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Gastric Bypass Side Effects

Gastric Bypass Side Effects

Gastric bypass surgery is done to change the way the stomach and small intestine function. The article below highlights the side effects of gastric bypass surgery in detail.
Deepa Kartha
Last Updated: Apr 22, 2018
Among all other types of bariatric weight loss surgeries, gastric bypass surgery has gained a lot of popularity in recent years. It is seen as the last resort for people who have tried different weight loss diets and exercise programs without success. During a gastric bypass surgery, the surgeon reduces the size of the stomach by stapling it or by tying a plastic band. After this, the new stomach is connected directly to the center of the small intestine, by skipping the upper region which absorbs the nutrients from the food. As the size of the stomach becomes small, the person is not able to eat excess food which aids him in losing excess weight. After the gastric bypass surgery, an individual can lose weight for up to 12 months with proper diet and exercises. Even though this surgery is preferred by people due to lesser complications, it does have some secondary effects. Hence, before deciding whether you want to go forward with the surgery, it is important to be aware about its pros and cons.

Side Effects of Surgery

Just like any kind of surgery, one may have to experience certain secondary effects. As most of them are temporary and are caused due to improper post surgery care, knowing about them may help in preventing as well as getting rid of these secondary effects. Let us take a look at the secondary effects of this surgery.

Nutritional Deficiency

One of the most common secondary effects is nutritional deficiency. As the stomach is directly connected to the small intestine, the food does not go through that part of the intestine where the essential nutrients, like iron, calcium, etc., are absorbed. Due to this, the body does not get the required nutrients to function properly, leading to nutritional deficiency. There have been many cases where people have developed anemia after gastric bypass surgery, which can further lead to other health problems like osteoporosis. Therefore, it is important to take vitamin and mineral supplements regularly after gastric bypass surgery to prevent a person from getting affected by further health problems.

Dumping Syndrome

An individual who has undergone gastric bypass surgery has to adopt a new diet and lifestyle to lose weight successfully. As the size of the stomach is reduced, it will be able to take only small amounts of food and hence, one must learn to eat food in very small quantities. The doctor will chart out a diet for you after the surgery, which is divided into four stages, which has to be followed to recover fully. It is also important to chew food slowly while eating. If this is not followed, i.e., if a person eats food more than he is recommended or if he swallows food without chewing fully, there are high chances of him developing the dumping syndrome. Even eating sweets and foods containing carbohydrates can lead to the development of this problem. If the person indulges in overeating, he may experience dizziness, rapid heartbeat, shaking, excessive sweating, nervousness, and sometimes even severe diarrhea. Hence, it is necessary to adopt new diet and eating habits after the gastric bypass surgery.

Hair Loss

Another secondary effect that most people experience post gastric bypass surgery is hair loss. This can be connected to the problem of lack of nutrition. As our hair needs enough nutrients, especially proteins to stay healthy after this surgery, the individual is likely to suffer from hair loss. However, this is not a long term secondary effect, and this problem usually stops once the person's weight stabilizes. Moreover, intake of protein foods can also help in fighting the problem of hair loss during this time.

Change in Bowel Habits

As gastric bypass surgery causes changes in food eating habits, changes in the process of digestion as well as bowel habits are also likely to be seen. One of the secondary effects that a person may experience due to change in digestion is constipation, i.e., difficulty in passing stools. However, this can be treated with the help of stool softeners and sometimes simply by drinking lots of water. Apart from constipation, some people may also experience diarrhea which happens because of fat intake after the gastric bypass surgery. If such a thing happens, contact your health practitioner immediately.

Flatulence or Gas Trouble

Flatulence is one of the most common secondary effects of gastric bypass surgery. However, this is not known by many people because it is considered to be quite embarrassing. As the nutrients are not fully absorbed in the body, it becomes difficult for the colon to digest the food, subsequently producing excessive gas. This can cause discomfort and embarrassing moments for individuals because this is said to be one of the gastric bypass long term secondary effects. Hence, it is important to discuss with your health practitioner about this secondary effect and also about the effective ways of getting rid of it, before undergoing the surgery.

Other Complications

Apart from the secondary effects that may occur after the surgery, there are also some risks attached to the surgery itself. Though the chances of having these complications are very low, a person can develop problems, like infections, kidney stones, gallbladder stones, hernia, bleeding stomach ulcer, blood clots in the legs, etc. In certain cases, gastric bypass surgery can be life-threatening too. However, this depends on an individual's age and if he is suffering from other health problems or diseases. Therefore, if a person is suffering from some other illness, this should be discussed with the doctor in detail before the surgery to avoid future problems.

These are some of the secondary effects that you have to be careful about. One important thing that you have to remember is that the benefits of gastric bypass surgery are more than its secondary effects, which usually occur when proper care is not taken after the operation. Now that you know about secondary effects of this surgery, I am sure that you will take the necessary precautions to prevent the development of any kind of serious complications associated with this surgery.