I've read a number of excellent observations here about people's hiatal hernia surgery and post surgery issues. I suffer from some of these too and while the person stories are extremely helpful letting me know I'm not alone, now I'd like to learn about the science of what we're experiencing to see if I/we can work toward finding a cure or at least reduction in our problems. Our stories are really important, but getting to how and why our problems are happening is IMHO our next step to treatment and recovery.
Let me mention my surgery, post symptoms and theories why they are happening or questions,
I had GERD and experiencing acid reflux while sleeping where the worst cases where when I aspirated the acid and would wake in severe coughing choking fits. Since the acid was in my lungs I couldn't do anything to reduce the pain and coughing like drinking water which we don't want going down our lungs obviously.
I had a large hiatal hernia which allowed the acid to freely flow out of my stomach and into my esophagus, mouth and lungs which would keep me awake for hours until my lungs dealt with the the insult.
I had hiatal hernia surgery with the wrap 2/14/14 to repair the hernia and it worked perfectly re: my reflux. I haven't had any heartburn, reflux, taken any Tums and can even eat later again closer to sleeping. Regarding my GERD and heartburn issues, I feel totally healed!
I was told I might lose ability to belch and if so, no more carbonated drinks. I was able to burp just like my entire life right after surgery as of 2/15/14. Even the self induced ones like when an obnoxious kid :)
However, right after surgery I like many of you, experience tons of bowel gas and gas passing daily throughout the day and night which was a completely new experience for me. Sure I passed gas occasionally, but it was rare. Very rare.
I'm 62 and the myriad of pre-operative tests reveled that my GI track, systems and functioning was above normal aside from the GERD/reflux.
1.I don't buy the air swallowing theory my doctor quoted because, the large quantity and frequency of gas, doesn't correlate with the fact I only eat one to two meals daily and I'm farting all day and night.
2. Since I can burp easily, if I was swallowing air, why is none coming back out as a belch? It seems illogical that I could swallow so much air and rarely belch it out and instead fart it out as if I'd swallowed a tonnage of air.
3. I believe I'm creating gas in my small or large intestines. And a lot of it! My question is, if I'm correct, how could a hernia surgery effect gas production in my bowels? What is the scientific correlation?
4. It's as if my stomach is not function correctly and not digesting food like usual and so less digested food is entering my intestines and decaying which is causing all this new found gas.
5. Bacteria. I was given antibiotics which we know kills our good and bad bugs in our gut. I have been repopulating taking Probiotic and yogurt.
6. Contagious Bacteria: hospitals are the best place to get sick with illnesses you didn't have before coming in. I spent one night in the hospital and with the destruction of my good GI bacteria know I was vulnerable to bad drug resistant bugs getting into me like C-Diff. Luckily I don't have that. That one is a wipe out. I caught it a couple years ago in a hospital after getting antibiotics and the hospital not repopulating my system.
IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE:
I think any facility like hospital who are known to harbor bad bacteria that gives antibiotics should be required to repopulate their patient's guts with bacteria the antibiotic kills because when you are depleted, there are 2 risks: the bad drug resistant bugs within us remain in our gut and proliferate because our good bacteria are gone and when within us in addition to helping us digest food also keep bad bugs in check so their population doesn't grow too large and thing make us sick from the toxins they excrete.
7. Dairy. I'm not lacto-intolerant but due to all the gas, I've decided to reduce dairy down to a little Half n Half with morning coffee. Dairy reduction hasn't improved a thing for me.
8. Carbonated drinks: even though I can burp easily, I haven't had a drop of carbonated drink after surgery 2/14/14.
9. Because I had the wrap, I realize the configuration of my stomach is now different and want to learn how this change might cause changes in my bowels such as dumping acid or partially digested foods into my intestines, causing digestion to happen in my intestines instead more in my stomach.
I have sent a detailed letter with all my observations to my surgeon and my Gastro doctor who recommended him asking them to review my symptoms and discuss to put the sum of their knowledge together and tell me which doctor is then the better on to work with me for tests, and treatments.
I will post what I learn, tests and treatments here.
In the meantime, if anyone is farther down this road and has scientific knowledge of what can happen from this surgery to cause the various new symptoms we are experiencing, I know we'll all appreciate such information.