GERD: What Patients Should Know and How Their Surgeons Can Help

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Many people occasionally experience mild heartburn, but if it occurs frequently and is accompanied by regurgitation, you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a chronic condition that affects the digestive system and is brought on by the lower esophageal sphincter not shutting correctly. This can cause stomach acid to leak into the esophagus, leading to irritation and, in some circumstances, the erosion of teeth.

The most common symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) are heartburn and acid regurgitation; however, some people might have GERD without ever experiencing heartburn. When symptoms are persistent, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can disrupt sleep and other everyday tasks, leading to more severe conditions.

The signs that indicate the GERD  condition:

Acid reflux:

There may be a stinging or gnawing sensation in your chest or stomach, and the back of your throat may have an unpleasant taste of stomach acid mixed with whatever you ate recently.

Abdominal or chest pain:

It typically begins about beneath the sternum and spreads upward toward the throat and outward toward the back.

Difficulty in swallowing:

Dysphagia occurs when food has difficulty traveling from the mouth via the esophagus and into the stomach.

Along with mentioned, acid reflux symptoms and GERD conditions can give you a weird aftertaste in the mouth after a meal.

Here are a few things that you need to know about GERD  surgery:

The acid reflux surgery treats gastroenterology reflux disease (GERD):

Potential surgical treatment for GERD is an option for those diagnosed with the condition. When adjustments to one’s lifestyle and the use of medicine are ineffective in alleviating symptoms, surgery becomes the next best option. 

And esophagus surgery may be the best option if you’re experiencing issues like bleeding or esophageal scarring. After realizing they’ll have to take medicine forever to manage their GERD symptoms, some people decide to have surgery instead.

There are different types of GERD surgeries to choose from:

Many different techniques and operations can be used to treat acid reflux. Fundoplication refers to a family of GERD procedures that your doctor may propose. Anti-reflux surgery is another term for this procedure. 

By rerouting a section of the stomach around the food pipe, this procedure generates a new esophageal sphincter. Hiatal hernias can be repaired in the operating room. The surgeon may also treat scarring or ulcers in the esophagus.

Acid reflux surgery has a high success rate:

As much as 95% of patients experiencing acid reflux issues find relief after surgery. Improvement in symptoms has been shown to last for a considerable period following surgery, with some studies tracking patients for over five years. 

Furthermore, most people report an enhanced quality of life following surgical intervention. Acid reflux surgery also has a high rate of success and a high rate of patient satisfaction.

There are chances that your diet to change after the surgery:

The initial phase following acid reflux surgery may necessitate a liquid-only GERD treatment diet, as your doctor recommends. You will gradually return to a regular diet, starting with soft foods. You may discover that even tiny amounts of food or liquid easily satiate you. 

Having difficulty passing gas is to blame. Eating often but in small portions, keeping beverages and solids apart, and avoiding foods high in fiber and carbonation may help reduce bloating. Know what you can and can’t eat/drink leading up to your surgery so you can prepare accordingly.

Your age doesn’t affect the success of GERD surgery:

Surgery for acid reflux may be possible for those 65 and older with GERD. Successful acid reflux surgery is effective regardless of age. The fact is that roughly 90% of the elderly who get acid reflux surgery have positive outcomes. The success rate is on par with younger patients undergoing the same operation. A more extended hospital stay may be necessary for elderly patients.

How can the GERD surgeons help you?

Before suggesting surgery, the GERD surgeons may prescribe you certain medications to control the signs of GERD. But most people prefer undergoing surgery as it is better than being on medication forever. GERD surgeons also help you understand the GERD surgery side effects and how you can avoid them while undergoing surgery.

What is involved in the recovery after GERD surgery?

Your postoperative recovery period should be faster if you had less-intensive surgery or endoscopic GERD treatment, but it may be longer if you had a more thorough operation/large incision.

You will have post-operative appointments in which you might need stitches or a drain removed and wound care. Keep up with these visits as directed by your healthcare practitioner.

When should you reach out to the surgeon after the surgery:

If you notice any of the following symptoms, you must see a doctor right away:

  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Hematemesis
  • Blood in the stool
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness

The long time care after GERD surgery:

It is expected that once the healing process is complete, the patient’s symptoms will begin to improve. Dietary and lifestyle changes that alleviate GERD symptoms may still be necessary. Your doctor may suggest you give up smoking and alcohol for good if you’re trying to prevent a recurrence.

Surgery for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) typically does not require any special follow-up care on an ongoing basis. Seeking early treatment for GERD from the best gastroenterologist in Coimbatore ensures the condition is treated earlier.

Outlook of the condition:

Surgery is typically not recommended for GERD patients. However, severe GERD symptoms that refuse to go away may call for esophageal surgery—consistently engaging in behaviour modifications that reduce the risk of GERD recurrence after surgery is highly recommended.

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