Heartburn and acid reflux after lap band surgery with no weight loss

Question Below Submitted By:  


Acid Reflux Causes Heartburn

Acid Reflux Causes Heartburn

I had the lap band surgery in 2005, and I haven’t lost much weight. I have heartburn after drinking water and acid reflux so bad at night I can’t sleep.

I went back to my doctor who did a test and said the band was too tight. He then took all of my fill out, but that didn’t fix the problem.

I work out regularly and eat right, but I can’t lose the weight.

I need a second opinion to decide what I need to do to fix my problem. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!


Expert Responses to the Question Above

Bariatric surgeon at CBGSA , Arcadia , California

by: Dr. Troy LaMar

Hi Acid Reflux,

It sure sounds like it has been a frustrating journey after your lap band placement.....just so you know, this is not uncommon after band placements.

There have been some good comments for you from the others and I agree with most of them. Unfortunately, the band is notorious for causing acid reflux......and, for not having great weight loss results.......

If antacids work to decrease your reflux, by all means take it .......very low risk meds. However, other issues may be esophageal dilatation as well, so you do need an upper GI and Endoscopy for a complete evaluation....

Finally, some people need removal of their band in order to begin to get back to normal anatomy. And, then, you might want to consider conversion to a sleeve gastrectomy, or a gastric bypass...both which have much better outcomes for substantial weightloss.

Good Luck,
Troy LaMar MD

los angeles bariatric surgeon

(click here for Dr. LaMar's full bio & contact info)

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the details provided. The above should never replace the advice of your local physicians as they have the ability to evaluate you in person.


Patient Responses to the Question Above

acid reflux

by: Anonymous

I was banded in 2006 and in the last 24 months have developed severe acid reflux, wakening choking, and food pouring from my mouth. Even sitting up right if I fall asleep it happens. I take a double dose of Nexium along with many other acid reducers just to sleep. I do not drink.

The band has not been tighten in 4-5 years this problem has started in the last 2 and has gotten worse month after month.

Had my band femived

by: Anonymous

I had my lap band placed in Oct 2006...lost 80+ pounds over 2 years then I got pregnant with my son. After my pregnancy I learned that my port had flipped and the fills were not taking. I had surgery to correct the port and a small hiatal hernia in Jan 2009.

After that surgery and the following 6 months of fills, I felt absolutely no restriction at all in my band. After speaking to my bariatric doctor bariatric doctor about this issue, he just shrugged it off and closed my chart.

Since late 2009 till Oct 2015 I have seen 3 different bariatric doctors in my area. All said the same, the port was fine, I'm not eating right, not sure why it's not working, etc. blah blah blah. I knew something wasn't right because I kept getting major stomach cramps and acid regurgitation repeatedly throughout the day. I have been on prescription GERD meds for years, btw.

Eventually the pain got so intense that any time my stomach muscles or bowels had to do any type of 'work' that I would be doubled over and crying in pain!! At night I would have to sleep at least at a 60 degree angle in order to not choke on my own stomach acid at night! Sounds nasty, right?! I couldn't live like this anymore! I was scared to sleep for fear of aspirating!

Finally I had emergency surgery to have my band removed in late Oct 2015 and it has been the best decision ever! As I was being wheeled in the OR I was vomiting uncontrollably ...pure green bile. My poor stomach and guts.

The doc could only say "your stomach was very angry! I can only imagine what the inside felt like!"....and this was after 3-4 days with only sips of water!

Acid reflux and lap band

by: LL

Is it better we try natural remedies? I am taking "Aloe Vera juice" a few times a day.

Slowly but surely, it is helping me with the acid reflux problem I developed a few years after having a lap band.


by: Anonymous


I had a band fitted 2006 and have lost 119 lbs. You work with it, eat less, chew more, and move more.

Thank you, Band, I now have a life!

Long term effects

by: Anonymous

I've had my band for almost 10 years now.

I came out of it 150 pounds lighter and I've kept it off. I had my bout with finding the right fill in the early years and battled acid reflux here and there. But nothing could prepare me for the long term effects of this thing.

The band served it's purpose. I don't regret it. But I had it in at 30 and now ten years later I've come to the conclusion no one really knows - or talks about - the long term effects. One of them is constant, horrible acid reflux and pain. I can hardly eat. For the last year, the pain coming from my band internally is incredible.

