Gastric Sleeve Surgery Side Effects and Challenges

The most common Gastric Sleeve Surgery Side Effects and Challenges include:

  • Pregnancy
  • Regaining of weight
  • Sagging skin
  • Digestive problems

Possible digestive issues that might happen after gastric sleeve surgery include:

  • Vitamin and mineral deficiency
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • An intolerance to specific foods
  • Gallstones
  • Indigestion
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD

Around one in every five patients will experience GERD in the first year after surgery. There is good news as this is a short-term issue. After the first three years, the rate drops to about 3% of patients suffering from this.

GERD is a condition that can be described as times of gastroesophageal reflux that is often accompanied by heartburn. This can also cause histopathologic changes of the esophagus or changes to the microscopic makeup of the esophagus. There is a chance that it can cause esophagitis.

GERD can increase the risk of dumping syndrome and sepsis in some patients. This condition is improved in many patients following surgery. Some home treatments can help relieve GERD like staying away from specific drinks and foods like chocolate, tomatobased foods, citrus juices, and alcohol. Wait at least three hours after you eat before you lay down. Eat small meals and make sure that you elevate your head about eight inches whenever you lay down. If you find that this isn’t working for you, your doctor might prescribe or recommend a PPI or Proton Pump Inhibitors, H2 blockers, or antacids.

Other problems can be handled through some diet or behavior changes.

Sagging Skin

For the majority of obese people, their skin has been stretched out for a long time in order to accommodate the weight, and this will cause it to lose its elasticity. Gastric sleeve surgery can cause many patients to lose several pounds fast, and their skin isn’t able to keep up with it. This extra skin tends to be embarrassing for most. It can also create many different issues including:

  • Infections in the skin folds
  • Rashes in the skin folds or ulcers
  • Problems exercising will impact health and weight maintenance
  • Problems getting dressed

For the most part, people can manage the sagging skin by wearing body-contouring underwear. There are some serious cases where patients might choose to have the excess skin removed. This surgery is usually covered by insurance.

Regaining Weight

Two years after gastric sleeve surgery, about one in 20 patients will gain some weight back. This number will increase to three out of four after six years.

At the five-year interval, the average patient will regain about 25% and up to 50% of the weight they initially lost.

What is bad about this is that the more weight you gain, the higher the chance of your health problems returning. In one study, there was a difference in Type 2 diabetes remission. At the one year mark, about 56% of the patients were in remission.

At year five, there was only 20% of patients still in remission. Type 2 diabetes returned because the patients gained back their weight.

Why did they regain weight? Many patients regain weight for these reasons:

  • They eat too many calories in liquid form like smoothies, pureed foods, and protein shakes. Their new stomach makes them feel fuller faster, but because liquids won’t create the feeling of fullness like solid foods do, they tend to consume more and end up gaining the weight back if they are constantly consuming calories in the form of liquids.
  • They slip and start to overeat again, or they eat the wrong types of food. If this happens, the smaller stomach can stretch out.
  • Even if they stick to their diet program, weight gain is still a risk. With time, your stomach might stretch and cause some weight gain.

Gastric sleeve surgery is the best tool for losing weight. It is important to remember that it’s only a tool. To stay away from gaining any weight you have to eat the right foods and make good choices.

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