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The Causes of GERD After Gastric Sleeve Surgery

The Causes of GERD After Gastric Sleeve Surgery


Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition where food from the stomach re-enters a patient’s esophagus. Conventionally, GERD should reduce after a gastric bypass, but there are cases where the procedure makes it even worse. You may experience GERD as you try to recover from gastric bypass surgery, so how are GERD and bariatric surgery connected? How can you treat it?

What Is the Relationship Between GERD and Gastric Bypass?

Are you wondering if gastric bypass and acid reflux are connected? When you undergo surgery, it alters the normal shape of the stomach, changing how food usually travels through your digestive system. It is expected that the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) will also be affected. This is the muscle ring at the end of the esophagus, which opens when food enters the stomach and closes to prevent the particles from re-entering. However, when it fails to work, food contents from the stomach find their way back to the esophagus, which causes symptoms of GERD or acid reflux after gastric bypass surgery.

How Does Bariatric Surgery Affect the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES)?

There are various ways that the LES can be tampered with during surgery. For instance, the angle where it meets the stomach may flatten, making it easier for food to travel back to the esophagus. Similarly, if there is excessive pressure in the stomach, it may exert the same pressure on the muscles, forcing them open. Lastly, acid reflux may occur because food post-surgery stays in the stomach for too long. 

How to Treat Gerd After Gastric Bypass

If you are suffering from excruciating acid reflux after surgery, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention. Doctors recommend  PPIs (Proton Pump Inhibitors), which go a long way to reduce the excessive production of acid in the stomach. They may also prescribe prokinetic agents to make the LES contractions and the contractions along the tract stronger.

If you have severe GERD and medication doesn’t seem to work, then doctors will recommend surgery. They can perform RYGB or LINX surgeries or the Stretta procedure. You should see a doctor immediately when you detect acid reflux; otherwise, you risk complications like inflammation of the esophagus, peptic strictures (narrow esophagus), or esophageal cancer. 

Seek Professional Help to Deal With GERD After Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Are you interested in undergoing a gastric bypass in Manhattan? Or have you had one but need surgery to treat severe acid reflux? Consult with our professionals from Lennox Hill Hospital today for a safe bariatric surgery and treatment of acid reflux, GERD, and other post-gastric bypass complications.