The acid reflux is not because the band is too tight (all of my fill pretty much evaporated and I was fine with that. I still occasionally got the typical bread, noodles, rice, tough meat that had problems going down). I didn't eat before bed. Didn't eat a lot of highly acidic foods. In short, my lifestyle didn't support what I am now experiencing.

The acid reflux burns me up to my sinuses. My entire esophagus is constantly "on fire." Coupled with the fact I can't eat because I vomit 3 out of every 4 meals to some capacity, I'm also up at night puking stomach acid. During the day I puke globs of mucous. I can't lay on my left side in bed because of the pain from my stomach/band area. It's misery.

I've been to doctors and no antacid really helps me (Zantac is the only thing that takes the edge off, along with a swig of liquid antacid to chill my throat as needed). Unfortunately I've lost complete faith in my bariatric surgeon to help me and am currently under the care of a GI doctor and am going through a battery of tests to appease the insurance company (who won't cover anything "bariatric").

Either way, this needs to come out. Acid reflux aside, the pain from having my stomach wrestle with this band for a long time is tough. I'm not against the band, it did a lot for me and it was certainly an interesting journey.

But the discussion about long term effects are so important. Acid reflux is the reason two people I've known have gotten the bands out.

I hope to be in that club soon.

acid reflux

by: Anonymous

My acid reflux occurs in the mornings until around noon. It's almost like my band has a mind of its own! I can't eat until around 12pm-1 pm & my day usually starts @ 5:30am! And when I am able to eat, I can eat more than I'm supposed to! Should I get a fill or defill?

Oh and I've been banded since 2008 & now that this acid reflux has occurred, I am unable to loose weight & I haven't changed my diet or exercise!

Please help!!

I feel your pain

by: Lulu

I had lap band surgery two years ago, and so far I've lost 25 kg (55 lbs). Last week, for the first time, a fill has left me with reflux.

My best friend and I had our surgery at the same time, and she's suffered with reflux right from the start.

I actually thought she was being a bit of a wimp.

I now realise how awful it is, and feel very lucky that I never said those things out loud. I've never been so miserable.

To all those fellow sufferers, stick in there, and remember you did this for the right reason, and should feel proud of yourself for taking such a brave step. And although, for some, the weight loss may not be significant, try counting the weight you would have gained without the surgery.

For me I was gaining, on average, around 5kg (11 lbs) per year. When you look at it like that, even those who haven't 'lost' on the scales, can feel a sense of achievement.

Acid reflux after band

by: Anonymous


I had the same problem with acid reflux. So after the second really bad bout I contacted my surgeon. I was the same, pain and vomiting and couldn't keep anything down. He has now removed all the fluid from by band and I am going to have a swallowing X-Ray to make sure everything is ok with the band. If it is ok he will refill but not as much as before. If it's not then we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

I have lost 6.5 stone with the band and I think it is a fantastic tool for weight loss. I couldn't have done it on my own due to health issues. Also 2 major health issues I have had have much improved because of the weight loss. Even with the reflux problem I would not have changed a thing.

I am very grateful that I have had an excellent surgeon. So please I would advise you to go see your surgeon and get a defill, even if only a small one. You will feel so much better.

Struggling with fluids

by: Anonymous

I had my band in June 2014 and I'm up to 7ml but these last 3-4 days I've been struggling with fluids, especially today. I've had nothing at all to eat and I can't seem to get fluids down either, I've just had an ice-lolly to try and get some fluids down as I'm thirsty but that didn't even work.


by: Anonymous

I had my band fitted in 2011 and it worked for 6 months, then shortly after it materialized a leakage so of course my plate size got bigger. A year later I had a second operation to replace my tube and port and it had worked perfectly fine since and lost close to 10 stone.

Now to everyone out there it is not a magic cure to weight loss, you have to work with the band, eat right, chew right, and exercise. Yes, acid is a problem and it is very frustrating going back to have fills taken out etc. but at end of the day when you got offered the op or picked to have it you made the choice to deal with these things. The point is eating won't be the same as before because if it was you wouldn't have needed the band...

As for the last comment to being sick and dining out, what did you think would happen if you don't chew right and swallow large lumps of food? Yes I do know that's what you are doing as I have the band and know what causes it... over eating and not chewing the food small enough and eating the wrong textured foods.

I have had acid from the band being to tight. I have also had it from different types of food at various times, personally pasta doesn't work ever for me so I avoid it, ain't rocket science. Also I would imagine some of them I would have had regardless of if I had a band at all.

