnosed as "failure to thrive" and he passed away on January 24, 2013. In telling this story I just wanted to relay the message that the acid reflux that can occur is a very serious condition and should not be taken lightly. Now there are many medications out there that can help prevent the acid reflux and anyone having this problem should discuss with their physician the best line of defense for each individual.

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Thanks for the responses.


Sorry, about your husband losing his battle. It's great that you are still sharing your family's experiences to help others.
I really needed someone to acknowledge the seriousness of belching while laying down and that it should not be taken lightly.

There is almost know talk, even by medical professionals to their patients, in regards to this issue as one of the leading causes of damage to the little gate at the top of the stomach or the esophagus.

There is lot of emphasis on breast cancer with constant mentioning of getting regular mammograms, even with sports players wearing pink shoes or gloves, lung cancer, which seems to be blamed on cigarettes mostly, but not much said about auto exhaust pollution, getting checked for prostrate cancer, along with other medical issues, but NEVER, NO PUBLIC AWARENESS about belching while laying down and eventually being NPO. For those do not know what NPO stands for, it basicly means, no eating or drinking by mouth.

Jo & I have a pool player on our Thursday night team who suffers from severe acid reflux, mostly at night.
I keep telling about belching while laying down, and although he respects what I say, he still seems to brush it off, like he doesn't beleive that belching could have anything to do with it.

Duvie has a cousin with severe acid reflux, who I also told him about belching while laying down, if he eventually stopped, I don't know.

It's been about 35 years since I first heard about this issue, when my mom was told she had hiatal hernia.
Hiatal hernia is when stomach acid gets to the skin/tissue of the top of the little gate which doesn't have a protective nature such as the stomach side has. This is the ONLY time in my life where a Dr. talked about belching while laying down.

Members on feeding tubes either know first hand or have heard of leakage when the stoma gets bigger than the tube.
With stomach acid eating away at the little gate with each belch, eventually more and more stomach juices come out to continue the damage.

I am trying to bring awareness to the friends, families, caregivers, or people they may know to draw attention to this issue in hopes that many may not lose the ability to enjoy their food by mouth.

Bringing Awareness

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While my husband was alive I was very active on this forum and after his passing several people asked me to stay semi-active to share what I knew as a caregiver of a j-tube user. Anything I can share I'll gladly do it if it can save someone from going through what my husband went through. One thing I will add is that the proton pump inhibitors (nexium, pevacid, prilosec, etc) are not a cure but a band-aid. When they are taken on a regular basis all they do is hide the issue. A physician needs to go in through endoscopy and take a look and see what is going on before it is too late. If anyone has chronic indigestion, heartburn, acid reflux, or whatever you want to call it someone needs to take an internal look before prescribing the PPIs.

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There will always be those who could use your knowledge and advice.
Duval's esophagus deteriation was due to chug-in-luggin straight Vodka.
He basicly does not have much of an esophagus left, as he also has had his stomach pulled up higher into his chest.
He now takes Nexium, which the cause of the only med. clog of his tube. Luckily I have the DeClogger.

According to the amount of responses, many people apparently don't believe that belching plays a part in damaging the esophagus.
I realize most have gastric problems instead of esophageal problems.

Thanks For Comments, Kayjay35

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I will say that after my husband's esophagus was removed and he had the gastric pullup his acid reflux/indigestion problems also went away. The hiatal hernia remained but due to the change of anatomy he was then GERD free. In his case the doctors all felt that he was born with the hiatal hernia. But of course then he had other problems that were created because of the anatomy change. So we have to take the good with the bad. His GI did want him to take prescribed prilosec for the duration of his life which he did. But if he happened to miss a day he did not have any issues. Fortunately in his case he was able to swallow his medications orally. A lot of insurances will no longer pay for the prescription PPIs because they are available over the counter. My husband's insurance would pay because of the Barrett's diagnosis.

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