For many individuals who are struggling with their weight, weight loss surgery seems like a dream come true. Since the majority of patients lose up to 80% of their excess weight within a few years after their surgery, it is not too surprising that most view it as a life-altering event.
Unfortunately, many patients never learn about the future side effects of this procedure. Some individuals who have this surgery develop serious digestive and eating problems after to five-to-six years.
Others find themselves in a helpless situation that makes their hearts sink – the weight starts coming back after their surgery.
What Causes Weight Gain After Weight Loss Surgery?
One factor is the expansion of the reconstructed pouch in a gastric bypass patient. Over time, and with age, a reconstructed stomach pouch can stretch, allowing more food and calories to enter the body. The part of the intestine responsible for caloric absorption may also learn how to compensate for the missing piece of intestine, absorbing more calories than in the beginning stages.
Patients who experience an extreme amount of weight loss in the first two years may notice a slight bounce in weight once the body adjusts to the surgery. After losing over 100 pounds, patients may notice a slow creep of 10 to 15 pounds over the next year. This is caused by the body readjusting to the new stomach and the slight expansion of the pouch.
For people who undergo lapband surgery, weight loss isn’t as quick as gastric bypass. For this reason, people may experience a slower weight gain after the first five years than gastric bypass patients. However, weight gain is possible with people who eat foods high in fat and sugars or who mostly partake of a liquid diet which may be high in fat, sugars, and sodium.
Doctors notice that one of the main reasons patients gain weight after surgery is because of psychological and emotional feelings towards food. While the surgery can help control how much a person can eat, it doesn’t change how a person feels about food. If food is still a source of comfort, patients will continue with the bad habits that caused them to need weight loss surgery in the first place.
How to Prevent Weight Gain After Weight Loss Surgery
Keeping in touch with the doctor and letting them know of any new pains or feelings is one way to make sure there are no problems that can cause weight gain. A pouch may need to be fixed or a lapband tightened to continue with weight loss success. It’s also important to receive counseling for any emotional eating disorders before and after weight loss surgery to insure that bad habits don’t return. By taking a proactive stance on weight loss, surgery patients can reduce the risk of weight gain and improve their health.