Can Weight Loss Surgery Help with Your Acid Reflux?

Man struggling with stomach pain

Acid reflux is a digestive disease millions of people struggle with every day. When left untreated, it can result in gastritis, esophagitis or inflammation of the esophagus, wheezing, tooth decay, and Barrett’s esophagitis, which is a precancerous condition.

Obesity is known to contribute to acid reflux.

Research shows that increasing BMI contributes to the poor functioning of the lower esophageal sphincter in the gastroesophageal junction. Obesity also increases intra-abdominal pressure, causing acid to rise from the stomach into the esophagus. Lifestyle modifications and weight loss can reduce or eliminate acid reflux.

We understand just how difficult it can be to live with acid reflux, and that is why we offer our patients some of the most advanced weight loss procedures in the world.

In addition to easing your acid reflux, one of these operations could help you shed pound after pound in the coming months. This can improve your physique as well as your overall quality of life.

What Is Acid Reflux and GERD?

Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid refluxes into the esophagus and sometimes up to the throat. It is also commonly known as heartburn. If you experience acid reflux at least twice weekly, you may suffer from a health condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

What Are the Causes?

One common cause is a sliding hiatal hernia. This happens when the upper stomach and the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) are partly pushed above the diaphragm into the chest. Since the chest has a lower pressure than the abdomen, stomach content or acid rises into the esophagus.

Other common causes include:

  • Internal physical abnormalities
  • Abnormally high stomach acid production
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Frequent large meals
  • Always waiting too long to eat
  • Eating close to bedtime
  • Eating acidic foods such as tomato, chocolate, and citrus fruits
  • Eating onions, garlic, and mint
  • Eating spicy foods
  • Eating fatty foods
  • Eating fried foods
  • Drinking alcohol, carbonated drinks, and caffeinated drinks
  • Smoking
  • Pregnancy
  • Dramatic hormonal changes
  • Taking certain medications such as aspirin, muscle relaxers, ibuprofen, and blood pressure medications
  • Stress
  • Anxiety

Acid Reflux Symptoms

Heartburn is the number one most common symptom of GERD. It is characterized by a burning sensation that travels from your stomach to your abdomen area to the back of your throat. Acid regurgitation can accompany heartburn. As a result of this reaction, you may feel a bitter, sour taste in the back of your throat or mouth.

Other common symptoms include:

  • Bloating
  • Frequent flatulence
  • Constant burping
  • Persistent hiccups
  • Nausea
  • Frequent feeling like something is lodged in the back of your throat
  • The constant need to clear your throat
  • Dry cough and wheezing
  • Raspy voice
  • Consistent sore throat-like symptoms
  • Difficulty in deep-breathing

When to See a Doctor for Acid Reflux

If you experience heartburn, acid regurgitation, and other symptoms weekly, and over-the-counter antiacid medication cannot provide alleviation, it is time to visit your doctor.

To diagnose the underlying physical issues that contribute to the reflux disease, your doctor may order one or more of these diagnosis tests:

  • Barium swallow esophagram
  • Esophageal manometry
  • Endoscopy
  • Biopsymay

Common Treatments

Depending on your diagnosis and the severity of the situation, the doctor may offer different treatment options. For less severe cases, over-the-counter antacid medication (such as Rolaids, TUMS, Alka-Seltzer, Mylanta, and Maalox), along with lifestyle changes, may already be sufficient treatment.

When antacids cannot produce any results, your physician may offer a prescription for these treatments:

  • Foaming agent
  • H2 blockers
  • Proton pump inhibitors
  • Prokinetics

Can Weight Loss Relieve Acid Reflux?

Yes, weight can directly impact acid reflux symptoms. Losing weight can help.

Temporary acid reflux conditions can be addressed with dietary changes and medications. But in the case of obese people, particularly the ones who have a high amount of stomach fat, metabolic surgery is a permanent solution to acid reflux. This surgery will remove the excess belly fat, reduce pressure on the stomach, and resolve the symptoms of acid reflux over time in combination with a healthier diet program.

As an experienced bariatric surgeon, Dr. Beltre receives patients from Orlando, Tampa, Maitland, Central Florida, and nearby areas for weight loss and acid reflux treatment. Dr. Beltre also offers metabolic surgeries such as sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass, which will alter how the body processes food. These changes can support the reduction of acid reflux.

The smaller stomach pouch and the reduced volume of stomach acids in the pouch can help reduce the severity of acid reflux following these surgeries. The reduction in digestive hormones and the anatomical changes that alter the passage of food through the digestive tract may also help to reduce acid reflux.

When Should You Consider Surgery to Treat Acid Reflux?

Medication and lifestyle changes sometimes are not sufficient to alleviate GERD. Here are some situations when surgery is considered:

  • You have allergies to acid reflux medication
  • The medication fails to relieve symptoms
  • You suffer from pre-existing health conditions such as obesity or type 2 diabetes
  • You have difficulty taking medication
  • You have an ulcer
  • You suffer from hiatal hernia
  • You have an abnormal lower esophageal sphincter
  • You are at risk for severe complications from GERD

Reduce Acid Reflux Symptoms with Comprehensive Care in FL

You don’t have to live with unrelenting acid reflux symptoms, especially if they are caused by excess weight. We are here to help.

For more information about acid reflux treatments and weight loss surgery options, contact our team. We are here to answer any questions and concerns about weight-loss treatment options and help you decide if it could also help you achieve freedom from GERD pain.

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