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Gastric Bypass is one of the most common weight loss surgeries at the moment.
You have probably heard of this procedure if you pay attention to the news or watch TV. More and more often, people who are obese are turning to surgeries like this one. That’s because it’s a valid path to consistent weight loss if other methods fail.
If you’re considering Gastric Bypass surgery, know someone who is thinking about having one, or are just curious – this guide is for you.
What Is the Procedure for Gastric Bypass Surgery, or Roux-en-Y?
Gastric bypass, also called Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, is a bariatric procedure where a surgeon alters the way your digestive tract works, which helps your body to lose weight.
The main word here is “bypass.” During the surgery, a surgeon will essentially reroute the path your food will take through your digestive system.
Your stomach will be made smaller, so it will hold less food. The small intestine will be moved so it “bypasses” the remainder of your stomach and upper small intestinal tract.
Instead, it will connect directly with your stomach pouch.
Your stomach will be reduced in size to a small pouch that can only hold up to about one cup of food. This part of the surgery is generally called “stomach stapling.”
The next part of gastric bypass surgery often is called “Roux-en-Y.”
During this part, your stomach pouch is disconnected from the remainder of your stomach and the first part of your small intestine (called the “duodenum”).
Your stomach pouch is then connected to a part of the small intestine that’s farther down your G.I. tract, called the “jejunum.”
Meanwhile, the larger portion of your stomach and the duodenum are connected to the lower part of your small intestine.
However, the larger stomach and duodenum will no longer receive food. Instead, they will continue to produce stomach acid and enzymes that aid in digestion:
- These helpers will travel through the duodenum down to the lower part of your small intestine, where they will connect with your new, main digestive pathway.
- Eventually, the stomach acid and enzymes will mix with the food that has passed through the stomach pouch and jejunum.
2 Negatives Associated with Any Weight Loss Surgery
There are risks associated with any surgery. Consider these possible issues regarding weight loss surgery before you move forward with something so drastic:
1. Your Stomach Will Hate Simple Carbs, Like Sugar
After having weight loss surgery, if you eat the wrong foods or eat too much, you can become prone to dumping syndrome, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center.
This is when food is literally “dumped” from your stomach pouch into your small intestine without being digested first. This causes symptoms like diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, bloating, cramps, stomach rumbling, and dizziness.
Your smaller stomach won’t be able to handle concentrated masses of food as well as foods that cause insulin surges.
Foods that cause blood sugar spikes (like meals high in sugars, starches, or simple carbohydrates) are also what cause insulin surges. Your pancreas attempts to mitigate high sugar amounts in your blood by releasing more insulin.
The bottom line?
A very healthy diet is essential for lessening your risk of dumping syndrome. For example, you should try to eat smaller portions, more complex carbohydrates (like veggies and whole grains), and more protein and fat.
2. You’ll Have to Watch for Complications like Blood Clots and Strictures
According to a study published in Gastroenterology & Hepatology, long-term complications associated with gastric bypass aren’t uncommon.
After the surgery, up to 16% of patients dealt with strictures, or the abnormal narrowing of abdominal passages. Others reported complications including hernias, bowel obstructions, dumping syndrome, gallstones, and blood clots.
Is Bypass Surgery for You? 2 Big Benefits to Consider
Here’s the good news: If you opt for a gastric bypass, the positives will probably outweigh the negative outcomes. Here are two big examples:
1. Gastric Bypass Reduces Your Hunger Urges
Changing the anatomy of your intestines and digestive tract has been proven to also change the hormones your intestines produce, according to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.
One major change is that gastric bypass can increase hormone production that leads to feeling fuller after eating and less hungry in general.
2. Long-Term Weight Loss Is Easier
Finally, another huge benefit of this surgery is that long-term weight loss is easier to achieve and maintain.
This is a result of the above hormones as well as the drastic decrease in how many calories your body is able to consume.
Will Weight Loss Surgery Change Your Life?
However, it’s important to note that bariatric surgery isn’t a band-aid. You can’t undergo a weight loss procedure without also committing to truly change your habits and behavior. This includes eating healthier, getting active, and controlling your meal portions.
Gastric bypass can serve as a catalyst for breaking unhealthy habits and forcing your body to change. As long as your commitment is there, the rest should follow.