A brunette woman in cream colored shirt sitting at a table with her hand over her chest expressing discomfort.

Are you in the process of recovering from a gastric sleeve operation? Or are you considering the transformative procedure? If so, you may have heard of acid reflux as a side effect of gastric sleeve surgery. Up to 35 % of people suffer from acid reflux after gastric sleeve surgery, but don’t let that stop you from pursuing weight loss surgery. Many find it to be manageable, and some don’t experience it at all!

While not everyone who undergoes gastric sleeve surgery will deal with acid reflux, we want to answer any questions you may have to help you avoid discomfort post-operation. In this blog, our team at BMI Surgery will explore everything you need to know about the connection between gastric sleeve surgery and acid reflux.

What is Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux is a condition that causes stomach acid to move out of the stomach and into the esophagus (the tube running between the throat and stomach). Acid reflux can cause discomfort and pain to those that experience it. People that have chronic acid reflux may have a condition known as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), which can cause the following additional symptoms:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Nausea
  • Heartburn

Many people sometimes experience heartburn and acid indigestion, especially after eating a large meal. However, GERD refers to experiencing acid reflux more frequently, at least a couple of times each week.

Losing weight with gastric sleeve surgery can help some GERD sufferers to improve or eliminate their condition through weight loss. However, some people find themselves experiencing GERD for the first time following their gastric sleeve surgery.

Why is Acid Reflux Common After Gastric Sleeve Surgery?

Research into the connection between acid reflux and gastric sleeve surgery has produced mixed results. But, it is believed that there are three possible causes of GERD developing after gastric sleeve surgery:

  • Existing hiatus hernia (part of the stomach bulges into the chest)
  • Damage caused to the esophageal sphincter following surgery
  • Change in intra-abdominal pressure

If you experience acid reflux after gastric sleeve surgery, it should subside as you lose weight and your body recovers from surgery. Your doctor can provide clear timelines for recovery and answer any specific questions you may have.

How to Reduce Acid Reflux After Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Some issues that can later cause GERD can be addressed by the surgeon during your operation. If you develop acid reflux after gastric sleeve surgery, there are some treatments available.

While not everyone will develop acid reflux after gastric sleeve surgery, knowing that treatment is available if needed is helpful. Some common remedies for acid reflux after gastric sleeve surgery include:

  • Medications such as antacids, proton pump inhibitors, and H2 receptor blockers
  • Light exercise
  • Avoiding foods that could irritate your stomach, like fatty foods, anything deep-fried, and drinks with excess caffeine
  • Avoiding overeating
  • Eating slowly

For more information, we recommend you contact your provider about the best ways to eliminate or reduce acid reflux or GERD symptoms following surgery.

Find Relief from Acid Reflux After Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Find quality support, advice, and encouragement after gastric sleeve surgery from Birmingham Minimally Invasive Surgery! If you develop acid reflux after your surgery, our qualified team of experts can help you find the relief you deserve. Don’t let the fear of acid reflux keep you from embarking on your weight loss journey– find out more today!

Interested in Weight Loss Surgery?

At Birmingham Minimally Invasive Surgery, we offer a choice of weight loss surgeries to help you achieve your weight loss goals and lead a healthier life. Call us at (205) 858-1211 or contact us online to learn more about weight loss surgery today!