So to cut short above rant:

1) Cut your old portion size to a reasonable appropiate size
2) Chew properly
3) Eat smaller mouthfuls

Best advice I can give is to track your food and drink and see if there is any reason you might have over looked. If not it would be logical to get the band investigated to see if it's still too tight. When I look back at the person I was before I had the gastric band, I have nothing but the greatest of respect for the surgeon, nurses, and dietitians.

As for me they really did give me my life back. Hope this helps.

Very discouraged in Charlotte, NC

by: Anonymous

I had surgery in 2011.

I made the decision based on the wonderfully helpful pre-surgery care that made me feel confident I could do this. I have lost weight before through diet and exercise, so this seemed like a great tool. I did not expect the band to do the work for me, but to help.

Now, 4 years later I find I have lost 8 pounds. I maxed out at 32 when the heartburn/acid reflux started. My post-surgery care was little to none, and that is when you need the help. After 4 visits, I now have no fluid left in my band and I still have trouble with heartburn. I am taking Nexium (40mg) twice a day.....and still have acid reflux. I have seen four different doctors/Nurse Practitioners at my Bariatric Clinic, and still having the same problems.

My whole family wants me to have the band removed, but I can't stand the thought of spending that much money all over again and being back to square one. Of course the benefits of having the band removed would include being able to eat in public without having to worry about throwing up or gaging. That wasn't exactly something that was explained pre-surgery....

Who are you kidding?

by: Anonymous

If you exercise and eat right you will have no choice but to lose weight. I am thinking that you are not exercising as much as you would like to think, nor are you eating "right". Even individuals who don't undergo a bariatric procedure will lose weight if they eat right and exercise.

Try keeping a food and exercise diary. And be honest when recording what you eat and how much you exercise. I think you will be surprised at your findings.


by: Anonymous

I understand your frustration....& sadly as with everything, it is all about the money. 1st you are paying $110 for a doctor to do the fill & a nurse is doing it? You should determine the fill or depletion.

This whole process is a "scam" in a sense. I had surgery in 07 & it has not worked - I am very frustrated as well, my doctor is not compassionate at all. I would voice my concerns & transfer to another doctor - that is what I should have done in the beginning. You are just starting. There are doctors out there who actually care.

Good luck!

Heartburn after gastric band

by: Anonymous

I had my band fitted Jan 2011, I have had a weight loss of 3.5 stones and my last band fill was June 2012, my after care is up, and I am now paying for aftercare. I attended an appointment today which proved costly as instead of filling 1ml was removed!!! This was because I had mentioned I have started to get heartburn lately, I was told the band is too tight.

The nurse did a fluid check at my request and it was found that I had lost 2 mls much to my dismay. I left the clinic with the view that I will return in 3-4 wks time in the hope that my symptom has improved. Once I got home and thought about the outcome I am a now a little angry because I went for the intension of having a fill as my portion size has increased and I am able to eat an adult's portion, now they have taken out a whole ml (that's 4 visits!). I am able to eat to excess.

I'm left wondering, has this been done for financial gain!!!? Because now I will have to have 4 more fills to get back the 1ml and what about the missing 2 mls!!? It costs £110 for an appointment. I paid £110 for them to take fluid out that was wanted!! I'm very upset, and I'm unsure of what the outcome will be when I return in 3-4wks...

Does anyone know..? If I say heartburn has improved will my 1 ml be put back? If symptoms are still same then what? Will they investigate a possible band slip?

Please help any feedback greatly received...I have surfed Internet and not been able to find any info.

Ps. I've only been getting heartburn last month and any time of day even 1st thing with water.

Deadly heartburn

by: Sonia

My band has little fill, so little that I can eat normally but heartburn is a daily pain. I've been on Omizec for 4 months now.

I stopped and the heartburn is back. What's going on?

More Testing Needed

by: Lap Band Groupie

I'm one of the many Banders who developed reflux after Banding.

Bad reflux at night/sleeping is a huge red flag that you're too tight. Too tight means that you may have resorted to 'soft food syndrome'/eating sliders, which equals no weight loss or even weight gain (not sure if that's the case as you mentioned eating right). As Lonicerna said, it's a delicate balance. If you still have reflux after the unfill (and it's been a few weeks) you need to get to a Gastroenterologist now (prolonged reflux can lead to ulcers, and pre-cancerous condition and even cancer).

