When Should I Consider Surgery for Chronic Acid Reflux?

When Should I Consider Surgery for Chronic Acid Reflux?

Many people experience heartburn from occasional acid reflux after eating a heavy meal or acidic foods. But when your symptoms become chronic, it may be time to consider surgery.

At OakBend Medical Group, our experienced surgeons use advanced surgical techniques to address the root cause of chronic acid reflux. Bariatric specialists Christopher Reilly, MD, FACS, Steven M. Thomas, MD, FACS, and Genna Lubrano, MD, provide several types of weight loss procedures to provide long-lasting relief of acid reflux symptoms.

What to know about acid reflux

Acid reflux occurs when there’s dysfunction in the valve at the top of your stomach. The valve opens to allow food and fluids to pass through then closes to keep stomach acids from coming up.

When the valve isn’t closing fully, acids can travel back up into your esophagus and cause symptoms like:

Ongoing issues with acid reflux can progress into a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Without proper management, GERD can cause more serious symptoms, including chest pain, teeth erosion, and gum inflammation.

You may also be at increased risk for Barrett’s esophagus, a condition where acid damage can lead to precancerous changes in your esophagus and esophageal cancer.

When to consider surgery for chronic acid reflux

Acid reflux symptoms that are triggered by alcohol, smoking, and certain foods may be manageable with over-the-counter acid reducers and neutralizers. You should also limit your use of known triggers to prevent heartburn and acid reflux complications.

It may be time to consider surgery if your acid reflux is difficult to manage with medications and lifestyle changes. If your weight plays a role in chronic acid reflux, bariatric surgery can relieve pressure on your diaphragm and stomach that forces stomach acids back up into your throat.

Bariatric surgery supports efficient and safe weight loss by limiting how many calories you can take in and supports healthy portion control. Our surgeons also provide resources you can use to maintain your weight loss results for a lifetime.

Surgery to repair a hiatal hernia may also be necessary. A hiatal hernia occurs when a part of your stomach protrudes up into your chest through a weak spot in your diaphragm. The weak spot can form in people who are overweight, have a history of smoking, or lead a sedentary lifestyle.

What to expect during a chronic acid reflux consultation

When you schedule a consultation with our OakBend Medical team for chronic acid reflux symptoms, you can expect a thorough physical exam to check for a hiatal hernia. We also review your medical history, existing health, lifestyle, and diet to identify what’s triggering your acid reflux.

Before recommending surgery, our physicians may recommend other strategies to use to control acid reflux symptoms. Strategies may include daily exercise, diet improvements, and acid-reducing medications.

When these methods aren’t providing sufficient symptom relief or if your weight is putting you at risk for heart disease or other serious health issues, our physicians discuss your options for bariatric surgeries like gastric bypass and gastric sleeve.

Call OakBend Medical Group in Richmond, Texas, to schedule an acid reflux consultation or book an appointment online today. 

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