Surgical Treatment of Obesity

Has anyone in your life mentioned or recommended bariatric surgery to you? It can be quite overwhelming to decide if surgery is the right choice. Surgery can be a great option; for example someone who’s disease state is severely impacting their health and emotional well being. Always keep in mind it is a lifelong commitment and not a quick solution. It requires behavioral modifications, emotional counseling, nutrition counseling and more. It can also put you at risk for other health issues such as alcoholism. In fact, after surgery alcohol will affect you differently and you can become intoxicated after only 1 drink. Having surgery does not guarantee long term weight loss, many people do regain weight 5-10 years after surgery and sometimes earlier. On the other side bariatric surgery can help improve many chronic health conditions associated with obesity such as sleep apnea, depression, type 2 diabetes, chronic pain, hypertension, heart disease and more. It can be life changing for people who are unable to live happy lives or fear to lose their life’s because of their chronic disease(s).

Postsurgical weight measurements are highly variable and have a nonlinear trend

This quote and graph were taken from; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5112115/#SD1

A multitude of research has been done on weight loss after bariatric surgery; they all show the majority of people lose a significant amount of weight. It also shows weight loss varies greatly from one individual to the next, as shown in the graph above. As previously mentioned weight regain is very common.

A common myth is that after surgery you will not feel hungry, this might be true. Again the experience is different for everyone, some people will continue to feel hungry and this can become very emotionally challenging. Specifically, surgery does not take away emotional or head hunger. When you are considering surgery try finding the root cause of your day to day hunger and find out if emotional hunger is an issue for you.

The effect of eating and drinking after bariatric surgery

Using this technique some people are able to eat very large amounts of food in one sitting, such as a large pizza.

People often believe they will not be able to eat large amount of food after surgery. This might be correct until you are able to tolerate solid food again. After which the behavior of not eating and drinking at the same time becomes crucial. Otherwise when you drink you will empty your pouch or new stomach and you will now be able to fill it up again.

Literature also explores the psychological well being of life after bariatric surgery. Results indicate surgery will not automatically remove depression or body image issues. In fact, bariatric surgery can worsen or play a role in the development of eating disorders. Bariatric centers should encourage and provide resources for you to heal from a psychological perspective before getting surgery.

In conclusion, bariatric surgery is a serious life altering journey which can be good or bad. Make an informed decision, take the time to do research not only on the surgery itself but on the clinic you are considering using. Having all the resources available to you such as but not limited to dietitian, physical therapist, psychiatrist and behavioral therapist is vital to your success. This post does not include all aspect of consideration to be taken prior to making an informed decision about surgery. The commitment to taking lifelong daily vitamins has not been discussed and much more. Finally the decision to have bariatric surgery must be discussed with your medical doctor. You can always be the one to start the conversation or be the one to refuse having it. Your life is your journey.

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