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Tips for Recovering from GERD
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What is GERD? Tips for Recovering from GERD surgery

Gastroesophageal reflux is the backflow of stomach acid or food into the esophagus (muscular tube). The valves between the stomach and esophagus should be shut when food is not passing into the stomach. But when these valves open inappropriately, partially digested food and acid enter the stomach. Laparoscopic antireflux surgery and Linx surgery in Pakistan are medical procedures meant to treat GERD. In addition, many tips for recovering from GERD surgery can benefit the patients

What happens in GERD?

GERD is common among people, and many adults experience heartburn at least once a month. The symptoms of this condition include severe heartburn and sometimes a burning sensation between the ribs or just below the neck. Other symptoms of GERD include feeling food or liquid coming back into the throat and mouth, difficulty swallowing, vomiting and coughing. The food we eat travels from the mouth to the stomach through the esophagus, a hollow and muscular tube. A small ring of muscles is also present at the lower end of the esophagus (muscular tube), known as the lower esophageal sphincter (LES).

The LES valve opens to let food into the stomach, and once the food is inside the stomach, it closes behind it. Usually, the LES valve closes immediately after swallowing the food and keeps acidic stomach juices from flowing backwards into the esophagus.

When the LES valve fails to work correctly, it results in GERD. In this condition, acid flows backwards and burns the lower part of the esophagus. The acids eventually damage the esophagus through inflammation and irritation. The inner lining of the esophagus also changes due to constant contact with the stomach juices. And this change increases the risk of cancer in the area. After the treatment, patients must follow some tips for recovering from GERD treatment.

Treatment options for GERD

There are several treatments for GERD, including

  • Healthy lifestyle
  • Medicines
  • Surgery

At first, doctors and healthcare professionals suggest some changes in lifestyle and diet. When these changes are not helpful, they prescribe some medications. If nothing works, healthcare professionals recommend surgery.

Healthy lifestyle 

Some simple lifestyle changes can help with GERD symptoms. These changes include:

  • Avoid spicy and fatty foods.
  • Reduce weight
  • Include healthy foods in the diet
  • Avoid smoking and drinking.
  • Keeping the body upright after meals for two to three hours to reduce gastrointestinal discomfort and avoiding lying down after eating aid in digestion.

Medicines 

You may need medicines regularly if lifestyle changes and a healthy diet do not help with GERD symptoms. Some drugs called antacids make the stomach produce less acid and make the stomach juices less irritating. Healthcare professionals can suggest the best medicine options for you.

Surgery 

You might need surgery if lifestyle changes and medicines do not help with GERD symptoms. However, because surgery is very effective with advanced laparoscopic treatment, if patients follow some tips for recovering from GERD, they will heal soon.

Linx - an advanced antireflux surgery 

Many patients with GERD can manage or improve persistent heartburn through lifestyle changes or medications. However, new research data suggest that taking medications for a long time can carry long-term health issues. Therefore, suppose conventional treatment for heartburn is not working, or you want to reduce or eliminate your reliance on medicines. In that case, ALSA offers LINX surgery in Pakistan, which is a revolutionary and minimally invasive surgical option for GERD. This treatment helps control GERD symptoms by keeping the stomach acids away from the esophagus. Moreover, GERD surgery cost in Pakistan is also reasonable for patients at ALSA.

How does LINX treatment for GERD work?

The LINX device is a small band which is flexible and has magnetic beads. This titanium band of magnetic beads is placed around the esophagus. The contracting force of the band allows food and liquid to pass through easily but prevents acid reflux. When a patient swallows, the band magnets open up, allowing food and liquid to pass down. After that, it closes up and prevents stomach content from moving up.

