Will Gastric Bypass Help GERD? The majority of the people suffer from a sudden attack of heartburn once in a while, but if you get such attacks 2 – 3 times per week, then that can be a classic case of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (henceforth GERD). The term GERD is often used to describe chronic heartburn. The condition of heartburn is caused when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus. The esophagus is a narrow tube that helps to connect the throat with the stomach. There is a valve that separates the esophagus, and the stomach and acid reflux occurs when this valve opens at an inappropriate time.
Symptoms of GERD
The primary symptoms of acid reflux are a sour taste in the mouth and a burning sensation in the chest region. Heartburn is indeed the primary symptom of GERD, but some people may experience GERD without any heartburn. In these cases, a person may have some other signs of GERD, such as chronic cough, chest pain, or a strange feeling that something is stuck in their throat.
What triggers GERD?
Since the malfunction of the valve causes GERD, it is to be noted that valve malfunction is mainly caused by certain foods such as peppermint and onions. However, there are other potential trigger foods such as coffee, alcohol, tomato-based foods, and chocolate.
Will Gastric Bypass Help GERD?
How can it be treated?
The medical condition of GERD is often treated with OTC medicines, changes in the diet and lifestyle, and prescription medicines. In severe cases, the doctor may advise surgery for a full recovery. It is important to note that conditions like GERD should never be ignored. You need to treat the disease as early as possible as the disease can damage the all-important esophagus over time.
Initially, the doctor will advise lifestyle changes such as
- No eating at least 2 hours before bedtime
- Quit smoking
- Lose weight of you are already overweight
- Wear loose clothes around the waist
How does Gastric Bypass surgery help to treat GERD?
We now know that GERD or Gastroesophageal reflux disease takes place when the stomach acid flows backward into the esophagus. Usually, mild conditions can be treated with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medicines. Unfortunately, some people do not get any relief from medications and/or lifestyle changes. Surgery is the best option for these people. The operation focuses on replacing or merely repairing the valve that is located at the bottom of the esophagus. This valve is medically known as the Lower Esophageal Sphincter or LES. A very weak or damaged LES causes the condition of GERD. If you keep GERD untreated, then it can lead to Barrett’s esophagus, which heightens the risk of esophageal cancer.
When should surgery be considered?
If you have severe GERD complications, then surgery is usually recommended. The option of operation is the last resort for everyone. The doctor will first try to manage the condition with diet and lifestyle changes, but if that does not give relief, then the doctor will prescribe medications. If the patient still does not get relief from the symptoms, then surgery is recommended for proper healing. There are several surgical options, and the best approach would be decided by the doctor. However, the two most popular types of gastric surgery procedures are Gastric Sleeve and Gastric Bypass, also known as Roux-en-Y (Rny).
Gastric Sleeve vs. Gastric Bypass
Gastric Sleeve surgery is an excellent procedure, but the general consensus is that it is best suited for patients who do not have a significant history of GERD. In a gastric sleeve procedure, surgeons remove as much as 85% of the stomach. It leaves patients with a stomach with the shape of a sleeve or tube. However, this never alters how food travels to the gut. For many patients, this is the 1st procedure before a full bypass.
Rny Gastric bypass is said to be the most effective form of surgery for treating complicated GERD symptoms. This procedure is generally adopted for patients who have intractable GERD and where standard procedures have failed. In Rny gastric bypass, a small pouch is attached to the intestine so that the stomach can be easily bypassed. The recovery time for this procedure is around four weeks.
Which procedure is better?
It is challenging to pinpoint which procedure is better as different patients have different complications. One should work alongside the doctor to understand whether gastric sleeve surgery or gastric bypass surgery works for them. The consensus is that Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery is most useful for GERD as symptoms usually do not recur after such procedures, and the medical condition gets healed by as much 80 to 85%. However, we must re-assert that the final decision should be taken by the patient in consultation with his/her doctor.
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