Acid reflux is an uncomfortable and even painful condition that can affect the long-term health of your upper gastrointestinal system.
The bariatric surgeons at OakBend Medical Group offer weight loss surgery solutions for people who have chronic acid reflux due to obesity. This condition is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Our surgical team can determine if you’re a candidate for surgery after a full evaluation of your health, your medical history, and the severity of your acid reflux symptoms.
How obesity contributes to acid reflux
Being overweight increases your risk for acid reflux because excess weight puts pressure on your stomach and esophagus. This pressure can cause weakening in the lower esophageal sphincter, a valve at the top of your stomach. A weak valve might not be able to close properly and can allow stomach acids to flow back up into your throat.
You might also experience persistent symptoms of acid reflux like:
- Sore throat
- Hoarse voice
- Bad breath
- Frequent belching
Acid reflux can also be severe enough to cause pain in your chest, a symptom that requires the immediate attention of your primary care provider.
By losing weight, you can reduce the pressure on your upper gastrointestinal tract. If weight loss through diet and exercise is difficult or if you have a large amount of weight to lose, you might benefit from bariatric surgery.
5 more factors that can contribute to acid reflux
In addition to obesity, there are other issues that can increase your risk for developing acid reflux such as:
Smoking cigarettes can relax your lower esophageal sphincter. This can affect the function of the valve, so it’s not able to keep stomach acids from coming back up.
Smoking can also reduce saliva production. Your saliva contains bicarbonate, a substance that naturally neutralizes stomach acids. With less saliva, you’re not able to reduce the uncomfortable and potentially damaging effects of acid reflux.
Drinking alcoholic beverages doesn’t cause acid reflux but it can aggravate your symptoms.
Certain types of alcohol, including wine and beer, can increase the amount of acid in your stomach, leading to an increase in the severity of your acid reflux symptoms.
Eating spicy foods
Spicy foods can irritate your esophageal lining and increase your acid reflux symptoms. Eating spicy food too often can also damage your esophageal lining and increase your risk for Barrett’s esophagus, a precancerous condition that can increase your risk for esophageal cancer.
In addition to spicy foods, citrus, mint, and high-fat foods can also worsen your acid reflux symptoms.
Medications like antibiotics, over-the-counter pain relievers, and antidepressants can all irritate your esophageal lining and increase your risk for acid reflux and GERD.
If you take dietary supplements like iron or potassium, you might be more likely to experience frequent acid reflux.
As your baby grows, it can begin to press on your stomach and your lower esophageal sphincter. Many women who experience acid reflux during pregnancy find relief of their symptoms after they deliver their baby.
However, if you have other risk factors for acid reflux that you don’t correct or if you don’t lose the excess weight after your pregnancy, your symptoms might linger.
Options for treating acid reflux
Many of the issues that increase your risk for acid reflux can be addressed through lifestyle modifications, such as reducing your alcohol intake and avoiding spicy and high-fat foods in your diet.
If you have recurrent or chronic acid reflux because of your weight, you might qualify for weight loss surgery. Our team at OakBend Medical can determine if you’re a candidate for:
- Obera® intragastric balloon
- Lap-Band® laparoscopic gastric band
- Gastric bypass
- Gastric sleeve surgery
Our surgeons offer comprehensive, high-quality care before, during, and after your surgery to help you achieve your weight loss goals and regain control over your acid reflux symptoms.
To find out how bariatric surgery can be a treatment option for your acid reflux symptoms, call OakBend Medical or book a consultation online today.