Still having burning pain after op..

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gloopstar
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2013
Total Posts : 81
   Posted 6/5/2014 5:08 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi all
Posted last week about having reflux type symptoms again and I had fundoplication 6 months ago. A week later I am still getting a lot of burning and discomfort. I really am starting to arty my wrap has come undone. Is it normal for irritation to last this long?

I really have got terrible anxiety over this and don't know what to do!

Any suggestions?
Regards

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7188
   Posted 6/5/2014 8:24 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Gloopstar,

Welcome to the yeah yeah yeah Wrapped Club! yeah yeah yeah At six months post op, you could definitely be getting irritation. While probably 80% or so of healing has occurred, you've got more healing and adjusting to do. It's way too soon to panic over your wrap failing!

Many people take a full year or more to put their "quirks" and discomforts behind them. Around here we tell people it takes a full six months for most of the healing, and a year for the rest. It's pretty much the standard for any surgery. I had intermittent dumping throughout the first year, and figured I'd always be dealing with it, but sometime during the second year, it disappeared.

Certain foods can irritate the wrap/base of esophagus, and create reflux-like symptoms. I couldn't eat entree salads or many raw veggies during my first year or two. It always irritated my wrap and made it uncomfortable. I found Carafate suspension helped when I irritated my wrap, and made it more comfortable as it healed.

In addition, keep in mind that you can get reflux even after the Nissen surgery. There are still some triggers that can cause stomach flares, and some reflux. Surgeons don't go for zero reflux, or you wouldn't be able to get food through the wrap and into your stomach. Rather, their goal is go get reflux down to "normal" levels...the type that most people get occasionally. It's a possibility that you got a little reflux and irritated things, so they have to calm down and heal. Your stomach/wrap/esophagus have been through a lot. It is a big adjustment, so little problems can be more painful.

I remember getting fairly frequent irritation during the first year or so. I'm five years post op now, and I can eat pretty much anything without a problem. Still, it's possible to get an occasional irritation even now. The wrap is an unnatural barrier, and food has to push through. It's always important to take smaller bites and chew, chew, chewing your food thoroughly. Even 5 years post-op, if I don't, I can get food held up at the wrap site a bit.

Try to be patient. Remember what it was like before your surgery! Be sure to be very easy on your wrap for a while, until it gets feeling better. Make sure that you stay away from spicy, acidic foods, rough foods that don't chew to a liquid/creamy consistency, and alcohol, until you get things feeling better. It will take time to get it healed, but it will get better. You'll have some ups and downs as you get through all this, but if you can keep a positive attitude, and try to be patient, you'll do fine. Don't panic. It will all work out!

Happy healing!
Denise

GERD/Heartburn Moderator
Nissen Fundoplication 2/09
Allergy/Asthma

"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

gloopstar
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2013
Total Posts : 81
   Posted 6/8/2014 4:33 PM (GMT -6)   
thanks for the reply denise!
can i ask how long your flare ups last?
ive STILL got problems now. feels like reflux is back but heres hoping its just irritation!
thanks
yeah

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7188
   Posted 6/9/2014 9:02 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Gloopstar,

I had flare-ups much more often during my first couple years post op. (I will add here that the flareups I got/get post-Nissen were NOTHING CLOSE to as bad as the esophagitis/gastritis i got pre-Nissen!) It's such an individual thing--everyone experiences this recovery in their own unique way. Although there are certain universal symptoms that we all have, there is quite a wide range of "normal". Some people cruise through the recovery relatively trouble-free, and others struggle and worry that they will never recover! There is definitely a continuum of experiences, and you're definitely on that continuum.

I know it's not fun to get reflux-like pain/symptoms after going through such a challenging surgery and recovery, but you need to remember that this surgery takes at least a year for complete healing. When I had a flare-up, with wrap/lower-esophagus pain, it would last several weeks. Pre-Nissen, my flare-ups would take two to three months, and I'd lose 20 pounds each episode! It's important to keep all this in perspective. You've been through major surgery, and there will be ups and downs. It's a few steps forward, and a few steps back. The main thing is to remember that having this problem now, doesn't mean you will have it forever.

Are you taking a PPI? Whenever I got/get a problem with an irritated wrap, I'd take max PPI (40mg before breakfast and 40mg before dinner, and if things were particularly uncomfortable, 300mg Ranitidine at bedtime.) The trick is to keep your wrap protected. Another thing that made me feel much better pretty much right away, was Carafate suspension. It's a prescription drug (the generic version is Sulcrafate. The liquid form doesn't come in a generic version, unfortunately.

If you have good prescription insurance, I'd recommend you ask your doctor for a prescription of the suspension version, which is preferable. If you don't, then get script for Sulcrafate. It's tablet form. Get a shot glass or medicine cup, put the tablet in, then a little water. Mix it with a toothpick. Then throw it back like a shot. The medication will then coat your lower esophagus, wrap, and stomach. As I said, the suspension form is best, but I've used the tablet, and it gave me immediate relief.

It coats and the coating lasts up to six hours. It's tricky to take if you take other medication, as you need to take the Carafate/Sulcrafate, an hour before or two hours after eating, and you need to take medication two hours before or two hours after the Carafate/Sulcrafate. It's worth the effort, though. To this day, I always keep it on hand, as I have a reactive stomach, and can get irritation every so often.

Hang in there...it will get better!
Best wishes,
Denise

GERD/Heartburn Moderator
Nissen Fundoplication 2/09
Allergy/Asthma

"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
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