Gastric bypass – challenges

Unfortunately, not all patients who undergo gastric bypass surgery experience these impressive results. A considerable percentage of patients who have undergone the gastric bypass get suboptimal outcomes and many others experience noteworthy side effects of the procedure. Gastric bypass procedures results in a marked diminution of the functional volume of the stomach, accompanied by an altered response to food, both physiologically and physically (Buchwald, Cowan and Walter 49). After surgery, individuals experience fullness after consuming only a small amount of food, followed by a sense of satiety and loss of appetite. Overall food ingestion is markedly reduced. Owing to the reduced volume of the stomach pouch after surgery, and reduced intake of food, the patients face the risk of nutritional deficiencies of essential minerals and vitamins such as calcium, zinc, iron, vitamins A and B complex as well protein malnutrition. Adequate nourishment requires that the patient observes the dietary instructions for consumption of food, including the number of meals to be taken daily, sufficient intake of proteins, and the use of mineral and vitamin supplements (Buchwald, Cowan and Walter 50-52).

Other risks are those common to all surgeries; for  gastric bypass, they mortality during surgery, infection in the incision resulting to peritonitis, hernia, ulcers, hemorrhage and a blood clot in the lungs. About one-third of all patients having gastric bypasses develop gallstones or nutritional deficiencies such as anemia or osteoporosis (Buchwald, Cowan and Walter 53).Bowel obstruction due to scarring of the bowel, dumping syndrome anastomotic leakages and anastomotic stricture are also common complications of gastric bypasses (Buchwald, Cowan and Walter 54). Research has also confirmed that the bypass surgery affects alcohol metabolism; patients who have undergone the surgery alcohol at a faster rate than individuals who have not undergone the surgery (Sarwer, Fabricatore & Wadden 103).

A common addiction that develops after gastric bypass surgery is pica. It occurs due to iron deficiencies that result due to the surgery and is characterized by compulsive tendencies to consume materials other than normal food; for instance paper, ice, plaster, ashes, or clay (Sarwer, Fabricatore & Wadden 105). Reports have also confirmed increased addiction to alcohol amongst gastric bypass patients (Sarwer, Fabricatore & Wadden 103). Another common occurrence is the addiction transfer whereby the gastric bypass patients formerly suffering from an eating disorder before the surgery transfer the compulsive tendencies into other addictions such as smoking, compulsive gambling, shopping addiction, or even compulsive spending (Sarwer, Fabricatore & Wadden 103-109). Go to part 3.

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