When you have chronic acid reflux, you know how uncomfortable you feel, especially after eating and when lying down. If you’re overweight and over-the-counter medications are no longer providing relief, it may be the right time to consider the benefits of bariatric surgery.
At West Houston Surgical Associates, the bariatric surgery experts are highly skilled in assessing the severity of your acid reflux. They can determine if you’re a candidate for weight loss surgery to help find long-term relief of reflux symptoms before your esophagus is damaged permanently.
Christopher Reilly, MD, FACS offers some insight into what’s causing your chronic acid reflux and how to determine if surgery is the best way to move forward in your treatment.
How your weight plays a role in acid reflux
Chronic acid reflux, also called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), describes the backflow of stomach acids into your esophageal tract. This condition is often the result of a valve dysfunction in the top of your stomach.
In a healthy person, the valve opens to allow food to pass and closes to prevent acids from moving back up into your esophagus. Due to the natural aging process and excess body weight, the valve may become weak and stop functioning as it should.
As you gain weight and the size of your stomach increases, your risk for developing GERD also goes up. You may notice an increase in your symptoms of acid reflux soon after eating and they can last for hours. Common symptoms of GERD include:
- Bad breath
- Chest pain
- Chronic cough
- Bitter, sour taste
- Burning sensation in the throat
Women are especially at risk due to an increase in belly fat that occurs with age, hormonal changes, and an inactive lifestyle. The excess belly fat presses on the stomach and can force acid back up into your throat.
Excessive weight can also result in a hiatal hernia, a condition that occurs when the top part of your stomach pushes through your diaphragm due to muscle weakness. The diaphragm is a muscle that separates your chest from your abdomen. Those with hiatal hernias may experience more frequent episodes of GERD, especially if they’re obese.
When to consider surgery
You may be a candidate for bariatric surgery if you suffer from chronic symptoms of acid reflux and aren’t finding relief from over-the-counter or prescription acid-reducing medications, and can’t lose a significant amount of weight on your own.
West Houston Surgical Associates offers several types of bariatric surgeries based on your health needs and overall weight loss goals. Dr. Reilly can determine which type of surgery is right for you and may consider you for:
Each surgery is designed to decrease the size of your stomach to limit the amount of food and calories you can consume to promote healthy, consistent weight loss. Along with surgery, you will need to make significant changes to your regular diet and lifestyle to support healthy weight loss.
In addition to relieving the symptoms of GERD, bariatric surgery can improve the overall quality of your life, reducing your risk for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and other obesity-related conditions.
To find out more about the benefits of bariatric surgery for treating chronic acid reflux, schedule a consultation the team at West Houston Surgical Associates online or by phone today.