Reflux Symptoms after Nissen Mid July 2013

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New Member

Date Joined Aug 2013
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 8/8/2013 3:25 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, I'd like some feedback. I had my Nissen and hernia repair three weeks ago. My symptoms were entirely of the LP [laryngopharyngeal] reflux type. I haven't had true GERD in years. After two episodes of aspiration pneumonia three months ago, I decided to have the surgery.

I have a terrific surgeon whom I like and trust. I began having symptoms of what seemed like my typical reflux within three days of surgery: burning in my throat and some coughing after reflux. When I saw the surgeon two weeks post-op, he said he has never had anyone have reflux this soon. He said that some people have symptoms that are a reaction to dysphagia and these symptoms mimic reflux. If this is the case, they will go away as the dysphagia improves.

I had an upper GI yesterday which shows that the esophagus and the wrap are "tight" although I won't see him til next week for his input. I put myself back on Nexium because that relieves the symptoms. It sure feels like reflux to me.

Did anyone have what felt like reflux immediately after surgery only to have it turn out to be a reaction to the dysphagia which went away when the dysphagia went away?? Or did anyone have symptoms immediately post-op that indeed turned out to be reflux?

I'm trying to keep my spirits up but it is discouraging. Thanks.

Post Edited By Moderator (dencha) : 8/8/2013 3:30:23 PM (GMT-6)

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7188
   Posted 8/8/2013 4:29 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi oldnurse,
Welcome to the Healing Well yeah yeah yeah Wrapped Club! yeah yeah yeah You can absolutely, positively have "reflux" during the healing stages of a Nissen.  In your case, with a "tight" wrap, it's likely that some things are not making it through the wrap right away, and are sitting at the wrap site and irritating the esophagus.  The esophagus is a "dumb organ" (as my surgeon told me) and it interprets all pain as reflux.
Chances are your wrap is still swollen (generally peak swelling occurs between the second and third week post op), and it is keeping things from moving through into the stomach.  Be sure to have some warm tea or even warm water to sip before and after you eat.  Keep sipping to encourage the swallowing reflux, so you can get the food moving through the swollen wrap.
When I asked my surgeon about my reflux sensations, he said during the early stages of recovery, "pretty much anything can happen".  The wrap is swollen, and it's possible for some reflux to slip by, if the swelling is uneven. Relax.  It's very common.  I understand how scary it is...that you might have gone through all that for nothing.  Don't worry!  It takes a full 6 months for most of the healing, and a year for the rest.  I even found improvements into the second year!
Glad you've joined us!
Happy healing,
GERD/Heartburn Moderator
Nissen Fundoplication 2/09

"Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.”

“Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose”

“Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.”
Eckhart Tolle

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2013
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 8/9/2013 9:07 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks, Denise, for your encouraging words!

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2013
Total Posts : 33
   Posted 8/13/2013 8:48 AM (GMT -6)   
thanks denise for the reply you gave oldnurse
 i am having the same problem. now i can relax and let the healing take it's course. but will the wrap ever lossen up so that food can go on down.

Post Edited (pennie) : 8/13/2013 7:53:26 AM (GMT-6)

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2013
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 8/13/2013 10:24 AM (GMT -6)   
Pennie, I"m a month post-op and still have lots of dysphagia but it has definitely gotten better. My doc said it can take up to three months to resolve.

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2013
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 8/18/2013 5:06 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Denise!
   Sorry my reply is so late.  Have another family member in a critical health crisis
and I became distracted.  
   I had the wrap on 8/9 and wrote that I was having possible reflux and had a very coated tongue.
   Your response has really put me at ease. Thank you for that.  I too am on inhaled steroids and have
had thrush on occasion but nothing like this, that never dawned on me.  I'm sure that is what it
is and I am trying some Diflucan I had on hand.  The thought of reflux again really had me
down but after reading the old nurses statement and  your reply I am feeling better. 
   Other then those two happenings I just want to let everyone out there know that this was
nothing like I anticipated,it was so much easier.   I personally had very little pain. 
 Took a dose of liquid Tylonal the evening I came home before bedtime and haven't had
anything for pain since and believe me I am not trying to be brave. 
 I have a little discomfort around my incisions but I honestly feel good.  Went for a nice
walk this morning and I'm getting ready for another in a few.  Eating a lot of baby food and
blender drinks with protein and vitamins, staying on soft food for awhile longer, my choice. 
  So glad I found this blog, what a stress reliever it is for me!!!!  yeah
Thanks again Denise. Grams