Advantages of LINX

  • This treatment is minimally invasive, in which the surgeon makes minor cuts laparoscopically in the patient's abdomen and places the LINX device around the esophagus above the stomach.
  • This type of treatment does not require surgical alteration of the digestive system.
  • After placing the device, which takes about 30 minutes, patients can go home on the same day.
  • The LINX device does not change the esophageal functions. This device opens to allow food and liquid into the stomach and closes to stop stomach acid from entering the esophagus. It also does not limit the passage from the stomach.
  • The LINX device is removable.

Nissen fundoplication

Nissen fundoplication is a standard operation for GERD. Surgeons do this operation through an open cut in the abdomen and a minimally invasive approach using multiple small incisions. If an individual has a hiatal hernia, the surgeon will fix it first. After that, they wrap the stomach's upper part around the oesophagus's lower part. This surgery will strengthen the LES valve, just like a tube is made stronger by wrapping a tap around the tube. A stronger LES valve helps in preventing stomach juices from flowing back into the esophagus (muscular tube). Surgeons also do GERD surgery laparoscopically. This minimally-invasive approach is currently the standard of care. However, if surgeons feel this approach is unsafe before or during the operation, they switch to an "open" surgery approach performed via one large cut in the upper abdomen.

Heartburn Surgery Benefits

People who undergo heartburn surgery have the following benefits.

  • Recover faster
  • Experience less pain
  • Go home in a day or two

Tips for recovering from GERD surgery

Antireflux surgery wraps the upper part of the stomach around the lower part of the stomach and tightens the opening between the stomach and the esophagus. This procedure keeps the stomach acids from entering the esophagus, decreasing chest pain and nausea caused by the flow of stomach fluids in the throat. Unfortunately, it usually takes a few months to recover fully after the surgery and return to everyday life. Meanwhile, there are a few tips the patient can follow to speed up the healing process.

1. Walking 

Start some easy walks once you can move around after the GERD surgery. During the surgery, the stomach is inflated with air, and walking is the best way to eliminate the excess air. Walking also prevents the formation of blood clots in the legs, which are dangerous after surgery. In addition, post-surgical pain medicines cause constipation, and light movement can stop it.

2. Good care of the incision site

After the surgery, the doctors give detailed instructions on how to take care of the incision sites. In addition, they inform the patient about the cleaning and bandaging of the incision site. It is essential to follow these instructions for a few months because the care of the incision site minimizes the scarring and muscle tear. It also prevents any post-surgical infection.

3. Follow a diet schedule advised by the doctor.

The doctors also give a detailed diet plan and monitor the progress after the surgery to protect the digestive tract. They usually ask the patient to start with clear liquids like herbal tea for a day, to full liquids over the next few days, and then to soft solid foods. After that, doctors usually advise returning to everyday foods and drinks slowly. In this way, the body will heal properly. To reduce gas production after GERD surgery, cut back on carbonated drinks. Also, avoid foods that cause gas trouble, such as broccoli, cabbage and beans. Several eating and drinking habits can also help with the recovery process. Before eating something, the patients should drink a warm liquid, such as water or tea, to relax and moisten the mouth and throat. Sit up straight while eating or drinking. Stay upright for at least 30 min after a meal. Eat smaller amounts of food several times a day. Eat slowly and chew properly.

3. Stay hydrated 

It is essential to drink 8 to 10 glasses of water a day to hydrate after the physical exertion of undergoing surgery. Water also helps with constipation patients experience after taking pain medicines. In addition, drinking enough water will keep them fuller because they have to eat less after surgery. It is best to drink one cup of water at a time and drink straight from the glass instead of using a straw to limit the amount of air in the stomach.

4. Take it easy and rest for a while

The surgery takes up a lot of energy, especially when the patients have general anaesthesia. In acid reflux surgery, patients have anaesthesia. Although patients can go home after a day or so after the surgery, they should take it slow and rest for a few days. The body is healing after the surgery from the inside and outside and needs a lot of rest. The more patients rest, the sooner they recover and feel better to eat and drink the food they love. Following the tips for recovering from GERD surgery, patients can feel better within a few months without complications.

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