GERD after Gastric Sleeve Operation: Everything You Need to Know

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Gastro-esophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD, pertains to the condition of the esophagus where heartburn occurs. It usually happens as a result of certain foods, which causes indigestion and stomach acids to leak. The esophagus is directly affected, which leads to a burning sensation that is known as acid reflux or heartburn. 

As a chronic disease, GERD can easily flare up and often, especially after meals. Unfortunately, people who undergo gastric sleeve operations report suffering from such symptoms, so we take a closer look into the disease and how it affects an individual post-surgery.

What causes GERD? 

It’s common to experience episodes of heartburn and indigestion throughout your life, but GERD is persistent, regarded as a chronic condition that can potentially lead to serious complications, such as damaging the esophagus.

As mentioned, GERD usually flares up after meals. Doctors urge those who suffer with GERD to stay away from trigger foods, such as tomatoes, onions, fruit juices, and alcohol. People who are chronic smokers also suffer from GERD, as with people who are overweight. 

Even with such detrimental effects, GERD can be managed through a series of health and lifestyle improvements. The symptoms and other damages can be reversed through weight loss, less alcohol consumption, quitting smoking, and eating healthy meals with small proportions. 

GERD after Gastric Sleeve Operation

Unfortunately, acid reflux can worsen after gastric sleeve surgery. It happens as a result of missteps during recovery. One of the many causes can be overeating right after surgery, along with the failure to hydrate. Eating much too spicy food can also be a trigger, among others. 

A patient may already be dealing with reflux before surgery, and the procedure itself may have aggravated the situation. This can happen due to the reduction of space for stomach acid to exist, which can lead to extensive discomfort and even pain.

It is also possible that a dilated or excessively large gastric sleeve may have retained an increased acid production, which then causes GERD to occur. It may also decrease acid clearance, but in both cases, stomach acid penetrates the esophagus. 

How can GERD be treated after Gastric Sleeve Surgery? 

  • Diet: As with treating normal instances of GERD, diet management is crucial to the alleviation of symptoms. Staying away from trigger foods is the best preventive measure, which comes in the form of spicy food, carbonated beverages, and other acidic foods.
  • Medication: Over-the-counter medications can also reduce the symptoms, which can be beneficial for particularly painful episodes. Antacids are the best way to neutralize stomach acid, as it targets the production process and reduces it. 
  • Surgical Revision: In more severe cases, patients will need to undergo a surgical revision, which is designed to lessen the effects of the symptoms. 

If you experience GERD after surgery, never hesitate to contact your doctor right away. You’ll do well to prevent the worse from happening, as dealing with GERD is already an overwhelming ordeal. The longer you suffer from the side effects, the more damage you’ll be causing. 


GERD, an intricate and chronic disease, can be incredibly tricky to deal with. Intense lifestyle and health changes are necessary to alleviate its effects, but such changes can also trigger its worse symptoms. The effects of gastric sleeve operations, for instance, have caused hundreds of patients unnecessary pain during recovery.

If you’re suffering from GERD and in need of surgery, don’t hesitate to let your doctor know. They’ll need all the information they can get and hopefully, guide you through dealing with post-surgery recovery, especially with the presence of GERD. 

If you’re contemplating using baking soda for reflux or wondering “How long does it take for dexilant to work?”, you’ve come to the right place. Reflux Away offers you a plethora of resources, all made to help you understand acid reflux and GERD. If you’re looking to treat GERD, visit our Heartburn No More website today to see how we can help!