Obesity is linked to many serious health conditions like heart attack, fatigue, and depression. One of the most common conditions associated with obesity is GERD. Anti-reflux surgeries like fundoplication do not always show promising results for patients with severe obesity. For morbidly obese patients, weight loss surgeons suggest the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass to treat GERD condition. In this blog, we will discuss reasons behind the popularity behind the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass as a treatment for severe GERD among obese patients.
What is GERD?
Acid reflux is a disease which affects a lot of people. It is a condition in which stomach acids move up the food pipe causing irritation to the esophagus lining. Acid reflux occurs due to the weakening or abnormal opening and closing of the muscle around the bottom portion of the esophagus. When symptoms of acid reflux occur frequently, it is referred to as gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD). It can occur as frequently as twice a week or even once a week. Apart from heartburn, some of the common symptoms of GERD include regurgitation of food, chest pain, wheezing, sore throat, difficulty in swallowing food and sensation of a lump in the throat. While occasional acid reflux is not a cause of concern, chronic GERD can lead to severe health problems. Severe GERD is usually diagnosed through flexible esophagoscopy. Another gold standard test is the 24-hour esophageal pH test.
Anti-reflux surgery is considered by people whose symptoms do not subside even after taking medication. Anti-reflux surgery is also usually considered by people who want to have a better quality of life and do not want to be dependent on life-long medications for suppression of stomach acids. Surgery becomes a necessity for people who have developed GERD-related complications like Barrett’s esophagus, esophageal stricture, and esophageal ulcer. It is also helpful for people with aggravated GERD-related conditions such as chest pain, asthma, and cough.
Who should consider Weight loss surgery for GERD?
One of the most concerning risk factors for GERD is obesity. It is believed that there is a direct correlation between the incidence of GERD and rising BMI in patients. This is because obesity causes increased pressure on the abdominal muscles, which increases the likelihood of the leakage of stomach acids.
Losing weight is considered imperative when looking to alleviate GERD symptoms, however, it is easier said than done. There are a lot of people for whom medications and lifestyle changes do not bring the desired weight loss results. For such patients with complicated GERD symptoms, weight loss surgery is highly recommended by weight loss doctors. It is common for a weight loss specialist to recommend the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure for severe GERD patients with a very high BMI. Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is preferred over other anti-reflux surgeries like Nissen Fundoplication as it has shown better results when it comes to treating the mechanism that causes GERD. In addition, the weight loss procedure helps patients achieve significant weight loss, reducing comorbidities related to obesity.
How does the Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass work?
Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is a weight loss surgery in which a pouch the size of an egg is created out of the upper portion of the stomach. The newly created stomach pouch is then attached to the roux limb section of the intestine. This is done to not only reduce the food intake but also minimize the amount of calories and nutrients that is ultimately absorbed by the body. Compared to other bariatric surgical procedures like sleeve gastrectomy and lap-band procedures, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass has been shown to provide better relief for acid-reflux symptoms. Weight loss achieved post surgery helps in significantly lowering the intra-abdominal pressure. The stapling of the stomach into a smaller gastric pouch lowers the amount of acid production while the biliary diversion process assists in the elimination of any bile reflux.
Consult a Weight Loss Specialist
Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is generally suited for people with extremely high obesity or BMI over 40. It is also recommended for people with BMI in the range of 30-40 who have serious weight-related health conditions. The suitability of the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure is not limited to the BMI criteria as there are many other factors that come into play. Consultations with weight loss doctors are crucial to discuss your medical history. Weight loss specialists sometimes request basic medical tests to ascertain your eligibility for the surgery. Remember, follow-up visits to the doctor are necessary even after the surgery to ensure safe and speedy recovery. Consult a reputable weight loss specialist near you to discuss whether the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure is the best solution to help alleviate GERD symptoms.