Bariatric surgery, including gastric sleeve, is an effective way to help you lose excess weight and keep it off in the long term. It can help with several illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease, and even some cancers. But some patients notice an increase in acid reflux symptoms after a gastric sleeve procedure. So the question is: does gastric sleeve cause acid reflux (heartburn)?
In many cases, obese or morbidly obese people experience GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) more often than others. One way to solve this issue is to undergo a gastric sleeve or other weight loss procedure. In some patients, however, acid reflux may increase.
Does Gastric Sleeve Cause Acid Reflux?
There are mixed opinions on whether gastric sleeve surgery causes acid reflux. Studies have shown that it can increase symptoms in some patients but not in others. The reason why some patients may experience increased acid reflux after gastric sleeve surgery is that the reduced stomach size can cause food to move more quickly into the small intestines.
This causes an increase in pressure in the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which then prevents it from closing tightly and allowing acid to escape. Also making a smaller stomach can lead to increased pressure in the stomach itself and helps push the acid into the esophagus causing the burning feeling. In addition, changes in digestion can also play a role. Gastric sleeve surgery affects the production of digestive enzymes, which could lead to poor digestion and increased acid reflux.
Other factors like diet, lifestyle choices, medications, and underlying medical conditions may also be contributing factors.
However, the majority of people (80%) do not have any acid reflux after a sleeve gastrectomy. Part of the balance is that weight loss helps prevent acid reflux in general. Most of the time any acid reflux after a sleeve gastrectomy is controlled with over-the-counter anti-acid medication. If you suffer from severe acid reflux at baseline then sometimes a gastric bypass surgery is a better option with frequent cessation of acid reflux after surgery.
More About Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is a common digestive issue. It occurs when the stomach acid flows back up into the esophagus, causing a burning sensation in your chest and throat. Being obese can lead to an increased risk of acid reflux due to high levels of abdominal fat that can put extra pressure on the stomach area.
This extra pressure can cause the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) – a muscle responsible for keeping food and acids inside the stomach – to become weak or relax too much. This allows stomach acid to flow back up into the esophagus. While the stomach lining is made to handle the acid, the rest of the digestive tract is not protected.
Making lifestyle changes such as eating smaller meals, avoiding trigger foods, and exercising regularly, can help to reduce your risk of acid reflux. Additionally, if you are overweight or obese, losing weight can also help improve symptoms of acid reflux. Even a moderate amount of weight loss can make a big difference in reducing your risk for acid reflux.
The best way to prevent or manage acid reflux caused by gastric sleeve surgery is through lifestyle changes such as eating smaller meals, avoiding certain trigger foods, losing weight, and quitting smoking. Additionally, medications like antacids may also help to reduce symptoms
In some extreme cases, hiatal hernia repair may be required. Consulting with a doctor is the best way to determine the most effective treatment plan for managing acid reflux after gastric sleeve surgery.
Does Gastric Sleeve Cause Acid Reflux: GERD Symptoms
GERD is a condition where stomach acid frequently flows back into the esophagus, causing discomfort or even more serious issues. This can happen after a large meal or an upset stomach, but chronic acid reflux problems can be a sign of something else. Common symptoms of GERD include:
- Heartburn – burning sensation between the breastbone and throat
- Chest Pain – usually behind the breastbone that worsens when lying down or bending over
- Sore Throat – caused by stomach acid moving up into the throat and irritating it
- Coughing – due to irritation in the airways from stomach acids
- Difficulty Swallowing – due to tightening of the esophageal muscles
- Regurgitation – feeling like food is coming up your throat after eating
- Asthma – caused by stomach acid entering the lungs and causing irritation
People with worsened reflux also have an elevated (although still low) risk of developing esophageal cancer. However, the risk may increase if a person has frequent symptoms associated with GERD, so it is important to take proper care of your digestive health. Fortunately, GERD is unlikely ever to progress to developing any kind of esophageal cancer.
It’s important to note that GERD can also cause other symptoms not mentioned here, such as nausea, bloating, and belching. If you experience any of these symptoms or suspect you may have GERD, it’s important to speak with a doctor in order to get proper treatment.
Overall, while some people may be more likely to experience increased acid reflux after gastric sleeve surgery, this does not necessarily mean all gastric sleeve patients will suffer from it. With the right lifestyle modifications and medical intervention, those affected can find relief and manage their symptoms without compromising their weight loss journey.
What is Gastric Sleeve Surgery?
Gastric sleeve surgery is a procedure that removes up to 80 percent of the stomach and creates a smaller, banana-shaped organ. This surgery is typically used as an alternative to Roux en y gastric bypass for people who suffer from obesity or have difficulty maintaining a healthy weight. The aim of this operation is to reduce the amount of food that can be consumed while also reducing appetite hormones, leading to long-term weight loss.
Other types of weight loss surgery include gastric bypass surgery, Lap Band, and duodenal switch. When combined with a healthy diet and proper exercise, most patients lose up to 80 percent of their excess weight a year after surgery and keep it off. For more information about how bariatric surgery can help with acid reflux–or any weight-loss surgery questions–contact Olde Del Mar Surgery today!
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