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2013
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 8/22/2013 1:04 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi All, Thanks for your sharing! I too had NF on Aug. 9th. Recovery going pretty good, some dysphagia, and pain with swallowing thicker foods I've tried, some pressure and pain with swallowing ..then usually will eventually burp..sometimes very painful stuck. Ive Lost 5 lbs so far. Overall , no symptoms of gERD, but also got a little concerned as Ive had what felt like mild heartburn a few times, primarily after eating tomato soup, or a little marinara with soft vegetables. I know some people without history of Nissen Fundiplication get mild heartburn sometimes. I hope that thebwrap is okay. I am trusting that this is part of healing. I still am feeling so much better without the 24hr a day sour stomach, and double PPIs, along with Zantac, alka seltzer, and Gaviscon.. My quality of life was struggling because I didn't feel well much of the time, couldn't always sleep well due to acid... The GERD started 25 yrs ago, but meds worked for a long time, but eventually stopped doing the job. Did anyone else have a little "heartburn" about 10 days out from Lap NF ? Thank You!

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2013
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 8/22/2013 8:37 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Lois, I'm certainly not qualified to be giving advice but I hope what I have been told will help you. The instructions I received were not to eat or drink foods with high
Acid, they specifically named tomatoes, tomato based foods and pineapple. This is just temporary but important while you are still healing. Hopefully this will solve your problem.
Tomorrow I celebrate my 2 week anniversary since I had my wrap. I am doing great! This 2nd week has been a little more uncomfortable as several have stated it usually is in these forums. What a blessing this is, sure has relieved me of a lot of stress and worry.
Happy healthy healing Lois! Grams

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2013
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 8/22/2013 10:24 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you Grams for your reply! I agree , the tomato based food was not a good choice. I did read about abstaining from tomato, but thought a little bit might be okay. I'm not going to experiment with "no no's" anymore. I also feel more comfortable each day, and was very happy to have eaten some real loosely scrambled eggs tonight. Protein drinks, custard, jello and some baby food is okay if that's where I'm at as I HEAL (PTL). YES, IT IS A BLESSING ! I'm grateful there was something I could do about the GERD. I sort of feel like I need to pinch myself because I'm not dyspeptic and acidly all the time, and I can lie down horizontally without worrying about the GERD. Is it really me. It took a while for me to consider the surgery, but, once I did, I surrendered. If anyone is reading this, and is suffering due to reflux, it's worth the time, effort and while the testing is not fun, none of it was painful for me, just uncomfortable, but I didn't care, I just wanted to see if I was truly a good candidate for the NF. Despite telling the surgeon I was miserable and had heartburn , or sour stomach all the time, the Upper GI, manometry, and the endoscopy report which showed that said I had a gaping hole at the LES ( lower esophageal sphincter ) was not conclusive enough for him to do the NF, so he sent me to get an Impedance Test, with the 24 hr ph monitor. This test was highly positive showing the high acid where and when it shouldN't have been. I was vindicated. I was not "crazy". Of course many of you on these blogs have the silent or non acid reflux, if I understand correctly. I guess the impedance test shows this also. I just wanted to share that if you are scared, you don't have to be. I read many blogs where folks felt differently , or those that are scared of the testing, or heard it was awful, etc, etc...that wasn't my experience. This is a very positive and encouraging blog, where you can express your concerns , get support and know you're not alone!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2013
Total Posts : 2114
   Posted 9/19/2013 7:22 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm six weeks in, have lost 25-30 lbs., and have had some great difficulty. (Is six weeks still early?) Not much pain overall throughout, but discomfort would be the right word. I'll get into more detail later, but an Upper GI showed a pill get stuck in my throat which led the radiologist to believe it's tight. The surgeon said no further surgery is required. The Upper GI also showed evidence of reflux, but I'm not sure where. I see my gastroenterologist Monday. Right now, I feel soreness (could be acid) in my throat and some particles (maybe bile?) and I haven't had anything solid to eat lately. I'm afraid to try. Any thoughts?

Thanks to everyone for their help. I may have repeated myself throughout the board a few times. I'm just scared.

It may be important to add my diaphragm tore during surgery (DaVinci LapNissen) and I have a mesh. I also have thrush.
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