Some experts debate whether or to what extent GERD makes asthma
worse. Studies have shown conflicting results as to whether GERD triggers
Those experts who believe GERD does trigger asthma theorize that the
abnormal backflow of stomach juices irritates nerves in the esophagus. This
could make the smooth muscles of the bronchial tubes tighten, causing airway
narrowing. Or food may back up into the throat and airway, causing direct
irritation of the bronchial tubes.
People with asthma who have
heartburn—after meals, when they bend over, or when
they lie down—may need to be treated for GERD. If you have persistent nighttime
asthma symptoms, especially coughing and wheezing, GERD could be making your
asthma symptoms worse. Simple steps you can take that may reduce the symptoms
of GERD include losing weight (if needed), eating a low-fat diet, raising the
head of your bed, and not eating for at least 3 hours before you go to bed.
Studies show mixed results on whether treatment for GERD improves
asthma symptoms or lung function or reduces the need for
One review of studies concluded that treatment
for GERD did not result in consistent improvement in asthma symptoms.1
One study showed that people with poorly controlled asthma and GERD who received GERD treatment using esomeprazole did not have any significant improvement in their asthma.2
Another study noted that after taking medicines
for GERD (proton pump inhibitor and a prokinetic agent) for 6 months, older
children with GERD and asthma needed less asthma medicine.3
For more information about GERD, see the topic Gastroesophageal
Reflux Disease (GERD).
In this article
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
February 22, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this