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Asthma and Heartburn

Hi all,

I have read that heartburn or GERD is a common comobidity with Asthma and just wandered how many of you have a problem with it, and when it affects you. For a number of years, before being diagnosed with asthma, occasionally I would lie down to sleep at night and after a few minutes would get a really nasty pain in my middle back and my chest would get tight. I would eventually get up walk around, stretch and take an anti acid tablet, thinking I was having a heart burn episode. It would eventually subside. The thing is we generally eat early in the evening, so my stomach would not be full at the time of going to bed. Now I recognize that one of my first signs of an asthma attack is the pain in my back and my chest getting progressively tighter, and just wondering if those 'heartburn' episodes could in fact have been asthma flares. I still get them occasionally, but now I use my rescue inhaler and within a few minutes start feeling better. Any thoughts?

  1.  Hey there! You're right, GERD is common with asthma -- in fact, 75% of people with asthma also have GERD. GERD asthma is even considered its own subtype! I got that information from this article on our site:

    We have a ton of info about GERD on the site. Here is a link to a search for all of our GERD content:

    I hope some of that is useful. Your GP and asthma doctor should both be pretty knowledgeable about GERD, but bringing a GI specialist onto your care team is a great idea if you're looking for extra support and focused treatment. Take care! -Melissa, team

    1. Thank u very much

      1.  - my asthma doctor was who put me on famotidine (PEPCID) to help with my heartburn/acid reflux. I have found it helpful. Hopefully you've had a chance to follow up.

    2. Yes I have Asthma caused by GERD I have been taking GERD meds for years Living with it everyday

      1.  hi there! thanks for being open about your experiences. GERD and asthma are definitely conditions you can live with, and I'm glad to hear you are managing them! hope you are doing well. -Corinne, moderator

    3. I had the weirdest experience last night, woke up about 1am with my back and chest so sore, I honestly thought I may be having a heart attack. It didnt feel like heartburn or acid reflux which is more of a burn, more like something deep inside my torso was in severe pain. So I sat up, checked my breathing which was normal, my chest was clear and open, my heart felt like it was beating normally and eventually it subsided even without taking any med. Could it have been heartburn, without the familiar burn, or something else?

      1.  As basic as it sounds, maybe it was a muscle spasm or you twisted the wrong way in bed. I've been known to get a "stitch" in my side from time to time -- boy, that hurts! -- but it never lingers. The body is an odd thing sometimes! Glad you're okay. Keep a close eye on it just in case! -Melissa, team

      2.  Hi again, jules. I was wondering how last night was for you? Did these unusual symptoms return or, was it an uneventful night for you?
        Please do let us hear back from you. We have a genuine concern for your good health!
        Leon (site moderator

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