GERD and Hiatal Hernia: Could LINX® Reflux Management System Be Right for You?

Acid reflux, heartburn, and indigestion are all common symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. This common problem afflicts over 20 million people every day here in the United States.

A hiatal hernia is when the stomach slips up into the chest. Hiatal hernias can worsen acid reflux because the typical sphincter mechanism in the lower esophagus is dysfunctional, and there is a mechanical disturbance of the natural flow of solid foods and liquids. Pregnancy, obesity, coughing, or constipation increase intra-abdominal pressure, which can worsen the symptoms of reflux and worsen a hiatal hernia.

Generally, hiatal hernias occur more often for patients who are overweight, women, and over 50 years old. Hiatal hernias can be diagnosed with upper endoscopy (EGD), an esophagram or upper gastrointestinal (UGI) series.

The LINX® Reflux Management System is a small and flexible band of interlined titanium beads with magnetic cores. To select the right size, the esophagus is measured with a specialized tool for all patients undergoing placement of a LINX device. First, a necklace-like tool is placed around the lower esophagus at the level of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to get the best fit for the LINX device. The measurement tool is then removed, and the LINX device is implanted, making sure the ends of the band are aligned and securely linked.

Magnetic attraction between the beads helps the lower sphincter resist opening to gastric pressures, preventing reflux of the acidic content in the stomach into the esophagus. The device is designed so that normal swallowing pressures temporarily break the magnetic bond, allowing food and liquid to pass normally into the stomach. Due to the magnetic attraction, the device will assist in closing the lower sphincter immediately after swallowing, augmenting the lower esophageal sphincter and restoring the body’s natural barrier to reflux.

If you suffer from GERD and would like to decrease, or in some cases, completely stop taking medication for this problem, the LINX® Reflux Management System could be the perfect solution for you. Schedule an appointment at VIPSurg to learn more.

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Love after Losing Weight: Handling Intimacy after Bariatric Surgery

Valentine's DayIntimacy can be difficult for even those with the best self-image. After perhaps a lifetime of a less-than-stellar body image, obese people who undergo bariatric surgery often have problems establishing or reestablishing intimacy within relationships. Existing partners are often afraid of hurting their loved ones both physically and emotionally, and the one who is losing the weight isn’t yet comfortable in his or her new, changing body. There are things one can do, however, to help ease the transition and kick-start a new, exciting, and sensual life.

1. Exercise: It’s what you are supposed to do anyway, and believe it or not, exercise can help with more than the weight loss. Physical activity sends blood to important large muscles including the pelvis. Ultimately, better circulation make things happen.

2. Eat right: Following a bariatric diet low in fat and sugar can help lower high blood pressure and blood sugar, helping to turn around a low sex drive in you and your partner.

3. Think about sex: If stressors like bills, job, and other responsibilities are keeping your mind tied up, it might be hard to spark libido. The book Fifty Shades of Gray is popular for a reason. Make time for yourself. Whether reading a romance novel or something more explicit, focusing on sex can boost desire and drive.

Making the decision to have bariatric surgery is an intensely private and personal matter. You’ve made that difficult decision already, so now take the next step toward making your life what you have always wished it could be. This year on February 14th, whether you are in a relationship or not, love yourself. For some, getting physical problems under control is all it takes to increase libido. Don’t let the years of negative thinking and poor self-image haunt you. Don’t buy into society’s messages about the perfect sexual body, be your own sexual person inside the body you have. Happy Valentine’s Day from Dr. Shawn Tsuda!