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2. Is Acid Reflux Surgery Right For You? Are you considering surgery for your acid reflux symptoms? Acid reflux surgery is a last resort that should be contemplated only after you have tried other, more conservative treatment options for your acid reflux condition. Conservative treatment that you should consider before having acid reflux surgery includes diet changes, behavior changes, and over-the-counter medicines.
3. Change Your Diet You may be able to avoid acid reflux surgery entirely by changing some of the food you eat and the time when you eat them. Food items and beverages that contain caffeine have been found to trigger acid reflux symptoms, causing the esophageal sphincter muscle to relax and allowing acid to escape from the stomach to the base of the esophagus, where it can do permanent damage to soft, delicate internal tissues.
4. Acid Reflux Surgery Before you schedule acid reflux surgery, eliminate coffee, tea, and caffeinated colas. Chocolate, onions, garlic, and spicy food can also exacerbate an acid reflux condition.
5. Try Medication Some patients feel as if choosing between taking medication all their life for acid reflux or having surgery for the condition is no choice at all. However, when you compare the potential side effects of taking medication with the potential side effects of having acid reflux surgery, taking medication is a clear winner.
6. Side Effects The most commonly reported side effects reported by individuals taking acid reflux medication, like Prevacid , Prilosec , or Nexium , are nausea, diarrhea, headache, and abdominal pain. These side effects occur only in a small percentage of individuals who take these prescription medications. If these side effects occur, patients should discuss them with their doctors.
7. Anesthesia The potential side effects from any surgical procedure include infection, complications due to anesthesia (including death), and post-operative gas bloating and trouble swallowing.
8. The Surgery The most common acid reflux surgery is fundoplication, which increases pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter, enabling the sphincter to remain closed and form an effective seal between the stomach, with its fiery acid, and the esophagus, with its tender, sensitive lining.
9. Esophageal Cancer While the surgery usually clears up the symptoms of acid reflux disease, approximately 18% of patients who have had acid reflux surgery require some form of acid reflux medication even after the surgery is complete; another 30% continue to have trouble swallowing and experience bloating. Furthermore, a 2002 study conducted in Sweden reveals that the procedure may not reduce the risk of esophageal cancer in patients who are at high risk for getting esophageal cancer.
10. Acid Reflux Surgery If you are taking medication for acid reflux, and you symptoms persist, you may wish to discuss having acid reflux surgery with your physician.
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