Gastric bypass is a form of bariatric weight loss surgery where a portion of the stomach is removed to create a pouch about the size of an egg. This type of weight loss surgery became popular in the late 1990s, even though it was actually developed in 1967 by Dr. Edward Mason at the University of Iowa Hospital. Also known as the Roux-en-Y procedure, this type of bariatric surgery is almost commonplace today. Celebrities are doing it, so the general public thinks it must be ok.
Gastric bypass is a major life-changing surgery in more ways than one. Sure, it has helped thousands of people shed an enormous amount of weight. But there are long-term complications that are only being discovered now, decades after patients have been living with the after-effects of the surgery. Consider the following implications if you are thinking of having a gastric bypass surgery to lose weight.
1. The very top portion of the stomach is removed, the part that is responsible for metabolizing sugar and fats. In other words, sugar and fat are not digested the same when this piece of the stomach is missing. Patients complain of "Dumping Syndrome," which occurs when too much fat is released into the intestines at once. This causes urgent and sometimes uncontrollable (and embarrassing) diarrhea along with sweating, cramps, nausea, and dizziness . Unfortunately, many patients must live with this side effect and it can affect their lives socially.
2. Alcohol is digested by the body very differently. Alcohol is a sugar and since the portion of the stomach responsible for digesting sugar is gone, alcohol is immediately absorbed by the small intestine. Not only has a person's body weight drastically decreased within a short period of time, but the body is metabolizing alcohol differently. It is not uncommon for a gastric bypass patient to get DUIs because they don't understand they simply can't consume as much alcohol as they used to.
3. Hair loss. The stomach can only accommodate a small amount of food, so great care must be taken to make sure enough protein is consumed. One side effect of a protein-deficient diet is hair loss.
4. Gall bladder problems. As many as 1/3 of gastric bypass surgery patients will encounter gall bladder problems in the first year. Because the entire digestive system is working differently, extra strain is put on the gall bladder and it can't do its job properly.
5. Vomiting and clogging. Eating too much food or rich foods can cause vomiting because there just isn't enough room in the stomach. Clogging is when food blocks the smaller than normal entrance to the stomach. This is both painful and frustrating.
Make sure you know the risks and complications before having gastric bypass surgery. It is a life-changing decision and patients sometimes regret having it done.