They'll probably want to do a scope test (fast and easy, they just 'twilight' you). They can see if your esophagus has stretched and if the flap at the bottom of your esophagus is still working properly (to keep the reflux from coming up). They can assess what damage has been done as you probably have some that needs to heal. If this doesn't explain things, I'd ask for testing to look for a hernia, just to rule it out. It's not common after Banding, but I know some have developed them.

I'm hoping your Doc already has done a flouro test to visualize the pouch, etc., to see everything. It sounds like at the very least you need some meds; I was on a PPI/Nexium for awhile until things were better. I only use an OTC antacid now as a preventative at night (and have no issues now).

You can also raise the head of your bed and make sure you don't eat or drink anything for a few hours before laying down.

I also agree with refilling slowly. I know some Banders who have felt a big difference with as little as .1cc.

Best wishes!
Lap Band Groupie

One extreme to another?

by: Lonicera The Bandit

It looks as though you've gone from one extreme to another, and neither can be right.

Acid reflux is very common with the band, and for those who suffer from moderately severe symptoms (and assuming there is no other reason for it as confirmed by the gastric surgeon) a balance has to be found between the right foods, the right restriction, and appropriate medication.

Excessively fatty and acid foods give bad reflux - so I'd say the first question you need to answer honestly to yourself is whether you're consuming fried foods or alcohol of any description. Sadly, whereas before you might have been a moderate drinker who enjoyed a glass of wine with dinner, the pouch seems to rarely tolerate more than a sip of someone else's drink.

If your band has been unfilled, I'm not surprised you haven't been able to lose much weight, and I'd recommend that you try extremely gradual fills to see how your body responds - a quarter of a cc is perfect for this sort of exercise (they don't tend to want to give you less than a half, in my experience).

See how you get on, and let us know! Lots of luck to you.

Lonicera The Bandit


by: Victoria

I usually get my band fill once a year. In between my visits I exercise and try to eat right and when I do decide to eat something out of the normal I exercise even harder.

I've already lost 146 pounds with my band. I just went for a fill five weeks ago and already lost 20lbs. This last time I requested that I wanted it tighter than before. That's what I got and I can tell you it was a journey from hell.

I had to cut my eating off at 6 p.m. (sometimes 7 p.m., it just depends.) I couldn't do much exercising because I wasn't eating much of anything. There were times I just wasn't hungry at all. I'm seeing good results but you have to meet your lapband halfway. Don't think just because you have it that the weight is going to start falling off without putting in the necessary work. I hope this helps! I'm not a Doctor just someone that has a lap band and who's trying to lose weight just like you all.

Similar symptoms

by: Ang

I had a band too, about four years ago, and in the recent two years the acid reflux has become worse. There was initial acid reflux, but now it's after every meal and also in the mornings and at night. I take Gaviscon, which does help, but take about two or three pills a day to manage it.

I also have not lost a lot of weight. In fact, I find that I have a lot of bloating even though I'm eating a lot less now. I have heard about throat cancer in prolonged episodes and want some advice. I don't want to take my band out as it does restrict my intake but don't want throat cancer either!

Is an over use of Gaviscon a problem?

Recent burping and heart burn

by: DeeDee

I got banded in 2007 and have lost about 120lbs and have been able to keep 100lbs off. Whooohooo!!!

I have had a few episodes of not being able to sleep because of the acid but would eventually wear off. 9 1/2 years later I am now having lots of gas and heartburn. So gassy that I either can't eat or if I do eat I am constantly burping (embarrassing).

I see doc in 2 weeks and hope to get some relief.

Stop judging people!

by: Aussie bander

I notice a few people being quite critical, remember you're an expert on your own band and the reaction your body has to it. That doesn't mean everyone else will have the same response. I've had my band since 2008 and am very happy to be down 30kg.

It's been pretty plain sailing all that time but over the last 6weeks I've had BAD gastric reflux (especially at night). My eating habits (which have been successful for 8years) haven't changed so why this sudden change? I'm dealing with it but it is perplexing after such a long time.

I'm not really after advice, I'm doing most of what's been suggested but I just wanted to point out one size doesn't fit all.


by: anonymous

I got my band in '07 and have lost 100 pounds and kept it off.

I also have been struggling with severe heartburn and what someone referred to as soft food syndrome for over a year. I don't want to have it out but I'm getting a little concerned about the long-term effects of GERD. I keep worrying that maybe I have an ulcer where the thing wraps around and constricts.

