Minimally Invasive Treatment Offers Help For Acid Reflux

Acid reflux is common condition that is estimated to affect millions of Americans at any given time. While some people will find relief from the concern through the use of medication and lifestyle alterations, the same cannot be said for all patients. When the burning, painful symptoms associated with this condition interfere with sleep and daily living, it’s time to take action. Doctors now have a new tool at their disposal that can address the concern once and for all. Known as the LINX system, this treatment stops reflux at its source.

Acid reflux is a condition that arises when the sphincter muscle that separates the esophagus from the stomach fails to work properly. Rather than closing to prevent stomach acid from seeping into the esophagus, this weakened muscle allows a back flow. When acid enters the esophagus, it can give rise to a painful, burning sensation. Over time, stomach acids can damage the esophagus permanently and even lead to an increased risk for esophageal cancer.

The LINX system addresses reflux by enabling the sphincter to function as it was designed to. The procedure is minimally invasive and is performed laparoscopically. LINX involves the placement of a small ring of magnetic beads around the bottom of the esophagus. These beads open to allow food to enter the stomach, but close to stop acid from back flowing into the esophagus. Once placed, people who suffered from reflux will not experience the symptoms associated with the condition.

While heart burn is a common complaint that many people face from time to time, chronic heart burn could very well be caused by a weakening of the sphincter muscle. If this condition is suspected, it is best to get checked out by a doctor. Acid reflux can lead to serious complications is it’s left unchecked for a long period of time. LINX provides a way to address the concern once and for all.


C-Sections May Increase Risk for Abdominal Surgery

Women who give birth by cesarean section are much more likely to require emergency abdominal surgery in the days after delivery than their counterparts who are able to undergo natural childbirth. New research indicates that the increased risk for follow-up abdominal surgery is about 17 times greater for women who undergo C-sections than those who do deliver naturally.


Cesarean sections are often performed as lifesaving measures for the mother, the baby or both. This procedure, when indicated, is an important one for protecting and preserving life. In some cases, however, women prefer C-sections for non-medical reasons. Doctors, too, may be overly quick to recommend the option if even the slightest concerns about the viability of natural delivery exist.


The recent study into the risks of C-sections as they related to additional abdominal surgeries sheds light on the importance of reserving this delivery option for only when true medical needs are present. Researchers found, for example, that about 30 percent of the women who end up needing follow-up abdominal surgery end up losing their uterus. Complications from C-sections include uterine rupturing, internal bleeding and strong abdominal bleeding, among others.


While C-sections are sometimes elective on the part of women and/or their doctors, there are many reasons to support their non-elective use. When a baby’s life is in jeopardy, for example, this type of surgery may be the only option. In cases where maternal health issues are a concern, C-sections are also lifesavers. Choosing this path to preserve the appearance of the body or speed along a delivery that is presenting with no complications, however, may not be the wisest decision.


Women who are pregnant or are considering becoming so are urged to carefully review their delivery options. C-sections can prove to be lifesaving measures when they are necessary. Undergoing such a procedure without viable cause, however, can open a new mother up to unnecessary risk. If a C-section is recommended by a healthcare provider, women are also urged to find out exactly why. Should questions remain, a second opinion may be in order.

Hernia Repair: Advances Make the Difference for Patients

It is estimated that some 5 million Americans suffer from hernias at any given time. Even so, only about 700,000 hernia repair procedures are performed annually. While not every hernia demands immediate surgical intervention, the disparity in numbers may have another root cause. Hernia surgery was once a major undertaking that involved a long recovery period. This, however, is not always the case anymore thanks to advancements in laparoscopic surgery.

Laparoscopic hernia repair procedures are preferred by most surgeons and their patients for a few reasons. Although not technically “easier” than open surgery, they do present with some benefits. They include:

• Smaller incisions – Open hernia repair procedures call for a large incision. Laparoscopic procedures are designed to only involve very tiny incisions to allow surgical tools and a visual aid inside the body.
• Reduced blood loss – One of the biggest advantages of laparoscopic procedures versus open is the reduced blood loss generally associated with them. In addition, these procedures generally involve a lower complication and infection risk, which can be a very big benefit.
• Shortened recovery time – Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of modern hernia repair procedures is the shortened recovery time involved. What used to involve a multi-day hospital stay and months of recovery now only generally involves an overnight or outpatient stay in the hospital and a few weeks of taking it easy.

Hernias develop when a part of an organ manages to protrude through a weakened place in the muscle or tissue meant to hold it in place. This condition, for example, can arise when intestines push through the abdominal wall. Although many people can live with hernias for a time, the condition does not remedy itself. In some cases, the organ can have its blood flow cut off as a result of the hernia. This results in a condition known as a “strangulation.” Immediate medical intervention is required when this occurs.

People who suspect they have hernias are urged to obtain medical advice as soon as possible. While surgery may not be recommended right away, hernias do require monitoring to avoid serious complications, such as strangulation. Should surgery be recommended most people will find modern laparoscopic procedures make the repair much less intimidating than it once was.


Gallstones: Can They Be Ignored?

The gallbladder is a tiny part of the body most people never think twice about. After all, when it does its job, there’s really no reason to consider it. This little sac is designed to store and release bile into the body during the digestive process. It is essentially tasked with making the digestion of fats flow a little more smoothly. When it performs as expected, the gallbladder is easy to ignore. If something goes wrong, however, discomfort and pain are likely.

Gallstones are the most common gallbladder-related concern that can arise. These form when there is too much cholesterol in the bile. Essentially, excess cholesterol promotes the formation of crystals that clump together to create the stones. If left unchecked, the stones can impede the flow of bile and cause a fair amount of pain in the process. Bouts of pain are known as gallbladder attacks. Other complications may arise, as well. As bile becomes trapped in the gallbladder thanks to those gallstones, it can lead to inflammation, which can cause a host of other problems.

