When you’re overweight, you’re at risk for a number of different diseases. One of the conditions that may arise with obesity is GERD. This condition causes stomach acid to persistently flow back into your esophagus, leading to pain, which can keep you up at night.
Snow Bariatric Center, with offices in both Fort Worth and Flower Mound, Texas, offers state-of-the-art weight loss procedures to help you deal with conditions like GERD. Dr. Robert Snow, an expert in bariatric surgery, leads our specialized team and helps you lose weight for good and restore your overall health.
What is GERD?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is a condition that causes the contents of your stomach to flow back into your esophagus. This often leads to pain and irritation in your chest and throat.
GERD happens because of a problem with your lower esophageal sphincter, which is the valve that keeps your stomach contents from coming back up. The sphincter doesn’t shut correctly when you have GERD, which is what causes the acid reflux.
Acid reflux happens every now and then, and it’s completely normal — occasionally. If your symptoms persist for more than two days a week for several weeks at a time, you’re likely suffering from GERD.
While there are several other causes of GERD, obesity is one culprit that may trigger GERD even if your lower esophageal sphincter is functioning properly. If you’re obese and suffering from this condition, it’s likely due to the increased pressure on your abdomen from excess wight.
Understanding the symptoms
When you have GERD, you experience a number of different symptoms depending on many factors, including the severity of your condition and the foods you eat.
One of the main symptoms is heartburn, a burning sensation in your chest caused by the acidic contents of your stomach irritating the esophageal lining. There are other symptoms as well, including:
- Feeling of a “lump” in your throat
- Trouble swallowing
- Burping up food or liquids
- Pain in your chest
When GERD is worse at night, you could experience other symptoms as well, including disrupted sleep and a chronic cough.
Why GERD happens at night
There are reasons your GERD symptoms are worse at night. One is gravity. When you’re lying down, gravity isn’t in your favor, leaving the acid contents in your stomach free to reflux into your esophagus.
Your saliva plays a role in neutralizing the acidic contents in your stomach. But, at night, your saliva production slows, leading to more reflux of stomach acid overnight.
You also don’t swallow much — if at all — when you’re sleeping. Swallowing is essential for keeping the contents in your stomach at bay. This is yet another reason your GERD symptoms seem to be worse at night.
How to ease your symptoms
Getting treatment early for your reflux symptoms lessens the chance that you’ll suffer from more serious complications. Changing your diet and not eating close to bedtime can help, along with cutting excess weight if needed.
Losing weight significantly improves your chances of getting rid of your GERD symptoms. However, that’s much easier said than done, especially when you’re significantly overweight.
Dr. Snow helps you lose your excess weight and address obesity-related issues like GERD. He and our team offer a number of different methods to assist you with weight loss, including bariatric surgery.
If you’ve attempted to lose weight through traditional methods like diet and exercise without success, and you’re severely overweight, bariatric surgery can help. Dr. Snow offers procedures such as gastric bypass, gastric sleeve surgery, and LAP-BAND®.
If you have GERD and want to take the steps to lose weight, don’t hesitate to call one of our convenient offices in Texas today. You can also request an appointment online using the booking tool on our website.