Research shows that a relationship exists between OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea) and GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease). One report suggests that around 60 percent of patients with OSA also experience GERD. Sometimes, obesity plays a third role in this relationship.
When OSA occurs, changes in pressures within the diaphragm and the chest cavity make conditions favorable for acid reflux. It is also thought that an episode of apnea could alter digestive processes in a way that disrupts the function of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Apneas also cause more “respiratory effort” during sleep. This might force a change in pressure in the esophagus that leads to an increased chance for reflux.
It’s beneficial to know that treatment of OSA by continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy has been consistently shown to result in an improvement to the symptoms of GERD.
To learn more about the relationship between reflux and all sleep disorders, check out the full article published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).