GERD: Ways to Alleviate Symptoms

Heartburn is a very common symptom created by acid reflux, a condition where some of the stomach contents, including stomach acid, are forced back up into the esophagus, creating a burning pain in the lower chest. Persistent acid reflux that happens more than twice a week results in the diagnosis of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). According to estimates from the American College of Gastroenterology, at least 15 million Americans experience heartburn – the symptom of acid reflux – every day.

Most people are occasionally affected by heartburn, which is rarely a significant cause for concern. Recurrent acid reflux, however, resulting in the diagnosis of GERD can have serious consequences for health.

GERD is seen in people of all ages, and the cause is often attributable to a lifestyle factor, but it can also be due to unavoidable factors such as anatomical abnormalities affecting the valve at the top of the stomach. However, changes to lifestyle or behavior can prevent or improve heartburn symptoms.

The American Gastroenterological Association offers the following list of things to try to see if symptoms resolve:

  • Avoid food, drinks, and medicines that you find to be associated with heartburn irritation.
  • Eat smaller meals.
  • Do not lie down for two to three hours after a meal.
  • Lose weight if overweight or obese.
  • Avoid increased pressure on your abdomen, such as from tight belts or doing sit-ups.
  • Stop smoking.

It is important to address persistent problems with gastroesophageal reflux disease as long-term untreated acid reflux can lead to serious complications including an increased risk of cancer.

    The following foods are known to aggravate acid reflux, and should be avoided:

    • fatty or fried foods
    • peppermint and spearmint
    • whole milk
    • oils
    • chocolate
    • creamed foods or soups
    • most fast foods
    • citrus fruits and juices (grapefruit, orange, pineapple, tomato)
    • coffee (regular and decaffeinated)
    • caffeinated soft drinks
    • tea
    • other caffeinated beverages
    • spicy or acidic foods may not be tolerated by some individuals

If you suffer from GERD, schedule an appointment at VIPSurg. They can help you find the right treatment for your unique case.

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Diet Recommendations for After Weight-Loss Surgery

A gastric bypass diet helps people who are recovering from sleeve gastrectomy and from gastric bypass surgery — also known as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass — to heal and to change their eating habits. Your doctor or a registered dietitian can talk with you about the diet you’ll need to follow after surgery, explaining what types of food and how much you can eat at each meal. Closely following your gastric bypass diet can help you lose weight safely and keep you feeling well too.

The gastric bypass diet is designed to:

  • Allow your stomach to heal without being stretched by the food you eat
  • Accustom you to eating the smaller amounts of food that your smaller stomach can comfortably and safely digest
  • Help you lose weight and avoid gaining weight
  • Avoid side effects and complications from the surgery

Diet recommendations after gastric bypass surgery vary depending on your individual situation. A gastric bypass diet typically follows a staged approach to help you ease back into eating solid foods. How quickly you move from one step to the next depends on how fast your body heals and adjusts to the change in eating patterns. At each stage of the gastric bypass diet, you must be careful to:

  • Avoid dehydration.
  • Wait about 30 minutes after a meal to drink anything and avoid drinking 30 minutes before a meal.
  • Eat and drink slowly, to avoid dumping syndrome — which occurs when foods and liquids enter your small intestine rapidly and in larger amounts than normal, causing nausea, vomiting, dizziness, sweating and diarrhea.
  • Eat lean, protein-rich foods daily.
  • Choose foods and drinks that are low in fats and sugar.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Limit caffeine, which can cause dehydration.
  • Take vitamin and mineral supplements daily as directed by your health provider.
  • Chew foods thoroughly to a pureed consistency before swallowing, once you progress beyond liquids only.

The gastric bypass diet can help you recover from surgery and transition to a way of eating that is healthy and supports your weight-loss goals. Remember that if you return to unhealthy eating habits after weight-loss surgery, you may not lose all your excess weight, or you may regain any weight that you do lose.

If you live in the Las Vegas area and are considering bariatric surgery, schedule a consultation with VIPSurg. Dr. Tsuda and his team are ready to help you on your way to a healthier, happier life.