Gallstones that don’t cause symptoms or interfere with digestion are generally not a cause for action. If symptoms, such as pain, vomiting and nausea occur, doctors will generally recommend the removal of the gallbladder itself. This involves a surgical procedure that is generally performed laparoscopically. Once the gallbladder is out of the body, the pain associated with attacks should go away. The good news is that people can lead long, healthy lives without a gallbladder.

Gallstones are not a reason for alarm. If they form without symptoms, it is generally okay to leave them in place. Should pain, discomfort or inflammation go along with their arrival, medical intervention is a wise choice to prevent complications.

People who suspect they have gallbladder-related pain should speak with a healthcare provider. The best recommendation will come from a physician with information about the particular case.


Tips For Avoiding Gallstones and Gallbladder Issues

Anyone who has suffered from gallstones knows this is a condition that’s best avoided, if possible. Quite painful and often only resolved through surgical intervention, this potential development can sometimes be prevented or treated through calculated lifestyle changes.

The gallbladder itself is a small storage sac in the body that stores bile made by the liver. When food is consumed, bile is injected into the small intestine to help break up fat. When the components of bile manage to solidify, they form stones that can vary in size and severity. In some cases, gallstones may be treated without surgical intervention. Oftentimes, however, a removal of the gallbladder is required to alleviate pain and recurrence issues.

There are lifestyle changes that may help prevent gallstones and assist in the treatment process should they develop. Some of the suggestions include:

• Eating a healthy diet – A healthy, well-balanced diet that is high in fiber and vitamin C can be especially helpful. Be mindful of vitamin C overuse, however, as it can increase the risk of kidney stones – an equally painful development.
• Drinking coffee – A number of studies have found that drinking coffee on a regular basis, at least for women, can reduce the risk of gallbladder disease.
• Drinking moderate amounts of alcohol – Some studies have suggested that drinking no more than two standard drinks a day can help lower the risk of gallbladder disease.
• Avoiding rapid weight loss – While obesity is also a risk factor, fast weight loss can increase the risk of gallstone formation. If weight loss is necessary, be sure to take a steady, healthy approach and don’t eliminate fat from the diet entirely.

Gallstones may not always be avoidable. If this condition is a concern, be sure to speak with a qualified healthcare provider. Courtesy of advanced surgical techniques, having the gallbladder removed when it is necessary, generally only involves a fairly simple procedure.


Acid Reflux And Exercise: Get The Facts

Acid reflux is a painful condition that results when the stomach’s acids back up into the esophagus. When the condition is chronic, it may have progressed to become a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD for short. If left unchecked, both conditions can cause damage to the esophagus courtesy of that backflow of acid. In some cases, people may even find their risk for developing esophageal cancer increases.

While the connection between exercise and GERD is a murky area for some sufferers, there are some compelling reasons why exercise should be considered even when the condition is present. As it turns out, obesity is one of the prime contributing factors to GERD in many cases. With that in mind, shedding pounds can greatly help reduce symptoms. What’s more, very particular types of exercise can be helpful in treating the condition.

Researchers have found that certain types of exercise can be very helpful for people who suffer from GERD. In fact, many say moderate forms can be quite useful in contributing to treatments. Here are a few of the exercise types that can help patients who suffer from GERD address weight without necessarily agitating the condition:

• Moderate, less agitating exercise – While running might be off the table, researchers have found that working out on a stationary bike can help incorporate fat-burning cardio workouts into the routine of GERD patients.
• Walking – Fast-paced walking can be a good exercise start for GERD patients.
• Weight lifting that doesn’t involve lying flat – It might be best to avoid bench presses and leg curls, but other weight lifting exercises might prove to be helpful.

People who suffer from acid reflux or GERD should discuss exercise options with their healthcare providers. Surgical intervention may be recommended for people who suffer from acid reflux. Bariatric surgery may also be in order to address obesity if it is a related concern.


Pros and Cons of Bariatric Surgery

Most people understand that obesity can lead to serious health conditions and life-limiting afflictions. Tackling this issue head on can improve health, personal appearance and even outlook on life. Surgical interventions can be especially helpful for those who are morbidly obese, but there are some pros and cons to consider. Weight loss surgery offers tremendous benefits, but it’s not the best choice for everyone.

Invasive weight loss surgery procedures, such as gastric bypasses, are generally only recommended when people a have a body mass index of 35 or higher and weight-related health conditions. Those with a BMI of 40 will find this type of operation is recommended whether health complications have presented or not. Other options, such as balloon and lap band procedures, may be available for those with a lower BMI.

Here’s a look at the potential pros and cons of moving forward with procedures such as a sleeve gastrectomy or bypass:

The Benefits

Weight loss surgery procedures have been proven to be highly effective in helping people shed pounds and keep them off. The benefits, beyond weight loss, may include:
• Increased stamina
• Lowered blood pressure
• Improved sleep
• Improved breathing
• Improved or reversed type 2 diabetes symptoms
• Reduced risks for diabetes, heart disease, stroke and certain forms of cancer
• Ability to maintain weight loss over the long-run, especially when more permanent solutions are considered

The Potential Cons

Weight loss surgery is surgery. In the case of a bypass or sleeve procedure, the operation is considered a major one. With that in mind, patients are exposed to all the potential risks that go along with surgery. Overall, the other potential cons are relatively minor, but may include the need for ongoing counseling in regard to diet and nutrition. Patients are also likely to find they do need to make lifestyle changes to support ongoing, healthy weight loss.

Bariatric surgery has proven itself very beneficial for helping those who are obese shed pounds and keep them off. To learn more about the options and their potential pros and cons, speak with a licensed bariatric surgeon or other healthcare provider.