What’s the Link Between Acid Reflux and Gastric Bypass?
Gastric bypass is arguably the most popular treatment for weight loss. However, this bariatric procedure may present a few manageable side effects, including heartburn.
Acid reflux, GERD, or heartburn occur when bile or stomach acid reverses back into the esophagus. This burning sensation in the chest is prevalent at night when sleeping after eating a heavy meal. As such, understanding the connection between acid reflux and gastric bypass can help patients cope and recover faster.
So, What Causes GERD After Gastric Bypass?
Gastric bypass surgery, just like gastric sleeve surgery, involves reducing the size of a patient’s stomach to encourage weight loss. Unfortunately, altering the digestive system increases the likelihood of acid reflux since the stomach size is reduced.
Signs of GERD after gastric bypass surgery include:
- Throat irritation
- Stomach upset
- Pain swallowing
- Oral acidity
Treating Acid Reflux After Gastric Bypass Surgery
Not all patients experience acid reflux after gastric bypass. Those who do can remedy symptoms through:
Various medications can provide relief for acid reflux after gastric bypass surgery. Proton pump inhibitors, for instance, reduce the production of stomach acid, preventing the likelihood of heartburn. Your doctor may also administer prokinetic agents to strengthen the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This will provide relief from GERD.
If medications are not effective, patients can opt for surgery. Popular options include Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) and LINX surgery. RYGB reduces the gastric pouch and extends the small intestines to limit the production of gastric juices. LINX surgery entails adding magnetic rings to the esophagus to close the gut after eating, preventing GERD symptoms.
The Stretta Procedure
The Stretta procedure strengthens the LES muscle to prevent stomach acids from reversing into the esophagus after eating. The treatment involves inserting a low-heat radiofrequency device into the esophagus to strengthen the LES muscle.
Risks of Acid Reflux After Gastric Bypass Surgery
Urgent medical attention is imperative for patients who develop GERD after gastric bypass. Untreated acid reflux can escalate and cause chronic conditions such as:
- Esophageal cancer
- Erosive esophagitis
- Peptic strictures
Overcoming the symptoms of GERD after gastric bypass is the last hurdle to attaining the ideal body size. At Ascension Saint Agnes, we can help you prevent the effects of acid reflux after surgery. Call now for a free consultation, and let us answer your questions about GERD reflux in Baltimore.