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Gastric Bypass Surgury: What You Really Want to Know

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash


If you’ve struggled with your weight for most of your life, no doubt you’ve considered or heard of Gastric Bypass Surgery. When you’ve seemingly tried everything and the weight never seems to stay off, surgery may feel like the best option.


As with most surgeries, gastric bypass comes with its risks, but it can also be a saving grace for many people. Read on to see if this surgery is right for you.


What exactly is Gastric Bypass?


Gastric Bypass is a form of bariatric surgery that creates a gastric pouch, roughly the size of an egg, that “bypasses” the stomach and duodenum (the first part of your small intestine). With a smaller stomach, the amount of food (and therefore calories) you can eat is restricted, making you feel fuller faster and encouraging weight loss. 


What are the requirements for Gastric Bypass?


Not everyone is a candidate for this type of surgery. Typically, doctors recommend gastric bypass to someone who has a Body Mass Index of 40 or more, or is more than 100 pounds overweight. Some people see gastric bypass as a jumpstart on their health journey, but be clear that it is not the be-all-end-all. You will have to be careful after surgery and maintain a healthy lifestyle. 


What happens after surgery?


After the surgery, you’ll stay in the hospital for a few days so your doctors can monitor you. You’ll be on a liquid diet for a few days and you won’t be able to eat as much as before. This means you may need to start taking supplements to ensure you’re receiving enough nutrients that may be missing from your diet. Ensuring you are physically active and eating a healthful diet will be a top priority that will need to be maintained for the rest of your life. 


Weight loss may be dramatic in the first few months. Sometimes up to one pound each day. Gastric bypass has also been shown to provide other health benefits such as lowering high blood pressure, improving diabetes and other weight-related health problems. Weight loss can also alleviate joint pain, sleep apnea, and arthritis. 


What are the complications?


All surgeries are not without risks. With gastric bypass, you risk infection, blood clots, stomach ulcers, and sagging skin from weight loss. Some patients opt for plastic surgery, but after at least 18 months to make sure any dramatic changes are done taking place. 


You may also want to work closely with a nutritionist to make sure you are following a proper diet. Some patients experience “dumping syndrome” in which you experience nausea, sweating, faintness, and sometimes diarrhea (hence the name) after eating. Sweets may also pose this issue. 


Since this surgery does induce a dramatic lifestyle change, you may experience many emotions surrounding your weight loss. Remember to talk with trusted friends and family, or even a doctor. 


Gastric bypass can be a great option to “bypass” the initial hard work of a weightloss journey, but you’ll have to catch up afterwards with maintaining an exercise and diet regime to stay healthy. This is by no means the “easy” way out, so be sure to explore all of your options and get consults from a few doctors before making a decision. 


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