Obesity is an increasing problem in the world today. It can’t be avoided because of our current environment of fast food and sedentary lifestyles. So what can you do about your ever-expanding flab?There’s always the constant call for exercise and dieting – however, sometimes even that is not enough. This is when surgery comes in and a gastric bypass can be needed.
First of all, let’s talk about what exactly is a gastric bypass. Have you ever heard of a heart bypass? This is when surgeons stitch up you arteries to avoid the clogged vessels of the circulatory system around your heart. This is also what happens in a gastric bypass, although the operation involves your digestive system rather than your blood vessels. What the surgeons do is make your stomach smaller by making a pouch at the top of the stomach. This neatly halves your stomach capacity. Then, the surgeons would connect your small intestine to this pouch, skipping a part of it. These two changes contribute to increased weight loss by lower food capacity and lesser calorie absorption over all. Weight loss would accelerate over a three to six-month period, until your body manages to adapt to the lower energy intake.
The question that most doctors ask before they have someone undergo all of this is very simple: do you really need it? Most doctors advise patients seeking a gastric bypass to exhaust all other forms of weight-loss options before doing this operation. It may be the safest option but it is still major surgery on a sensitive part of your body. These is still a chance for complications to set in both during and after the operation. Doctors also screen any patient wanting to have a gastric bypass – you may not have a gastric bypass if you have not been obese for more than five years, are alcoholic, experiencing a psychiatric disorder and you have to be between 18 to 65 years of age.
If the patient has exhausted all other options and is eligible for a bypass then the doctor outlines exactly what happens after the bypass is done. After the surgery, the patient will stay in observation for the next three days to check for complications. He won’t be eating anything solid for awhile to let the pouch in his stomach heal. After discharge, he will also be under a rigid, progressive diet that would take him from liquid foods to solid foods in twelve weeks. The patient will also be experiencing the effects of lower energy intake: headaches and bodyaches, along with lower energy levels.
He will also have to take vitamin supplements since the part of the small intestine that is being skipped by the bypass is predominantly in charge of getting the appropriate vitamins and minerals from the food – not all, of course, but a significant portion of the recommended daily allowance. The long-term effects are also there. A lower stomach capacity means you may vomit or feel abdominal pains if you eat too much or too fast.
It sounds extreme, but still, a lot of gastric bypasses are done each year – it’s up to you to decide whether it is worth the risk.