Has anyone developed an ulcer from the compression of the band?

Acid reflux and lapband

by: Pat

I got my lap-band about 2011, my decision to go this route was for my health. I had so many health issues it scared me. I tried lots of diets only to gain more weight, I was just depressed.

My Dr in Canada suggested the lap-band and to look into it. Well in Canada they're charging over 15000.00 and the waiting period was 2 yrs, just great. So my Dr suggested Mexico, we found one online, I went home and emailed.

I got an answer right away that I qualified for the lap-band at a cost of 4000 USD and I could have the surgery in 3 wks. I have lost all but about 10 lbs of my weight and I am very pleased with the lap-band. Now, I have reflux but I am dealing with it with Nexium 2 times a day.

I need to watch what I eat, nothing spicy, acidity, chocolate, greasy, and booze. I try to eat before 6, nothing after as I will cough up chunks at night (gross).

My bed is elevated so this helps. Taking meds all at once sometimes upsets my stomach.

I lost most of my weight in the 1-2 yrs but have never gained any back. I am at a 10 lb stand still right now but it is my own fault as I love sweets, ice cream. I need to get back to the 60gm of protein and no sliders.

I am happy that I made this decision to get the lap-band ❤

My band didn't work because...

by: Michelle

I had my adjustable band done nearly 15 years ago by the first surgeon in Australia to do it. In the first 6 months, even with fills I only lost around 4kg. Long story short, I happened across a new doctor 18 months later (down 10kg) who told me it wasn't working and I never needed it in the first place as I have Insulin Resistance. I was put on medication, and finally I started losing weight! I went from 136kg to around 60kg.

My original surgeon never tested me for other issues, just took my $10k plus and put in the band. He was also pretty bad with after care.

My advice is, if you aren't losing weight with a lap band, and you know you are doing the right thing, get tested. Ask for the specific Resistance test. Not just the normal glucose test.

Good luck everyone

Thank you

by: Anthony

I don't have a band nor a problem with weight loss. But my best friend ( wife ) does and I feel horrible about it. She has had it about 10 years now. The heartburn is just starting to get bad for her. Thanks for all the info about it. It helps me to understand it better.

In the end I hope she gets it removed. But I pretty sure she would rather die then give it up. It has helped her lose about 150 pounds and keep it off.

P.S. keep your story updated!

Scheduled for removal

by: Amy

I am scheduled to have the band (placed in 2009) removed this month (July 2018) due to severe GERD. My surgeon is trying to talk me into the RNY bypass as the solution for GERD saying my symptoms may not resolve post surgery if I just have the band removed.

I DO NOT want the RNY which is why I had the band in the first place...but am scared this freaking GERD will not go away if I don’t. I don’t know what to do.

Lapband and Heartburn

by: Bonnie

I had lapband 6 years ago. I have had MANY fills and infills, yet struggle with reflux regardless. I have lost ALL my weight with no problem maintaining. Twice, because of reflux/vomiting I had to have complete unfill for three months. Even after waiting three months and having to start with small fills All over again.....reflux is AWFUL.

I see my surgeon again next week because I’m severely anemic and have pretty significant pain which my regular doctor believes is due to reflux. So, I know I will have to have another complete Unfill and I’ve been told by the surgeon, that after a third time he will completely unfill and no longer allow fills. So, not sure what my options will be. I sleep sitting up because of reflux and I’m tired of it.....I don’t eat 6-8 hours before bedtime but it makes no difference....I take Nexium 40mg daily..... not much help.

Anyone have revision surgery and did it help with reflux?

Click here to see more patient comments

Click here to add your own response

Share Your Comments

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.


[ Last editorial review/modification of this page : 05/24/2021 ]

* Disclaimers: Content: The information contained in this website is provided for general information purposes and your specific results may vary depending on a variety of circumstances. It is not intended as nor should be relied upon as medical advice. Rather, it is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her existing physician(s). Before you use any of the information provided in the site, you should seek the advice of a qualified medical, dietary, fitness or other appropriate professional. Advertising: Bariatric Surgery Source, LLC has entered into referral and advertising arrangements with certain medical practices, original equipment manufacturers, and financial companies under which we receive compensation (in the form of flat fees per qualifying action) when you click on links to our partners and/or submit information. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. Read More

Request a Free Insurance Check

Fill out the below form for a free insurance check performed in partnership with your local bariatric surgeon.


Los Angeles/Orange County