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Will Gastric Bypass Help Acid Reflux? Acid reflux is a prevalent condition that usually involves a burning sensation in the region of the lower chest, which is known as heartburn. This happens when the stomach acid flows back up the food pipe. If acid reflux occurs 2 to 3 times a week or even more, then the medical condition is diagnosed as GERD. Although it is hard to get exact figures, acid reflux is indeed the most common gut problem experienced by hospital authorities across the US.
Will Gastric Bypass Help Acid Reflux?
The acid reflux condition is widespread in Western countries, and it affects around 30% of the population. In the US, approximately 60 million Americans experience acid reflux/heartburn at least once a month. However, chronic heartburn can lead to many complications in the future.
Causes of acid reflux
As stated earlier, acid reflux occurs when the acid in the stomach flows up into the esophagus and into the gullet (it moves the food down from mouth). This acid is known as hydrochloric acid, which is a powerful acid that is responsible for breaking down the food and fights against pathogens such as bacteria. The stomach lining is specially adapted to protect itself from this acid, but the esophagus does not have this luxury. Some dietary habits have been linked to acid reflux namely –
- High intake of table salt
- Lying down within 2 hours of having a meal
- Consuming acidic juices
Isn’t Acid Reflux & GERD the same thing?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease and acid reflux are very closely related to each other, but these two terms do not mean the same thing. Acid reflux is the backward flow of stomach acid into the tube that connects the stomach with the throat. An episode of acid reflux is usually associated with a burning sensation in the chest. This is often known as heartburn and usually occurs after a drinking coffee or after a big meal.
Sometimes the symptoms of acid reflux can progress severely into GERD. The most common symptom of GERD is heartburn, which can occur two to three times a week. The other common symptoms of GERD are difficulty in swallowing, regurgitation of sour liquid, and chest pain while you are lying down at night.
If the problem of acid reflux is occasional, then simple lifestyle changes can surely help. You can adopt some fundamental lifestyle changes like eating smaller meals, losing excess weight, and avoid foods that trigger a bit of heartburn such as peppermint, chocolate, and fried/fatty foods. Also, you should never wear tight clothing around the abdomen area, and you should refrain from alcohol and tobacco if you are suffering from acid reflux or if you fear that it will trigger an episode of acid reflux.
Occasional acid reflux can be treated with the help of OTC medicines such as antacids and H-2 receptor blockers. If the symptoms worsen and progress to GERD, then you must consult your doctor immediately. Extreme cases of acid reflux and GERD can be treated through surgeries.
How can surgery help acid reflux?
People who are suffering from acid reflux disease that is not responding to usual treatments comprising of medicines and lifestyle changes can resort to surgeries to get respite. Acid reflux is a very complex problem wherein heartburn is the main symptom. Almost 20% of the population in the US suffer from some degree of heartburn. But surgery is only recommended for patients who will benefit from the procedure. The anti-reflux surgery is perfect for
those have almost no symptom control, although he/she is on a high dose of medications and those who have additional esophagus manifestations like asthma, cough, and hoarseness.
The two main options when it comes to surgery are gastric sleeve surgery and Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery.
Which surgery is better: gastric sleeve or RnY (bypass)?
Gastric sleeve surgery is a type of bariatric surgery that is also known as a gastric gastrectomy. The main objective of gastric sleeve surgery is to reduce the food intake, which will, in turn, lead to food loss and removal of other health-related complications like acid reflux disease in this case. It is said that a patient will lose a minimum of 50 lbs after gastric sleeve surgery.
However, in the case of morbidly obese patients who are also suffering from acid reflux, laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery is strongly recommended. There is no doubt that gastric bypass surgeries address the concerns of acid reflux in a much better way than gastric sleeve and with much better efficacy and durability. After successful gastric bypass surgery, patients can enjoy an improved quality of life and highly controlled reflux symptoms.