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Obesity is a Big Deal! A Look at the Complexity of this Serious Health Problem

Let’s face it, often those of us who are overweight or obese are judged quite harshly by society. People generally assume that obesity is strictly a matter of personal willpower, the product of bad choices about physical activity and diet. It is assumed that an overweight or obese person has little self-control. This kind of bias and thinking gets in the way of dealing with obesity as the serious health issue it is.

Obesity is a very complicated condition. About 50 to 70% of one’s risk of obesity is genetically determined. You can make choices that make it better or worse, but that’s just like any other chronic disease. When the blame and shame that are so common get in the way, it makes it hard to improve the health of people living with obesity.

A lot of health plans have had broad, blanket exclusions for obesity, thinking that it is a cosmetic condition. However, the rise in the prevalence of obesity that’s happened over the last 3 decades has made it clear that it’s creating a trend of chronic disease ranging from cardiovascular disease to diabetes to many cancers.

Because weight-based stereotypes and prejudices so often emerge from claims that obesity is caused and maintained by personal characteristics such as laziness or lack of willpower, there is a clear need for increased public awareness and education about the complex biology of obesity and the significant obstacles that exist in efforts to achieve sustainable weight loss. The prevailing societal and media messages that reinforce blame on obese persons need to be replaced with messages that obesity is a chronic disease with a complex set of causes. It is a lifelong condition for most obese persons.

Several studies have consistently demonstrated that experiencing weight stigma increases the likelihood of engaging in unhealthy eating behaviors and lower levels of physical activity, both of which exacerbate obesity and weight gain. Among youths, several studies have demonstrated that overweight children who experience weight-based teasing are more likely to engage in binge-eating and unhealthy weight control behaviors compared with overweight peers who are not teased, even after controlling for variables such as BMI and socioeconomic status. Other research has consistently documented a positive association between weight-based victimization and eating disorder symptoms and bulimia. Weight-based victimization among overweight youths has been linked to lower levels of physical activity, negative attitudes about sports, and lower participation in physical activity among overweight students.

If you’re looking for treatment for this very real, physical disease, contact VIPSurg for an appointment. Our expert team understands the complexity of obesity and all the issues that come with it. They can help find the right treatment for you.

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When GERD is the Word – What to Consider when Diagnosed with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Many people experience acid reflux from time to time – that feeling commonly thought of as heartburn or acid indigestion. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is mild acid reflux that occurs at least twice a week, or moderate to severe acid reflux that occurs at least once a week. While most people can manage the discomfort of GERD with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications, some people with GERD may need stronger medications or surgery to ease symptoms.

Make an appointment with your doctor if you:

  • Experience severe or frequent GERD symptoms
  • Take over-the-counter medications for heartburn more than twice a week

When you swallow, a circular band of muscle around the bottom of your esophagus (lower esophageal sphincter) relaxes to allow food and liquid to flow into your stomach. Then the sphincter closes again.

If the sphincter relaxes abnormally or weakens, stomach acid can flow back up into your esophagus. This constant backwash of acid irritates the lining of your esophagus, often causing it to become inflamed.

Conditions that can increase your risk of GERD include:

  • Obesity
  • Bulging of the top of the stomach up into the diaphragm (hiatal hernia)
  • Pregnancy
  • Connective tissue disorders, such as scleroderma
  • Delayed stomach emptying

Factors that can aggravate acid reflux include:

  • Smoking
  • Eating large meals or eating late at night
  • Eating certain foods (triggers) such as fatty or fried foods
  • Drinking certain beverages, such as alcohol or coffee
  • Taking certain medications, such as aspirin

Your doctor is likely to recommend that you first try lifestyle modifications and over-the-counter medications. If you don’t experience relief within a few weeks, your doctor might recommend prescription medication or surgery.

The options include:

  • Antacids that neutralize stomach acid 
  • Medications to reduce acid production known as H-2-receptor blockers
  • Medications that block acid production and heal the esophagus known as proton pump inhibitors
  • Medication that helps strengthen the lower esophageal sphincter. 

GERD can usually be controlled with lifestyle changes and medication, but if these don’t help or you wish to avoid long-term medication use, consider the revolutionary LINX device. This device consists of a ring of tiny magnetic beads which is wrapped around the junction of the stomach and esophagus. The magnetic attraction between the beads is strong enough to keep the junction closed to refluxing acid but weak enough to allow food to pass through when swallowing. The LINX device can be implanted using minimally invasive surgery.

