According to a study done by Cedars-Sinai, about one-third of Americans experience acid reflux symptoms every week, even when they take preventive medicines. If acid reflux continues, it can lead to serious consequences that affect many aspects of your health.
At OakBend Medical Group, our bariatric surgeon Christopher Reilly, MD, FACS, specializes in weight loss surgeries to address obesity-related acid reflux symptoms. He can also identify issues like hiatal hernias that contribute to reflux.
The link between acid reflux and chronic health complications
Acid reflux describes the backflow of acids from your stomach into your throat and mouth. This condition develops when the lower esophageal sphincter, the valve at the top of your stomach, becomes weak or dysfunctional.
Normally, the valve opens to allow food and drink to pass through and then closes to keep acids in the stomach. When the valve is weak, it can’t close fully, so acids flow back up into your esophagus.
Stomach acids irritate the lining of your throat and mouth. They can also cause inflammation in these areas that lead to:
- Sore throat
- Bad breath
- Hoarse voice
- Pain with swallowing
Ongoing acid reflux, a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), can also lead to inflammation in your gums and the eroding of enamel on your teeth.
Over time, chronic inflammation in the lining of your esophagus can lead to Barrett’s esophagus, a thickening of the esophageal lining. In some, the inflammation and thickening of the esophagus can lead to cell changes that increase your risk for esophageal cancer.
How bariatric surgery can relieve acid reflux
Acid reflux and GERD is often the result of increased pressure on your upper stomach and lower esophagus. Pressure can stem from pregnancy as the fetus grows. More commonly, being overweight or obese is the root cause of acid reflux.
If you’re unable to lose weight on your own or if you need to lose a lot of weight, our providers can determine if you’re a candidate for weight loss surgery. We offer several types of bariatric surgical procedures, including gastric sleeve and gastric bypass surgeries that support safe and rapid weight loss.
As you lose excess pounds, it takes the pressure off your internal organs to prevent the backflow of stomach acids. Reduced pressure can make it easier to control your acid reflux symptoms with a healthy diet and over-the-counter acid neutralizers.
Lifestyle changes can help
In addition to your weight, there are many lifestyle factors that can worsen your acid reflux symptoms. If you eat foods that are spicy or rich, you might be more prone to episodes of acid reflux. Excessive alcohol use, smoking, and the use of certain medications can also increase your risk for acid reflux and GERD.
To be considered a candidate for bariatric surgery, you need to commit to lifelong diet and lifestyle changes. The same lifestyle and diet changes you make after surgery will also be beneficial for alleviating acid reflux symptoms.
For instance, eating large meals can trigger acid reflux symptoms. After weight loss surgery, your stomach can only hold a certain amount of food to prevent overeating. The change over to eating only small meals can help reduce the frequency of acid reflux.
Call the OakBend Medical Group office in Richmond, Texas, to find out if you’re a candidate for bariatric surgery to treat acid reflux or book an appointment online today.