Exercise after Nissen

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Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 130
   Posted 2/5/2012 10:13 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi fellow Gerd friends,
I had my Nissen Fundo a little over 7 weeks ago.  Just like most on the board, I have been battling gas, but I was also getting the return of some reflux.  Saw my surgeon this week.  She did an extensive barium swallow test to make sure the wrap was still in place.  She said it is in place, but it looks like the barium lingered in my esophagus a bit longer than it should; however, I am having no problems swallowing?  Not choking up like I was the first 4 weeks.  Can eat bread and everything.  She's talking about stretching my esophagus, but I am reluctant.  I don't think the theory of lingering food is the issue.  I get the reflux a half hour later, and sometimes out of nowhere.
Prior to Nissen I was very active.  I Irished danced 2 x's per week, did zumba 1 day a week, and had a personal weight trainer 2 x's per week.  The surgeon still has me doing only 2.5 to 3.0 speed, no incline on the treadmill.  She will only allow 5 lb weight dumb bells.  She said I can ease into Irish dance at the 12 to 14 week mark, but still seems hesitant with that level of exercise. 
I want to hear from others as to when they returned to exercise, and at what levels etc.  It's killing me not to exercise harder.  Now that I can eat, I am putting on weight because I cannot do my normal level of exercise.  I am very afraid to ruin the wrap, so her hesitation even scares me to start at the 12 to 14 week mark.  Any advice?????  Thanks Virgo - Anita

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 4961
   Posted 2/5/2012 11:40 AM (GMT -6)   
Food sitting at the wrap can basically ferment and cause the feeling of reflux. I've had this before and it resolved itself. I believe Denise has this issue as well. I just remember to drink extra water to wash iy through.

Be careful with dilating the wrap! If you aren't getting food stuck badly I would let it settle in for a few more months to see what happens. The problem with dilation is if they ,go a tad too far you will have reflux again and the surgery will have been in vain.

Take care,
Moderator: GERD/Heartburn
Nissen 6/06 and 5/09
#3 on 8/24/11

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 2/5/2012 12:24 PM (GMT -6)   
Good Morning.  For now I would follow your Drs. instructions on activity but when she gives you the go ahead re exercising remember to work your way back to your usual routine slowly.  As far as the few pounds be sure to choose foods that are healthy and eat in moderation.    I am sure once your activity is back to your normal those pounds will fade away. 
I know you are afraid of causing harm to your wrap but do not let the fear take over.  Look forward to the all clear for your normal work-outs.  Remain calm, positive, confident and self-assured. 
Moderator: Anxiety, Osteoarthritis,
GERD/Heartburn and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease.


"only as high as I reach can I grow, only as far as I seek can I go, only as deep as I look can I see, only as much as I dream can I be"

Jesper A
Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 131
   Posted 2/5/2012 1:35 PM (GMT -6)   
I agree with Kitt, follow your dr. instructions there just may be a reason why this is right for you.
My doctor on the other hand told me I could begin exercise as soon as I felt like but in case it began to hurt I should stop immediately. Only exception was heavy weights.

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 130
   Posted 2/5/2012 4:05 PM (GMT -6)   
Bill I totally agree with you. Although I know my surgeon will communicate her advice to possibly stretch the esophagus to my GI doc, I think as long as I have no trouble eating, the reflux has to be coming from the wrap itself, makes sense. I hate to go against a doctor's opinion, but we know our own bodies, and in this case you are correct, if they stretch and I end up with bad reflux again the surgery will be for not! I have to stay strong and tell them I disagree.

Thanks for the encouragement Kitt, and the advice. I've read a lot of your posts and you have such a good outlook. I'm trying to focus on eating better. I can't eat too much in the way of veggies and fruit due to the incredible gas, so I am trying to find the balance. Still too many carbs for me right now, which I know can irritate reflux as well. It's just hard to find convenient foods with my job. I am a calling officer for a bank, so in and out of the office - no consistant schedule.

Jesper, I agree as well. I will keep doing the light exercise that I feel does very little to help off-set the increased eating, until the time frame my surgeon gave. When did your surgeon say you can go back to heavier lifting? The most I was lifting was 15 to 20 pounds, but much more with my legs - which I know uses the core a lot!

I am so glad to have found this site, it has truly been helpful in this journey and I am very grateful to all of you! Anita

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2011
Total Posts : 95
   Posted 2/5/2012 7:39 PM (GMT -6)   

I too missed the exercise and worried about gaining weight. Just get over it! Your body will let you know when to up the level of activity. After the 6 week mark, I just increased the amount of walking I was doing. It is the most natural exercise the body does. As, you feel better, you will be able to add more every couple of weeks. I am now at the 1 year mark and there are still some things that are just too uncomfortable to do. I still jump out of bed and do aerobics every morning. What I don't do is jumping jacks and other exercises that make me feel pain in the area around my stomach. I have struggled with my weight for the last 30 years. The surgery has actually helped me keep off 20 pounds, Now if I can just manage that last 10 I'll be thrilled. As you were in really good shape before surgery, I am sure you will be back to that level soon. It just may not be as soon as you would like. Give your body lots of time to heal.


Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 130
   Posted 2/5/2012 11:11 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Peggy -

Thanks so much. I am realizing more and more that this surgery is at least a year for a decent recovery. My surgeon did say at the 4-6 month mark I would be 40-60% healed, and that it would take a full year to be what she would consider mostly healed. It's just unbelievable it takes that long, but there is a lot of scar tissue that has to tighten that area up, as she explained. She did say even then, there is a slight chance of the wrap slipping. Ultimately she said she wants her patients to return to do what they love doing, but patience has to be in the mix. If returning eventually to higher impact and weight lifting proves to be too much, I will listen to my body and respect the limitations.

You are right, walking is the most natural and I have to learn that it is ok. I appreciate your insight and am encouraged that you do aerobics.

Good luck on those last 10 pounds. I'm athletic, but could stand to lose some pounds, especially lately. I will take everyone's advice and I am sure I will find a comfortable balance! Thanks so much!!

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7188
   Posted 2/6/2012 8:28 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Anita,
Patience!  It sounds as if your wrap is nice and tight while allowing you to eat everything, which is the best of both worlds. Bill is right...I also tend to get some food/liquid held back at the wrap site, but just take a few extra sips of water to get it through. 
Also, if I chug water it tends to build up in my esophagus, then drain down.  Less water at a time is better, but I am a big water drinker and in the habit of chugging a whole bottle down at once. 
When I'm walking at a good pace on the treadmill I have to be careful because the water can splash up and get into my lungs a little, which gets me coughing.  Because of that I pause my walking or slow down before taking a drink.  It's a small price to pay to be rid of the reflux that was making my lungs dangerously sick.
As far as the weight goes...you can control that separately from exercise.  There's a great program online (there's an app, too) called My Fitness Pal, which makes it extremely easy to journal what you're eating and keep track of what you're eating, as well as you exercise. There are others as well, but I settled on this one because it has a great app for my iPad.  I lost nearly 10 pounds doing nothing but limit my eating and walking.  Give it a try.  It calculates calories, etc...once you get the hang of it I think you'll find it very easy.  I'm still finding shortcuts and capabilities I didn't know it had.  Just a thought.
You don't want to compromise the surgery that you've had.  We all had some pretty big issues that led us to having a Nissen, and whatever inconvenience it causes is well, well, well worth it!  People around here always remind each other that the surgery takes a good 6 months for most of the healing and a full year for the rest.  I found improvements continuing into the second year!
Best wishes,
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