What are the Common Gastric Bypass Side Effects?

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  • Written By: Lainie Petersen
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 26 May 2020
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While the most common and most desirable side effect of gastric bypass surgery is weight loss, other gastric bypass side effects may not be as rewarding. The side effects of weight loss surgery vary by patient and procedure, but can manifest in both physical and psychological ways. Gastric bypass side effects can include digestive disorders, scarring and leakage, and nutritional deficiencies. Loose skin caused by rapid weight loss, the development of eating disorders, and disturbances in a patient's interpersonal relationships may also result.

Gastric bypass surgery both shrinks the size of the patient's stomach and shortens the small intestine, which reduces the patient's ability to absorb nutrients. These radical changes in the patient's digestive system can cause unpleasant gastrointestinal side effects, including nausea and vomiting as well as stomach discomfort and diarrhea. These side effects are often more pronounced when a patient attempts to eat more food than his stomach will permit. In some cases, this condition, sometimes known as dumping syndrome, can occur even if the patient is not overeating. Other digestive side effects can be various types of intestinal scarring as well as leaks from incisions. These can cause obstructions and infection and may need to be treated with additional surgery.

Another common side effect of weight loss surgery is malnutrition. The inability of the patient to properly absorb nutrients can result in a host of gastric bypass side effects, including thyroid problems, hair loss, and skin disorders. Many people who undergo a weight loss procedure may need to consume additional nutritional supplementation for the rest of their lives. Another concern for many who undergo weight loss surgery is the fact that, while they may no longer be morbidly obese, they may have a lot of loose excess skin after they lose their weight. This extra skin cannot only affect a patient's appearance, but in some cases is vulnerable to infection.

Some of the most life-changing gastric bypass side effects are not physical but psychological in nature. Since the surgery is intended for those who suffer from morbid obesity, the resulting weight loss can have a profound effect on the way the patient is perceived by others. The patient may find it difficult to relate to other people as a so-called normal size person. In some cases, patients who have undergone gastric bypass surgery have found that their personal relationships are damaged, with some experiencing divorce or estrangement from family members.


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