Gastric sleeves or other weight loss procedures (collectively known as bariatric surgeries) work by changing the human body’s digestive system. Despite the expertise of your surgeon, these surgeries still tend to have some complications afterward.
You must look out for any minor or major difficulties post-surgery that may seem unusual to you because there is a huge chance that those indicate an exigent issue. One of the most common complications of Gastric sleeve is Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), commonly known as acid reflux.
Heartburn symptoms are the most typical sign of GERD. Even though other bariatric procedures, such as Gastric Bypass, are known to relieve acid reflux severeness, chances of developing it after a Gastric sleeve procedure are high.
How May Gastric Sleeve Surgery Cause Acid Reflux?
Experienced bariatric surgeons are aware of GERD complications which is why they adopt methods that decrease its high risk. Still, since the surgery relies on changing the digestive system, GERD may occur nonetheless. Patients are advised to contact their surgeon immediately after spotting its symptoms and treat it according to their professional advice.
GERD occurs either because of the possibility of a twisted sleeve during the surgery or the disruption of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). LES is a muscle that connects the esophagus with the stomach and is responsible for averting the flow of stomach acids from going into the esophagus.
In a Gastric sleeve, a huge portion of your stomach is removed, which may weaken and disrupt the muscle causing the LES to be pressurized and causing acid reflux back into the esophagus.
Symptoms And Indications Of Acid Reflux/ GERD
Heartburn is the most common symptom of GERD because the acid reflux in the esophagus can cause an irritational and burning sensation and cause chest pain. It may even disrupt your sleeping patterns and cause discomfort. Even though occasional heartburn is normal, If you think it is happening more frequently, look for other GERD symptoms and consult your doctor.
Ever Since the surgery, If you are experiencing chronic cough or feel you have developed asthma or a pre-existing one has aggravated, it is most likely a symptom of GERD and requires immediate attention.
Last but not least, disturbance and difficulty swallowing food substances can also be an initial result of GERD. Such symptoms are minor and hard to detect, but after such medical procedures, it is important to look out for any changes. Only then will you be able to benefit from the surgery.
How To Fix Acid Reflux After Gastric Sleeve Surgery?
The first and foremost suggestion is to contact your surgeon to update them on any complications that occur post-surgery and follow their advised treatment. Your surgeon may recommend the following methods after a correct diagnosis and the severity of your symptoms:
Patients are advised to change their dietary habits and abstain from triggering food substances likely to cause severe acid reflux. These substances include coffee, alcohol, acidic foods, chocolate, sodas, fatty foods, and spicy food. Eating a healthy diet with small portions and avoiding night snacking will also palliate the symptoms and ease persistent heartburn.
It is preferred if you wait at least 45-60 minutes after eating a meal and then lying down or going to bed. Many post-gastric sleeve patients have found it easier to consume baked food rather than fried. Along with that, you can eat lean meat and poultry food to lessen the symptoms.
Related: How To Eat Pizza With Acid Reflux
As the body mass increases, so do the stomach pressure, which is precisely why obese patients are more likely to be diagnosed with GERD. The excess weight raises pressure on the abdomen and results in acids being refluxed backward in the esophagus. Overeating can result in the weakness of LES. The muscle will disrupt and cause problems. If you are experiencing GERD, weight management and lifestyle changes are highly recommended, as they have shown significant improvements in several patients.
A chronic illness such as this requires treatment properly with the help of medicines that your doctor prescribes after diagnosing the severity of GERD in your body. However, counter-antacids are the most common way to go, as they can balance the existing acids in your stomach and neutralize them.
You can also consume H2 blockers, and even though they are easy to consume, you must keep track of your B12 levels as these prescription medications are known to absorb vitamins from your body. Proton pump inhibitors can also be used because they focus on fixing the problem from roots and directly reducing the production of acid by your glands.
If simple medication does not work, some trusted medical procedures can be performed after your surgeon’s consultation. Linx procedure is a known and effective method in which a ring of magnetic beads is implanted around the lower end of the esophagus to help it function better.
Gastric bypass surgery is another bariatric procedure that is known to alleviate the symptoms of GERD. Hence, if the dietary restrictions, weight loss, and medications do not seem to work for you, your surgeon can advise you to have another surgery to convert the gastric sleeve into a gastric bypass.
In this case, your pyloric valve will be removed to release the intra-abdominal pressure. This will also remove the threat of possible hiatal hernia. Progressive procedures such as a duodenal switch can also be performed to rectify the complications as it is one of the advanced ones with the most effective results.
Consequences of GERD/ acid reflux disease
Glastic sleeve is a complicated surgery, and now that we have discussed its causes, symptoms, and solutions above. It is important to understand the possible consequences that may occur if it is left undetected.
It is not simply one of the minor side effects of your surgery. In fact, It can be extremely threatening to your health. The constant reflux of acids can cause Barrett’s esophagus, where the linings thicken and permanently damage the tube. In severe cases, Barrett’s esophagus can even lead to esophageal cancer, threatening your life. Esophageal motility disorder can also occur, making it difficult to swallow food substances and live normally.
How Can I Fix My Acid Reflux After Gastric Sleeve Surgery Summary
I hope you got the answers you were searching for. Getting acid reflux symptoms after a gastric sleeve surgery is possible, so ensure you talk with a professional if a problem occurs.