Weight loss and gastric bypass surgery can be physically dangerous – that’s not news. What’s really shocking experts right now is the link between weight loss surgery and alcohol abuse.
For some obese people, drinking problems may become a new burden following weight loss and gastric bypass surgery, according to a new study out Monday.
Although the rate of alcohol abuse climbed only two percentage points after the procedures, researchers say this translates into more than 2,000 new cases of abuse every year in the U.S.
Two years following their surgery, patients described more symptoms of dependence — such as needing a drink in the morning or failing to meet normal expectations — and more alcohol-related harms, such as black-outs, feelings of guilt or injuring someone.
The jump in drinking problems was seen mainly among people who had gastric bypass surgery, which reduces the stomach to the size of a golf ball.
“This is something that we need to really pay attention to,” said Dr. Robin Blackstone, president of the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery.
But, she added to Reuters Health, the findings aren’t surprising as alcohol sensitivity is known to go up after gastric bypass. That’s because the acid in the stomach usually makes some of the alcohol molecules less potent before they are absorbed. – Source
While the pressure to lose weight can feel overwhelming, weight loss and gastric bypass surgery should really only be considered in the most extreme cases of obesity.
Aside from the potential alcohol dependency, there are plenty of complications. The following (and exhausting) list was compiled by the world renowned Mayo Clinic.
Gastric Bypass Surgery: Short term
Excess weight places extra stress on the chest cavity and lungs, resulting in a greater risk of pneumonia after bariatric surgery.
Blood clots in the legs (venous thrombosis) are another possible postoperative problem. This risk can best be reduced by exercising the leg muscles to promote blood flow. Walking is the ideal exercise, although even moving the feet and ankles up and down while lying in bed helps.
Incision infections, sometimes serious, can occasionally occur following bariatric surgery. Minimally invasive (laparoscopic) bariatric surgery reduces the chance of incision infection.
A leak at one of the staple lines in the stomach is a slight possibility. Most leaks are treated nonsurgically with drainage and antibiotics and heal with time. Occasionally, a very serious leak requires emergency surgery.
Gastric Bypass Surgery: Long term
An uncommon complication of gastric bypass surgery is an ulcer developing where the small intestine attaches to the upper part of the stomach. Ulcers are more likely to develop in people who take aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents.
A hernia or weakness in the incision sometimes occurs and needs to be repaired. Hernias are less common after laparoscopic surgery.
A narrowing or stricture of the opening (stoma) between the stomach and intestine is a rare complication that can occur. Fixing this complication may require another surgery. More commonly, an outpatient procedure can expand the narrowed area with a dilating tube passed to the stomach through the mouth.
After weight-reduction and gastric bypass surgery, the body may not absorb certain vitamins and minerals. Follow-up visits with your physician will determine which vitamin and mineral supplements are necessary after surgery.
The need for vitamin and mineral supplements is especially evident in people who have a very, very long limb Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. This surgery can be associated with frequent diarrhea and failure to absorb enough calcium and iron. Long-term complications of this malabsorption may include:
- Anemia due to deficiency of iron or vitamin B12
- Neurologic complications from vitamin B12 deficiency
- Kidney stone disease due to changes in how the body absorbs calcium and oxalate
- Possible bone disease due to mineral or vitamin D deficiency
Dehydration is a possible complication following weight-reduction surgery, as patients are no longer able to drink large quantities of liquid at one time.
In the first three to six months after surgery, as the body reacts to rapid weight loss, you may experience one or more of the following changes (some changes are due to a slowing of the body’s metabolism from weight loss and usually resolve with time):
- Body aches
- Feeling tired (flulike)
- Feeling cold when others feel comfortable
- Dry skin
- Hair thinning and hair loss
- Changes in mood
- Relationship issues
Before you make the decision to dive into a life altering surgery, it’s best to look into some other options. Take a months to try out the 31 Day Fat Loss Cure by Vic Margary. If you haven’t heard of it before, you can check out our review here.