Gastric bypass is a type of weight loss surgery recommended to individuals who are morbidly or severely obese, and have not been able to lose weight through other methods. This level of obesity can be dangerous to their overall health, putting them at risk for stroke, heart attack, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and a shorter lifespan in general. With gastric bypass, their stomach is separated into two parts; a large portion and a small portion. Following the procedure, all food bypasses the larger part and only goes into the smaller pocket. This lets people get fuller much faster, reducing how much they eat, and letting them lose weight and keep it off. It is a highly successful type of surgery, but also one that has a series of side effects following the procedure. Here are side effects everyone should know before they go through with gastric bypass.
Reduced Nutrient Absorption
A common side effect shortly after having gastric bypass surgery is reduced nutrient absorption. Gastric bypass causes food to bypass parts of the small intestine and the stomach, where the nutrients were previously absorbed. This causes lack of nutrients until the body begins to adjust to the changes. A nutritional supplement is often recommended to patients after having the surgery.
Along with reduced absorption of nutrients, many gastric bypass patients also experience vitamin deficiency. This is due to lack of food being eaten during each meal. The most common vitamin deficiencies are vitamin B12 and iron, with approximately half of these patients developing anemia without the proper amount of iron.
If the patient was not used to drinking large amounts of water prior to surgery, this can be hard to adjust to. Dehydration happens very easily as patients should be drinking about two liters of water or liquid every day following surgery. If they fail to do so, it leads to dehydration, which can cause headaches, nausea and vomiting. This leads to an imbalance of electrolytes and vitamin deficiencies. It is a vicious cycle that is hard to stop.
Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea and vomiting are both common side effects after having gastric bypass surgery. As a major abdominal surgery, it can be hard on the body. Eating changes, vitamin irregularities, and dehydration all increase the risk of developing nausea, which can also lead to vomiting. Some ways to avoid this are by eating slowly, eating smaller bites, drinking plenty of water, chewing food for longer before swallowing, and avoiding dry and tough foods. Occasional nausea or abdominal discomfort can be normal, but if it is occurring frequently, especially with vomiting, a doctor should be called.
Dumping syndrome is one of the more serious side effects of gastric bypass surgery. This term is used when the stomach is emptying all of its contents into the small intestine. This usually happens when someone eats too many fatty or greasy foods, or those high in sugar.
Not all of these side effects will occur, and you may have other complications. Speak to your doctor if you experience anything unusual after surgery.