As the first LINX-trained surgeons in Las Vegas and as the first digestive institute in the area to offer the only FDA-approved treatment for GERD, Dr. Shawn Tsuda and Dr. Heidi Ryan at VIPSurg are ready to help you fight back against gastroesophageal reflux disease. Call  702-487-6000 to schedule an appointment. 

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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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Life After Bariatric Surgery

For many who think weight-loss surgery may be the only way to be healthy and live longer, the fear of how life might be after the procedure keeps them from taking life-saving measures. Be informed so that you can make educated decisions about your health. These facts can help you on the way to knowing what’s best for you and give you a glimpse into what one can usually expect after surgery.

Your recovery will depend on which procedure you choose (gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, lap-band, and duodenal switch surgery). For example:

  • Average Hospital Stay: Ranges from outpatient (return home same-day) to 2-3 days
  • Average Time Until Back to Work: Ranges from 3 days to 2 weeks
  • Average Time to Full Recovery: Ranges from 3 days to 6 weeks
  • Pain: Ranges from mild discomfort to manageable with pain medication
  • Diet: Ranges from a few limited foods to a strict and slow transition from clear liquids to solid foods
  • Back-to-Normal Activity: Ranges from 3 days to 4-6 weeks

Life after weight loss surgery includes (depending on your chosen procedure):

  • Full recovery in 1 to 6 weeks
  • Excess weight loss between 25% and 90+%
  • Many obesity-related health problems cured or improved
  • Significant diet and exercise changes
  • Good and bad changes in how friends, family, and strangers treat you
  • Challenges such as sagging skin, digestion issues, and weight regain

Improvements to your physical health can be as impressive as your rapid weight loss family-eating-at-the-table-619142_1920after bariatric surgery. Conditions such as Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, GERD, and other issues related to metabolic syndrome have been shown to get better or completely go away following gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, lap-band, and duodenal switch surgery.

It is important to emphasize making healthy food and lifestyle choices even before weight-loss surgical procedures. Bariatric surgery is a tool. Use it to make changes for a long, healthy, productive, and happy life.

If you live in the Las Vegas area and are considering bariatric surgery, schedule an appointment at VIPSurg. Our team can help find the perfect treatment for you!

Bariatric Surgery: Busting the Myths and Misconceptions

Weight-loss surgery is a potentially life-saving procedure that helps you lose a substantial amount of weight by shrinking the size of your stomach and reducing food intake. Gastric bypass, lap band, and gastric sleeve are the three most recognizable names in bariatric surgery, but there are also a variety of other options thanks to continued medical advancements. Still, there remains a significant portion of the morbidly obese population who are unwilling to consider treatment for a variety of reasons; unfortunately, their reasons are often based on misconceptions or myths related to bariatric procedures.

Let’s bust 3 common weight-loss surgery myths:

Myth: Most bariatric surgery patients regain most if not all of their lost weight.Truth Vs Myth Bowling Facts Investigating Busting Untruth

Truth: Although some weight-loss surgery patients regain weight after their procedure, it’s not the norm. According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, up to 50% of patients may regain a small amount of weight in the years after surgery, but it usually only amounts to 5% of weight lost. Most patients embrace the life-changing effects of weight-loss surgery by improving their diets and habits.

Myth: The risks of weight-loss surgery outweigh the risks of obesity.

Truth: Weight-loss surgery is a quite safe procedure. Studies show that bariatric surgery patients reduce their mortality rates by up to 89% compared with severely obese people who avoid treatment.

Obesity is a disease linked with a number of serious health conditions including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancer. The National Institutes of Health lists obesity as the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States.

Myth: Weight-loss surgery is nothing more than a cop out for people who are too lazy to diet and exercise.

Truth: Those affected by severe obesity are resistant to long-term weight loss by diet and exercise. The National Institutes of Health Experts Panel recognizes that sustained weight loss is nearly impossible for those affected by severe obesity and may only be achievable through bariatric surgery. Diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes are part of treatment, but in order to shed the necessary amount of weight to make a life-changing, healthful impact, bariatric surgery may be the best option.

If you are struggling with severe obesity and are considering surgery, schedule a consultation at VIPSurg. Our team of experts will look at your personal situation and help find the right treatment for you.