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nighttime aspiration

Posted by Bill R. Sherman

  I am 62 years old and lately a few times during the last year I have been awakened by aspiration of stomach contents coming up into my throat. The last 2 times it is like I am choking, I have great difficulty breathing and it lasted around 30 seconds, the second time closer to a minute. then it stops and I can breathe.  do you know what causes this, (certain foods, late night snacks,etc?) and what I can do or should do to help prevent it from happenning again.  (see my doctor,medication, don't eat after 8 pm.??)  Bill
Answers (2)
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As a Certified Holistic Nutrionist I wanted to respond to you with some digestion basics.

First as we age our digestion slows down. We have less stomach acids available and things just move at a slower rate as far a digestion goes.

Some foods can trigger this type of reaction and certainly I don't recommend to any client that they eat after 7pm as a habit.

Try changing what you're eating if you feel there is a trigger food, also stop eating after 7pm and let your body have the time it needs to digest properly.

In the meantime I would definitely ask your doctor about any other medical conditions that could induce this type of a reaction.

In health,



I can add some basics.  Reflux can be caused by many things and a full review of your situation is the best way to find the right medical direction to pursue.

That said, there are foods that relax the lower esophagus "high pressure zone" and can make reflux worse in some cases.  These include alcohol, chocolate, and peppermint.  In addition, any distention of your stomach will make reflux worse - large meals, fatty meals, carbonated drinks.

Another strategy is to prop the head of your bed up with bed blocks or sleep with multiple pillows propping your back up.

In closing, there are many other ways to approach this problem depending on the cause, risk factors, etc.  The above answers are educational only. 


NOTICE: The information provided on this site is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on Wellsphere. If you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.
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