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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What are the side effects of gastric bypass surgery?

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    I am morbidly obese and have been on a healthy diet for quite some time. My doctor recommends that I undergo gastric bypass surgery to reduce my chance of more health concerns in the future. What are the side effects of this surgery? How will it help me?
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    Arlene is a registered practising dietitian, with a private practice in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, and has built a strong business over the last … View Profile

    There are numerous side effects to gastric bypass surgery and you should be aware of these prior to undergoing the operation. One of the biggest side effects of gastric surgery results from the reduction of calorie and nutrient absorption. Because gastric bypass operations cause food to bypass the stomach and parts of the small intestine, where most of the iron and calcium from food is absorbed, women run the risk of anemia, developing osteoporosis, and other nutritional deficiencies. Nutritional supplements can counteract these deficiencies, but they must be taken life-long. The more extensive the operation, the greater the risk is for complications and nutrient deficiencies. In addition many people undergoing bypass surgery do not consume a healthy diet which causes further nutritional problems.

    Documented side effects of gastric bypass:
    * An iron and vitamin B12 deficiency occurs more than 30% of the time. About 50% of those with an iron deficiency develop anemia.
    * The connection between the stomach and the intestines narrows (stomal stenosis) 5% to 15% of the time, leading to nausea and vomiting after eating.
    * Ulcers develop 5% to 15% of the time.
    * The staples may pull loose.
    * Hernia may develop.
    * The bypassed stomach may enlarge, resulting in hiccups and bloating.
    *  Nausea and Vomiting
    * Dehydration
    * Food Intolerance
    * Changed Bowel Habits
    * Cold Intolerance
    * Flatulance with bad odor. The surgery causes them to have a malabsorptive syndrome. Their systems don't absorb the food and nutrients as well anymore and when the undigested food gets down to the colon, the enzymes and bacteria go crazy digesting the food. One of the by-products of their digestion is gas (flatulence).

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